I recently blogged about the concept of a legal blogging community, something that existed in the early days of blogging
Readers saw my post as a yearning for the old days of legal blogging when we followed each other’s blogs and got to know each other in a real and meaningful way. Folks responded that getting back to that sort of community was not possible.
That’s okay, fifteen years in Internet time is the equivalent of about fifty years offline. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and even the term, “social media” didn’t exist then. A lot of water has passed under the bridge.
But there’s no reason we cannot have a community that empowers and inspires legal bloggers, nationally and world-wide.
A place where legal bloggers and wannabe bloggers can find bloggers, their publications, and relevant legal/social commentary and insight. A place where bloggers can find bloggers and publications to follow and take their engagement beyond blogs to mediums they are already using – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. And a place that connects lawyers with people.
Here’s a crack at what LexBlog could do to make that community a reality.
- Take blogging to a higher level. Little question that blogging is one of the best, if not the best way, for a lawyer to build their reputation and market themselves. The mission of a community would be focused on something greater than ourselves – to connect lawyers with people, for good. Lawyers are irrelevant to 85% of people. It’s not the cost of a lawyer, it’s trust and not having a clue what lawyers do. Lawyers, coast to coast, blogging on issues relevant to consumers, small business people, corporations and other organizations will get lawyers out where people are, on the net, and out in a real and authentic way.
- Community includes all blogging members of our legal industry. Private practice lawyers, law professors, in-house counsel, lawyers in government, business people, legal libraries/librarians, law students, company leaders and entrepreneurs, financial community/venture capitalists funding legal businesses and others. Dialogue and insight across our industry is needed to advance the law, make it relevant to people and deliver effective legal services.
- Education and support of bloggers. There is more misinformation about what blogging is and how to blog than there is good information today. A community run by LexBlog will provide education and support to bloggers through various mediums.
- In addition to an online community facilitated by a publication, described below, and social media, a community will have offline events whether they be meetups by locale, subject or larger conferences.
- For bloggers and wannabe bloggers lacking a strong and effective blogging platform, LexBlog will provide them with the legal industry’s leading blog publishing platform. For lawyers on a budget, LexBlog can make its platform available at prices the equivalent of WordPress.com. For law schools and non-profit’s the platform is free.
- A powerful publication covering countless subjects in the law curating the best in legal blog publishing from lawyers in the States, and then overseas. Each piece being penned by people in the know – experienced and caring legal professionals. You are seeing the early stages of that publication at LexBlog.com being run by Melissa Lin, Bob Ambrogi and others on our publishing team.
- Publication would be the visual equivalent of the New Yorker, the Harvard Business Review, The Atlantic or The Athletic. Bloggers need to look at their publishing surrounded by the publishing of a who’s who of legal professionals, worldwide, in an eloquent and beautiful presentation. Enough so that they’re holding up their iPhone to their spouse, colleagues and who have you and saying “look at this, isn’t this incredible, look where I’m published and look at how great it looks.” And why not? As a small town lawyer for almost twenty years, if I could publish on my own publication and have it shown to the world in something like that, I’d be pretty pumped.
- At all times this publication recognizes it’s all about the lawyers and legal business professionals and the people they serve. The publication is not indexing the blog posts nor is its goal to get traffic, its purpose is to shine a light on bloggers, their work and the good things they are doing.
- Publication is run on outstanding technology, that’s constantly being updated at its core and with new features added regularly.
- Dynamic directory of legal bloggers by which users can find bloggers by topic, state, metro, subject, law school, associations (bars etc), organizations and law firms.
- Profiles of bloggers, displaying a New Yorker style byline, backgrounder, contact information and social media handles.
- Profiles of blog publications and the organizations publishing such publications.
- Extending the curated publishing to bar association, law school, law firm, CLE and organization magazines ala Illinois Lawyer Now shining a light on member bloggers and their publishing – and getting the bloggers’ insight to relevant readers. “Magazines” of curated blog posts will be created by geographic areas, areas of the law and industries and causes so that readers and other community members may easily subscribe by feeds or email to the latest relevant insight and commentary.
- Recognition that much of legal blogging represents secondary law that should be annotating primary law and influencing the interpretation of the law by lawyers and the courts. Open API will be made available to legal research, AI and other legal tech companies to help make this happen.
- Recognizing the better bloggers by locale, topics, firms, associations and organizations.
- Recruitment of existing credible legal bloggers and blogs into the community.
- Community leaders by topic, industry, association and locale recruiting bloggers, encouraging bloggers, citing best practices/bloggers/publications, teaching and running online and offline events. Community leaders were the lifeblood of legal communities at AOL and Prairielaw.com (later becoming the community and content at LexisNexis’ lawyers.com). Helping others and working on a cause greater than yourself, all the while building relationships and a wide reaching reputation is attractive.
- Identifying gaps not being covered by blogs and recruit the needed bloggers. For example, states may have six or seven good sized cities (that’s relative by state) for which core areas of the law are not covered by legitimate blogs. Subjects such as family law, workers compensation, real estate, employment law, criminal law, estate planning, elder law, personal injury, immigration, disability and social security come to mind. There are plenty of niches within those areas of law as well. If we’re going to connect lawyers with people by lawyers personally communicating in a real and authentic fashion, the community needs to cover core areas of the law in key metro areas. There are also any number of areas of law and industry not being covered by lawyers representing corporate and government clients.
- Community is free and open to bloggers, users/readers and the beneficiaries of an API.
I’m sure there are twenty-five other things LexBlog could do to help create and foster a legal blogging community. My list represents my quick thoughts. I welcome your ideas and your feedback.
LexBlog was founded to help lawyers build relationships and a reputation by connecting with people in a real and meaningful way. A global legal blogging community feels right on point, while making a far greater impact.