Legal Marketing

Lawyer Warns of Blogging Burden, Even as Top Law Firms Embrace It

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A former law firm blogger has written a cautionary tale for those who would like to follow in his footsteps, even as new data shows nearly half of the large law firms are blogging.

Ninety-six of the nation’s top 200 law firms have blogs, a 149 percent increase from August 2007 when only 39 of the top firms had blogs, according to Kevin O’Keefe’s Real Lawyers Have Blogs.

These law firms account for 297 blogs, an increase of nearly 300 percent from August 2007, when the top 200 law firms published only 74 blogs, O’Keefe says.

The swelling numbers were released at about the same time that a former Jones Day partner warns in an article that blogging demands “Herculean efforts.”

Writing in Litigation (PDF), a magazine published by the ABA Section of Litigation, lawyer Mark Herrmann says he figured he had lots of ideas to write about when he launched the Drug and Device Law Blog in October 2006. But after about six weeks, he and a fellow blogger from Dechert had exhausted their initial ideas and themselves.

“If you’re thinking of launching a legal blog, have your eyes open,” Herrmann writes. “Once you launch a blog, you will face the relentless, mind-numbing, never-ending task of finding worthwhile material to publish. That burden begins on the day of your first post and ends only the day you call it quits.”

Herrmann advises would-be lawyer bloggers to find their niche and find a voice. “Be provocative; be funny; be distinctive,” he writes. “Perhaps most importantly, don’t be staid.”

“A blog written by a committee of starched-shirt, bureaucratic lawyers might proclaim: ‘Our firm has the utmost respect for our learned adversaries, whose experience in complex, multi-jurisdictional litigation nearly matches our own.’ We’d write: ‘Those clowns couldn’t spell “FDA” if you spotted ’em two letters.’ We might not have much institutional gravitas, but we sure as heck have readers.”

Herrmann quit writing for the blog in December, about the same time he decided to take a position as chief litigation counsel at Aon Corp., the Wall Street Journal Law Blog reports in a post about Herrmann’s warnings.

Hat tip to Legal Blog Watch, which noted O’Keefe’s March 2010 data.

Related coverage: “Nearly Half of Legal Blogs Still Alive and Kicking, Blogger Says” “Blogger Does His Own Unscientific Survey, Finds Many Legal Blogs Die Young”

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