News or insights sections on law firm websites are fairly typical. They do not appear to be near as powerful in developing a reputation as an independent blog.

Over on LinkedIn, Australia patent lawyer, Mark Summerfield, commenting on a post of mine, distinguishes news and insights section on websites and an independent blog.

Legal blogs are increasingly seen as a reputable and useful source of information, especially those that cover niche areas. The ‘news’ or ‘insights’ section of a firm’s website is not the same thing. It doesn’t highlight the skills and passion of individual practitioners, and is more likely to be seen primarily as a promotional activity.

Running my own blog, independent of the firm I was working for, gave me a profile and brought me opportunities that I would never have had without it – and that was beneficial for my employer, too. I’m not looking to give it up any time soon, but I’m not going to be doing it forever, and I haven’t seen anybody else in the Australian patent profession looking to follow a similar path.

Summerfield‘s message hits on reputation and trust.

He’s established himself as a thought leader and trusted advisor as a patent attorney.

If Summerfield tried to accomplish the same by writing articles in the news or insights section of his firm’s website, he’d not have established the reputation and the trust with people that he has.

News and insights sections of websites are not necessarily bad, a law firm gets advertising and marketing bounce from these sections.

But a law firm employing a lawyer or two or more who have built strong reputations and relationships in a niche area of the law is worth a ton.

Independent legal blogs are much more effective in building these reputations and relationships than insights and news sections in a website.