The Times Law Page for Tuesday March 28 contains an assessment of where English law firms are on the blogosphere: ‘A blog shows we are not a stuffy, old-style firm.’ Discuss
Not surprisingly English law firms are divided as to the usefulness of the legal blog – a few quotes:
BLOGGING is to public relations what e-mails are to letters and is one of the most important technological innovations for law firms
Andy Havens, a US legal marketing manager.
“If your firm doesn’t have at least one lawyer who is blogging, you look like a firm who, in 1996, didn’t have a website yet.”
Blogs (or blawgs in the legal context) are increasingly touted as potential goldmines, but are law firms using blogs to their full potential and just how useful are they in practice? There are more than 500 blawgs on the internet, written by lawyers, students and academics on a wide variety of topics. The first UK barrister to blog is “geeklawyer” , specialising in intellectual property, technology and media issues
Described as an IP lawyer who once did R&D in the U.S. for the “evil American empire” and who blogs about IP, civil liberties, the legal system, and “angry liberal” things.. And some are anonymous — such as the elusive “blawger of Ealing”, a metropolitan magistrate.
Lawyers in Britain have apparently been slow to recognise their potential, and if they don’t jump on the blogging bandwagon soon, they will lose out to other experts who get in first.
Gosh my heart goes pitter patter with anticipation..
“(Blawgs) are not desperately interesting to clients. The only way I can see that a blog would have a significant marketing impact would be if it were aimed at one particular market sector
Martin Davies, a legal marketing consultant.”
“Any firm that builds a marketing strategy on blogs is deluding itself”
Charles Christian, a legal technology expert..
“You might be lucky and get a new client overnight because you write something that is relevant to that client’s business, but it is more likely that the blog will have a medium to long-term prospect of bringing in new business by raising the profile of a firm and demonstrating its experience, particularly in niche areas. Blog readers tend to hate blogs that are thinly disguised attempts to drum up new work.< footnote>Mills & Reeve, the national firm, Peter Wainman, of Mills & Reeve, which has established the successful specialist NakedLaw blawg about technical law issues. ”.
He adds: “We didn’t expect a flood of new business to come our way when we started NakedLaw — but some of our clients do read the blog, and it is something we direct potential clients towards as a showcase of the sorts of fields in which our technology team demonstrates expertise.”
Potential bloggers should note that as yet there are no guidelines in using blogs as a marketing tool but the Law Society is seeking the profession’s views as to whether or not it would find detailed guidance on the topic helpful. Bloggers are good at getting into trouble for what they write and the courts have yet to apply the law to bloggers. In the meantime, legal bloggers should be cautious; they, of all bloggers, should at least know the law.