Originally Published in The National Law Journal on September 16, 2013
I was recently asked, “Are law blogs dying?” My answer was an emphatic “no.” Not even close. Law blogs are booming more now than ever, and the data back that up.
More than four years ago, I compiled a catalog of law blogs published by Am Law 100 law firms. Today blogging is at an all-time high. There are at least 416 that we could identify.
Why are blogs so resilient? Because blog posts, articles, and content are the fuel that feeds the social-media engine. It’s the content, stupid! Ever since email was invented, people have been sharing good content; social media are just making this easier. Create great content and you will get noticed.
Content has a leveling effect. Online, nobody cares about where you went to school or what private club you belong to—they judge you by the quality of your writing. For scrappy firms looking to oust the incumbents, blogging lets them shine and attract clients based on the quality of their ideas. There is no faster way to win recognition.
Firms that get this dominate the online world. There is no more powerful tool for search engine optimization than the continuous creation of blog content. One firm I spoke to recently has brought in more than 20 high-dollar engagements through its blogs. Firms either get it or they don’t. The 12 firms that made the Top 10 list for the most blogs (the last four were tied) account for 179 blogs—fully 46 percent of all law blogs among the Am Law 100. These firms have a massive online footprint, thanks to their content. Still, some very large and distinguished firms don’t blog at all. Zero blogs. Why not? Perhaps their clients live in caves and share messages by carrier pigeon. Seriously, what are they thinking? Yet they represent the Who’s Who of white-shoe firms: Cravath, Swaine & Moore. Sullivan & Cromwell. Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. White & Case.
It’s as if they made a conscious decision not to blog. Perhaps they believe other firms need to blog to make names for themselves, but this is the wrong approach. Do you have the smartest and brightest lawyers? Prove it. Harvard Business School is at the top of the heap, but that didn’t stop it from launching the Harvard Business Review blog. Harvard understands the power of the Internet and online content creation.
Blogs will continue to grow in popularity because they are an effective way to share knowledge. There is a limit to the number of hours a lawyer can bill, but blogs work for lawyers while they sleep. Ask yourself this question: When my clients search online for a question that I could easily answer, is my firm coming up in the Google search? If the answer is no, it may be time to start blogging.
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