Advice to New Practical Blawgers

With new practical blawgers coming online every week, I think some advice from those who have been around a little (or a lot) longer might be beneficial.

For example, New York criminal-defense lawyer Scott Greenfield (of Simple Justice) says

Since you have no track record, it would be helpful to provide a short bio so we know who you are, what type of work you do and how much experience you bring to the table. On the internet, everybody looks alike, from the fertile octogenerian to the wettest newbie. The expectations change accordingly.

Here are a few things I would add:

If you want people to link to your blog, link to theirs in your posts. Take inspiration from the things other blawgers have written, and give them credit. Or disagree with them (heh) and include a link to the post in which they are wrong-wrong-wrong.

When you cite another blog, describe the blogger. For example, “New York criminal-defense lawyer Scott Greenfield” or “Connecticut public defender Gideon” or “Connecticut criminal-defense lawyer Norm Pattis” (hi, Norm! — Norm googles himself regularly).

Like Norm, Google yourself regularly, or go to Technorati to see who is linking to your blog posts. If they say something even moderately interesting, blog back. Quid pro quo is not the rule, but there is a spirit of reciprocity in the practical blawgosphere.

Comment on other people’s blog posts. That is, leave comments on their blogs. Also permit comments to your own posts. Don’t be afraid — comments are a good thing.

Stay away from the story of the day unless you have something new to add that is related to your subject matter. Nobody really cares whether you think Paris Hilton should go to jail.

Likewise, and while the law is an intrinsically political activity, stay away from partisan politics. The world does not need another bloviating Democratic blog, much less another bloviating Republican blog.

A good thing about blogging is that it is a good way to show the world who you are as a lawyer. Whether you intend it or not, clients will read your blog. So will your adversaries, witnesses, judges, and jurors. It would be much more difficult to present a false face in a blog than it is in an advertisement or a static website. A bad thing about blogging is that it is a good way to show the world who you are as a lawyer.

Some of our colleagues will, I expect, have a lot to add. Jamie? Scott? Gideon? Shawn? Robert? Stephen? Jon? Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?

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0 responses to “Advice to New Practical Blawgers”

  1. Good post. What happened to your Legal First Aid though? By the way, how many clients do you think you have gotten because of your blog? Just curious.

  2. I’ve got a couple of other LFAs in the works. I got hung up on how to write the “riding dirty” LFA.

    I don’t know that I’ve gotten any clients because of my blog. I know that several people have read my blog, then hired me, but I can’t say that they wouldn’t have hired me otherwise.

  3. Hi, Mark-

    Here are my two blogposts beneficial to all new bloggers and new webmasters, not just lawyers:

    I tend to use Technorati, our trackback software and our site statistics software to know which blogs and other websites are linking to our website. I found your blog entry through Technorati.

    Our Underdog blog name results in many unrelated results in google unless I use such restrictive phrases as blog and criminal law, which still returns many unrelated links and several blogs of the same title. However, that’s a price for my favorite title for our blog.

    I suggest having one’s blogname in the URL, although justiceblog is in our URL, because I originally thought of using that blog title. It will be hard to turn back now, unless I use a mirrored URL with underdog in it.

    When deciding which blogs to link to, I tend to consider such aspects as quality of content and context, frequency of posting relevant topics, overall content, subject matter, and my gut reaction. My blog entries and links are done both for the benefit of me and my readers.

    I tend to link to all frequently-posted prosecutors’ blogs no matter what their content, to know the opposition.

    If I link to a blog that offends me tremendously, but still think it should be linked to (e.g., prosecutors‚Äô blogs) I might make note of it in some way in my blogroll. For instance, I have called “Seeking Justice” “Seeking [In]Justice”. A newer prosecutor who subsequently password-protected his blog was making me ill unnecessarily bashing criminal defendants and focusing on winning his cases no matter the damage to justice, so I entitled his blog “Gloating Prosecutor.”

    One widely-linked-to and long-existing law blog that I find frequently beneficial is too frequently and unnecessarily mean-spirited and character-assassinating (even about other criminal defense lawyers). I do not wish to dignify nor encourage its mean spiritedness by linking to it.

    I believe in erring on the side of not listing a blog than listing it to my blogroll, when I am on the fence about it. Your blogroll’s length is spare and relevant like a Count Basie solo.

    Have a great week. Jon

  4. Thanks for the very timely tips. I’ll be checking back for what others have to say. (Thanks for the link as well.)

  5. Here is what I do-
    1. Blog when inspired. I get inspired by things that happen in my day to day practice. Your day to day work should provide ample material to educate, inform, or entertain a blawg audience. If not, my fall back is the reaction to news story. I add my libertarian criminal justice viewpoints to the popular news of the day.

    2. Technorati. Sign up for it, learn how to use it, add the widgets. It’s a great tool. See who quotes you and reciprocate.

    3. Sitemeter. Know your audience.

    4. Ping-o-Matic. Let’s the search world know you exist.

    5. Link to other sources. Just like you would cite a source in a brief link other websites in your posts. That way, you can make a quick point and provide your basis through a link. I find it gives my posts substance and it seems to help in the search rankings.

    6. Tell everyone about your blog. Tell your colleagues, friends, neighbors, put in on your attorney website, business cards. Your blog is the easiest way for clients to get to know you. It can really set your firm apart.

    7. Register with texasbar/blogs

    8. Read Grits For Breakfast, find a way to get quoted by GFB.

    9. Read TDCAA user forums. Be marveled at the complete lack of prosecutorial blogs. Posting in forums- how 90’s. Defense lawyers are creative people and blogging is creative work.

    10. I find practical blawging hard. Like writing a CLE seminar or law review. I keep those short and aim for my audience- defendants. If you can do it well, go for it. I can’t force it, so I don’t.

  6. Murrieta Police department in California allowed my son molester walk because he is 15 years old and becuase it was not forced…when a 15 year old who is 4 times the size of a 11 year old I would say that that is called forced. The 15 year old convinced the police department that HE was telling the truth and that my son was making it all up! It is good to know that the police department still believes in “protect and serve” Protect who…the molester from dealing with the punishment of being a bruise on society!!
    How do I get justice for my son!?
    Discused and disapointed!
    Murrieta, CA

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