The Three Types of Practicing Lawyer Blogs – A Response

Kudos to Maxwell Kennerly of the Litigation and Trial blog for his recent post entitled “The Three Types of Practicing Lawyer Blogs,” which we mentioned previously here.  We’ve been meaning to respond to it in detail for some time. Kennerly accurately characterizes the different types of practicing lawyer blogs, which he divides into three main types:  the mainstream, the personalities, and the marketers.  (He was kind enough to place us into the second category).  Here at Abnormal Use, we enjoy blogging about legal blogging, and Kennerly’s post got us thinking about these different types of blogs and how practicing attorneys find the time to engage in blogging to various degrees.

We continue to marvel at those bloggers that Kennerly places into “the mainstream,” which he describes as a group of blogs engaging in news gathering, objective reporting, and the collection of legal links and analysis.  These are blogs like SCOTUSblog (whose recent acquisition by Bloomberg prompted Kennerly’s post in the first place) and even Howard Bashman’s How Appealing, the grandfather of mainstream legal blogs.  How practicing lawyers can assemble the material for these mainstream blogs is quite a feat:  they cannot miss a beat or news development occurring in the subject matter they cover.  If they do so, their credibility is threatened and so, they must constantly dedicate resources to the blogs to provide the latest news on their chosen subject matter.

That’s a Herculean task when one is trying to simultaneously run a law practice.  We suspect there are a host of lawyer writers out there who once intended to engage in legal mainstream blogging but burnt out quickly due to the high demands of the enterprise.  We offer our most sincere kudos to those who are able to maintain such blogs.

It’s a bit easier to run a “personality” blog, as contributors to such enterprises can pick and chose their topics as they please.  They need not fret about objectivity.  They can inject a bit of editorial style – even sarcasm sometimes – into their posts. However, personality blogs still face the difficult challenge of providing timely, interesting, and engaging commentary on the area of law they have chosen to discuss.  Here at Abnormal Use, we have posted every business day since January of 2010.  That’s no small feat, even if we do say so ourselves.  We have a dedicated staff of thoughtful writers here without whom this enterprise would be impossible.  We are not sure that we could engage in the type of personality blogging we do if there were fewer contributors, or if there were but one contributor.  In sum, there is strength in numbers.

Finally, the marketing blogs that Kennerly discusses are, as he suggests, sometimes irksome.  Somewhat spam like, they clutter the blawgosphere with a curious melange of general related news and lawyer advertising.  We don’t have much to say on those types sites or whether they are written by lawyers or marketing professionals.

The thing that interested us most about Kennerly’s post was his suggestion that personality blogs tend to engage each other more frequently than any other type of blogs.  To us, that’s part of the point of the blawgosphere. We enjoy engaging in discussion with other lawyers and law blogs.  As we previously noted, this enterprise has allowed us to meet other lawyers across the country and discuss not just blogging itself but also substantive legal issues.  We are always looking for more law blogs to read or bloggers with whom we can discuss products, or even general legal issues.

That, we think, is the chief advantage of blogging as marketing. Bloggers find themselves in discussions, friendly debates, and conversations with other lawyers across the nation they never would have met otherwise. Those conversations lead to meetings in person at conferences and the like, and often, transform into actual friendship.  That’s not such a bad thing.

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