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Can Blogging Improve a Lawyer's Bottom Line?

Any lawyer who wonders whether blogging can lend credibility to a law practice might want to know that Kevin O’Keefe, founder of LexBlog, gives a resounding yes.

O’Keefe, who was a practicing lawyer for many years before establishing his company more than a decade ago, says LexBlog was created because he wanted to help attorneys leverage the power of the Internet to build relationships and generate word-of-mouth reputations as trusted and reliable authorities.

According to a post on his website, O’Keefe has “long been passionate about the way the Internet builds trust and connect people in a real and meaningful way.” O’Keefe blogs often in support of his passion to educate lawyers about how blogging can increase visibility and thereby, credibility.

He blogs for his site, Real Lawyers Have Blogs and tweets daily, sharing commentary and suggestions for members of the legal community about leveraging the Internet to promote their law practices. The overall goal? Improve the lawyer’s bottom line.

Recently, O’Keefe presented a webinar entitled How to Bring in Work as a Blogging Lawyer: Webinar Recording and Examples. During the presentation, O’Keefe and Colin O’Keefe, Director of Business Development at LexBlog, offered countless tips to lawyers who find themselves contemplating the benefits of blogging.

According to Kevin O’Keefe, blogging lawyers needn’t worry that if they do blog, they have to start from scratch. “Success leaves clues. Look at what other people do,” he says.

During their webinar, the O’Keefes highlighted law firms and solo practitioners whose law practices have been positively impacted by their participation in blogging. One such firm is Fox Rothschild. During his presentation, Kevin O’Keefe highlighted comments about blogging made by Mark Silow, Fox Rothschild’s firm-wide managing partner. Silow is quoted as saying, “I’m amazed both by the amount of traffic our blogs attract and by the amount of business that (the blogs) generate.”

That law firm has found that investing millions in bloggers, researchers and the technology required to support blogs is well worth it. The effort has proven so successful that the firm’s blogroll has grown from one to 39.

Why So Many?

Blogging about a narrow, specific topic is definitely the way to go, says Colin O’Keefe. “Niches are absolutely key,” he says. Adds Kevin O’Keefe, “Clients are hiring experts. Clients are not hiring law firms, but experts.” A blog focused on one specific area of law can establish the attorney blogger as an expert in that field, and that credibility can open many doors.

Stuart Kaplow is one example of an attorney who religiously adheres to that mantra. Kaplow, who represents a broad range of business clients with interests in environmental law and sustainability, including green building, blogs to promote his law practice at Kaplow, who has been practicing law in Maryland for over 30 years, says he started blogging two years as a way of promoting his practice.

So just why, after practicing law more than three decades, did Kaplow feel his law practice needed an injection of visibility? “I blog to create business opportunities. I blog to promote my law practice and the non-law subsidiary of my law firm," he says. "Much of my blogging is to assist in creating the emergent body of law that is sustainability and green building law. And, increasingly my blog seeks to drive the discussion in the field and influence sustainability and green building.” 

According to Kaplow, “The blog has been an embarrassing success in the sense that, second only to the business of existing clients, this is the greatest source of business for both my law firm and its non-law subsidiary.”

Tips for Lawyers Who Blog

Kaplow is emphatic about the most important advice he offers lawyers who are either considering blogging or who already are: “Just do it.”

That tip might sound like a commercial for a sports shoe, but Kaplow says it applies equally to the pursuit of blogging. “Find your voice and stick with it. Writing a blog is very different than authoring a law review article. It is of key import to consider what your blog will communicate to clients and prospective clients,” he says.

He also suggests that when attorneys ponder what to blog about, they should remember why they are blogging in the first place. Don’t write about a topic of interest to yourself “versus writing for clients and prospective clients,” he advises. In addition to bringing in new business to his law practice, blogging has had another positive impact on Kaplow’s career. “My blog has contributed to me being perceived as a thought leader in sustainability and green building,” he says.

 Tami Kamin Meyer is an Ohio attorney and writer.

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