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February 11, 2008

Clients "want an attorney who blogs"?

We picked up this post from this week's fine Blawg Review #146: "Why Every Client Should Want an Attorney Who Blawgs" at Ohio Practical Business Law Counsel. This is well-written and well worth your time. However, we continue to think that most clients worth having--and certainly busy in-house counsel--have no time to read blogs, think about blogs or to blog themselves. And real clients want their real lawyers working their asses off solving problems--not blogging. Blogger-professionals need to get over themselves. A client's knowledge that you are blogging regularly is about as helpful--or harmful--as knowing that you go to the track a couple of times a week with your drunken philandering stoner high school friend Ernie from Glen Burnie. Colorful and interesting--but so what? And with the wrong client, it could even hurt. Moreover, blogging still has a geeky connotation with the over-45 crowd who control much of the work law firms get. Clients could care less if you blog and might even resent it. Still, read Teri Rasmussen's post for a counter-intuitive counter-view. We of course may be wrong--but we are not about to trumpet the fact to our best clients that "hey, we be blogging". They don't care--and we should not expect them to care.

Work first. Blog later. And keep it to yourself.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at February 11, 2008 01:35 PM


Very shortsighted and self limiting belief.

It's the busiest people in this country who are reading blogs - including execs and in-house counsel. As long as 2 years ago, over 20% of execs read at least one business blog a week. The same study found senior execs much more familiar with the value of blogs than lawyers.

LexBlog has multiple AmLaw 200 law firms who publish blogs for the sole reason of keeping their clients up to speed on legal issues in niches - something their corporate clients demand because of the significant legal fees they were paying.

Why? Insight and commentary on niche areas of the law. Understanding lawyer's philosophy and take on things. And some of the things Rasmussen mentions.

'What about clients' has dissed the value of blogs in the corporate space for a long time. The reason being apparently that the firm's clients are above blogs.

It may be that your failure to understand the value of blogs to sophisticated corporate clients and dissing the value of blogs to them keeps you apart from exec's, in-house counsel, and corporate clients that appreciate blogs.

Posted by: Kevin OKeefe at February 11, 2008 05:55 AM

if clients could care less whether firms are blogging, how to we make it so they coudn't care less? i mean, I want to get them to the point where there is nothing they care less about and therefore couldn't care less about whether a firm blogs. thanks in advance for your advice.

Posted by: Albert at February 11, 2008 08:22 AM

Holden Oliver must have missed these law blog selections from this week's Blawg Review #146:

"Mike Dillon [GC of Sun Microsystems] thinks technology in-house counsel shouldn’t cave in to “patent trolls”…for the good of the industry. Easier said than done. And, just in case any of you want to take a photograph of this post, William Patry [Senior Copyright Counsel, Google Inc.] discusses the latest on whether a photograph of a copyrightable object is a derivative work."

Posted by: Ed. at February 11, 2008 01:50 PM

I have to say I tend to agree with Kevin.

Why do you blog then? What do your clients think of it? Presumably at least some of them are aware of it, even if you don't trumpet the fact. Should the fact you're opining on non-legal issues much of the time make any difference? You also seem to be assuming lawyers blog during working hours. Often not the case. It's a marketing-related value add that many pursue after cranking up sufficient billables.

I'm a busy in-house counsel who both blogs in his own time (because, among other reasons, it's a way of staying current) and would like to see more law firm bloggers talking about niche areas relevant to my areas of practice. I'd much prefer that, coupled with the ability to receive it by RSS, than the "taster" marketing blurbs that many firms release. I'm not suggesting that blogging can completely subordinate the value of referrals and views of trusted in-house colleagues as to who's good at what, but it can certainly help lawyers' reputations and create mindshare in those who instruct them.

To suggest that all or the "important" in-house counsel would dismiss lawyers who blog is not much different from saying they'd dismiss lawyers who write articles, briefings and speak at conferences. I doubt many would say that.

Posted by: Richard at February 11, 2008 04:04 PM

I think you have it wrong on this one. Just tonight I had a business client tell me I was ahead of other lawyers because of my blog and he laughed that other lawyers he met probably couldn't spell blog. This was not an unsophisticated businessman nor does he have a bunch of spare time. But apparently he had enough time to read my blog and decide to give me a call.

I agree that some of your clients may not care. But I have found blogging to be a great client development tool which has helped me land a couple of major insurance company clients in niche areas recently and other highly successful businesses. I just wouldn't be so fast to dismiss the power of blogs, especially one as good as yours.

Posted by: Rush Nigut at February 11, 2008 05:36 PM

I haven't yet read "Why Every Client Should Want an Attorney Who Blawgs" but I couldn't resist leaving a comment here in the same way Hansel and Gretl dropped crumbs -- to find my way back to my morning's "real" work after: (1) looking at my stats; (2) clicking to Blawg Review because my stats made me do it; (3) picking up your trackback; and . . . what WAS it I was supposed to do for a living this morning?

Oh, yes . . . it had something to do with WORK.

But before retracing my steps back there -- here's why clients should (but won't because we WON'T spill the blogging beans) hire us because we blog.

We think more deeply more often about the larger canvas on which clients problems are written because we need CONTENT like a junkie needs . . . well, you get the picture . . . and to get CONTENT we need to READ and to blog that content, we need to incorporate what we learn from our reading into something meaningful for our specialty, which makes us smarter, deeper, broader than we would otherwise be as practitioners.

But you can't trust ME. It was me who used to say I'd rather have the guy (or woman!) in the oval office getting his/her(?) ____ ______ on a regular basis than taking out his frustrations by taking trillions of MY tax dollars to drop big bombs on little countries.

Hey! if we REALLY want a president capable of keeping his ______'s __, I guess Hillary might be the only real choice.

This comment will self-destruct in %$&#@#

Posted by: Vickie Pynchon at February 12, 2008 05:37 AM

This post is the typical overly-broad collection of statements that lawyers are taught to avoid. If you are blogging eight times a week about model cars or 70's rock groups, then perhaps your client doesn't need to know. But you seem to forget that many (maybe most) lawyers blog about their subjects of expertise. You don't think the contractor client will be impressed his lawyer is the one who publishes the contruction law blog? Or if you represent clients in the pharmaceutical industry and your blog analyzes decisions and recent developments in that industry, thats not a really good thing? Of course it is! Visiting your site for the latest industry and legal news (at no charge!) is great client service.

Posted by: Jim Calloway at June 2, 2008 07:28 AM

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