Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Blogging Lessons Learned from a Curmudgeon Turned Blawger

Mark Herrman, author of The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law, wrote a piece in The National Law Journal: Blogging Lessons Learned. It turns out he is also co-author of the Drug and Device Law Blog.

Here are his four lessons from legal blogging and my thoughts.

1. "Blogging about substantive legal issues is hard." A blogger must regularly post fresh content about interesting issues. There is not always interesting legal content on the subject of your legal blog. Often times I will read a case that sounds interesting for my Real Estate Space blog, only to find out the case lacks much meaning.

2. "Blogging is personally satisfying." Every blog post is a snapshot of an idea that I can easily retrieve. Even if nobody reads the blog post except me, I have created a resource for me. Of course it is great to see others referring to your article. [You like me. You really, really like me.] Even better is getting comments and criticism to help craft and fine tune my thinking.

3. "Law firms, like law schools, are clueless about how to value blogs." Most law firms are not sure whether to encourage lawyers to write blogs or to forbid them? Should they sponsor blogs (to claim credit) or disavow them (to avoid risk)?

4. "Blogging pays off. It pays off in part by being a self-fulfilling prophecy." Whether or not you know anything about the topics you cover in your blog, you appear to be an expert in that field. You can hold yourself out there as an expert. But unless people hear what you have to say (or read what you have written), they are not going to buy into your expertise. Also by blogging, I force myself to think about my subject for at least a few minutes a day. Blogging forces me step out of my workflow and "think" rather than just "do."

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