In the legal blogging world, there is much speculation about the manner in which to measure one’s success. Our friends over at the Drug and Device Law blog have discussed this in the past, and each of us, as law bloggers, confronts this issue daily. Do legal blogs lead to new legal business? If so, is there a way to chart the path from the initial blog post to a new client’s engagement letter? It’s an interesting question. There may never be a day in which a new client presents itself to one’s firm identifying a blog entry as the sole source of the retention. However, amongst bloggers, the general consensus seems to be that the presence of a blog will spotlight both the firm and the blog’s authors, and accordingly, raise their profile. That heightened level of attention will, very likely, lead to additional opportunities and perhaps new business.
For example, once a blog author becomes a familiar voice on a given topic, he or she may be invited to speak at events and conventions. These opportunities would likely not have come but for the presence of the blog and subsequent raising of the profile of its authors. Further, we here at Abnormal Use have had the opportunity to meet and network with several other lawyer bloggers that we never would have previously met had we not begun this enterprise here. For example, in early June, while on an unrelated business trip in Philadelphia, we had the opportunity to meet the three authors of the Drug and Device Law blog, whom we have known in the digital world for 18 months but had never actually met in person. Further, more recently, during a CLE conference in New Orleans, we were able to meet Jeff Richardson of the iPhone J.D. blog and Ernest Svenson of the Ernie the Attorney law blog. At each of these informal meetings, we discussed this issue – how law blogs might lead to legal business. However, the very fact that we were meeting and discussing that issue underscores the networking value of legal blogging, as we were all doing so solely because of our own blogging efforts. How’s that for networking?
There’s more to it than that, of course. Once a legal blog establishes a history and some credibility, who knows what will happen? We were very pleasantly surprised to learn recently that our posts were quoted both by The New York Times and National Public Radio. (See here and here for more information on those two twists of fate.). We’ve been asked to speak at events and present at CLE seminars as a result of our prose on this site. It’s difficult to calculate the value of such things, but it’s worth it.
In the end, Ernie probably said it best when he noted that we, as lawyers, speak in terms of causation, but we may never be able to identify the “but for cause” of every new client. Further, we may never know if the legal blog is the reason for the business, or if the legal blog led to a secondary opportunity which itself led to new contacts which in turn led to new business. It’s difficult to trace the chain of causation, but it seems clear that blogging is an excellent tool for networking among other attorneys and spot lighting one’s self. If you’ve got something to say, and you’ve got readers ready to listen, what can be wrong with that?