Why Do Lawyers Blog?
In response to my posts on the “flatness” and the “stagnation” of the legal blogosphere, I’ve received a number of helpful comments and feedback from practicing laywers who blog. See, e.g., Anne Reed, Eric Turkewitz and Scott Greenfield. One relatively constant response has been a rejection of the idea that all lawyer blogs “exist primarily to market the firm’s services.” Eric writes, in response:
Most blawgers, I think, do it simply for enjoyment, or to network with other attorneys for possible referrals, or perhaps hope a future client stumbles on the blog while looking for counsel. Trying to place a financial figure on such an indirect form of networking is not only impossible, but would completely miss any real benefits that might accrue based on new contacts and clients.
And Scott writes:
I’m just here to write and add my thoughts, for whatever their worth, to the body of thought that floats around the internet. It gives me purpose beyond making a buck.
These authors (and others who emailed me directly) suggest that I’ve gotten it all wrong. There is a “new wave” of small blogs, run largely by solo-practitioners. Unlike, say, practice-group blogs, these small shops are writing largely to express themselves. They are excited by the medium, and think that the potential untapped audience for their musings is pretty large. [Update: See Mark Bennett's post on the Practical Blogosphere for a good taste of the commentary.]
If true, this would be pretty exciting. Of course, it is hard to generalize from a few comments, however informed and heartfelt. I also think that lurking in the background of the “we’re not about marketing” is the Bar’s onerous marketing rules, which complicate and restrict lawyer blogging. However, I thought it would be useful to inform this discussion with another informal survey. Please take it only if you are a practicing lawyer who blogs.