With Big Law challenged, some attorneys are drawing from the playbook of an even harder-pressed industry—journalism—to boost their practices.
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Lawyers have been blogging in large numbers for about a decade, but firms have made a more concerted effort to get their lawyers on the blogosphere in recent years, law firm consultant Kent Zimmermann said. To land the high-value work they crave, firms need to be seen as thought leaders in the field—and blogging can help, he explained. Spillner said he and his colleagues launched the blog to raise Orrick's profile in trade secrets.
But the field of law firm bloggers is crowded, and outside counsel's inboxes are already cluttered with client advisories. Distribution seems to be an afterthought for many firms. Yet, lawyers cannot depend on readers to stumble upon their blog posts—they must push them out on social media, Zimmermann said.
"The ones that do get more bang for their buck," he said.
Unless lawyers are committed to promoting their work, Zimmermann said blogging doesn't make much sense. "It takes time to get good content," he said, "time that could be spent billing hours."
Social media can also pushes lawyers to meet another journalistic imperative: being first. Some law firm bloggers forget that clients have little interest in reading news that is two weeks old, Zimmermann said.
Star legal bloggers can be hot commodities in the lateral marketplace, said Kevin O'Keefe, CEO and publisher of LexBlog, a group that coaches firms on social media.
San Francisco-based partner Eric Sinrod credits his blog with helping him land his job at Duane Morris. The firm approached him after discovering his columns on the intersection of technology in the law in early 2000—before the term "blog" was coined, Sinrod said. He embraced blogging to comment on quickly evolving issues in real time.
"Trying to write a treatise in my view is like trying to board a moving bus," said Sinrod, whose weekly columns appear on FindLaw.com (http://blogs.findlaw.com/technologist/eric-sinrod/). …
Reprinted with permission from The Recorder, © ALM Media Properties LLC. All rights reserved.