Nasty Nosh Niche

Odd where hyperlinks will take you. Thanks to a piece in Slate on what to do about e-coli in the food supply, I wound up finding the Seattle law firm of Marler Clark LLP, which specializes in food poisoning cases — indeed the title on their home page declares it and the first paragraph of text claims that

Marler Clark is the nation’s foremost law firm with a practice dedicated to representing victims of food poisoning.

If you’d asked me this morning, I’d have said that the idea was a bit far-fetched, but there is indeed a niche for such legal specialists, it appears, reminding me once again that the long tail of law firm types — especially in the U.S., where the ratio of lawyers:layfolk is quite high — will include at least one of every conceivable flavour and focus, I suppose. Marler Clark does it up brown: there’s a long list of e-coli poisoning outbreaks over the last few years, identifying the culprit food or activity and the number of people affected, but even more remarkable is the almost as long list of websites “about food and environmental contamination, and foodborne illnesses” that the law firm has “developed”: 28 separate websites or blogs deal with such topics as salmonella, listeria, mad cow, Guillain-Barre Syndrome…and many many more. Talk about using the web as a marketing tool!

As… unsettling…as the topic of food poisoning is, and putting aside the need or desire to lash out legally at the supplier of the bug, you might find it interesting to read the piece by Kent Sepkowitz in Slate that started me off on this post. It goes by the supremely inelegant title of “Eat Crap: Why Americans should ingest more excrement” and it’s very well written.


  1. I’m thinking everyone should have eaten that Thanksgiving dressing (a.k.a. stuffing) by now….

  2. Kevin O’Keefe was telling me at the Pacific Legal Tech Conference about Bill Marler, and how he’s using blogs to drive his practice. Sounds like a great example of a niche practice running the table on their subject matter.

    And since I used Kevin’s name in this comment, and I know he’ll see it via RSS in a few minutes, any wager on how long before he drops by? ;-)

  3. Simon, not that unusual that you pulled Bill up when doing a search on E. coli. He’s got more content up on the subject between his website and blogs than just about anyone – including government and academic sites

    Bill is an excellent and caring lawyer for victims of who have sustained serious injuries from food poisoning. I really enjoy his passion.

    And Steve’s right. His 11 blogs have allowed him to take it to the next level as an agent for change in the food industry. There’s little question in my mind that his and unique blogs for various bacteria are bringing positive change in the food industry and the government’s regulation of the industry.