Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Why Lawyers Can't Blog

We live in a multi-media world, and so law firms need to work in a multi-media way. Yes thanks to the digital age there is a panoply of means of expression; digital avenues which can you can use to engage, interact and to market and monetise your legal expertise.

One of those critical digital avenues is the blog. Blogging can boost your firms SEO, allow you to become an influencer and give your company depth and personality. However lawyers often don't blog well. But lawyers are smart, highly trained experts. So how could I suggest that they cannot write well? Well the long and short of it is that they can't blog because they don't get what blogging is and what its being and purpose is all about.

I actually find it hard to put into words why lawyers can't blog. However practicing barrister and technology journalist Charles Christian (@ChristianUncut) has managed to capture perfectly in words why lawyers struggle so much with blogging. This is how he put it: 

I think one of the issues is psychology – the lawyer mindset, coincidentally a topic that received a lot of coverage at the recent Janders Dean Legal Knowledge & Innovation Conference in Australia. Faced with a writing project of any sort, the lawyer (or their marketing department/business development or KM team) goes into Law School mode and begins planning out a blog posting of such length and complexity that it would impress a Supreme Court judge.

That’s the money shot and encapsulates exactly why lawyers don’t blog well. Many of the legal blogs I’ve seen are dense, stuffy, lengthy, and impenetrable and cluttered with confusing legalese. Charles Christian, blogging here, comments on this dense approach to blogging and adds how it should be done:

Don’t! Nobody is going to read such a missive. Keep it short and punchy – it need only be two or three paragraphs long. For a great example of how to do this check out Seth Godin’s Blog, here.

Godin is a US marketing guru whose blog posts are worth reading for the content however it is the brevity of his style I’m more interested in here, with some of his posts little longer than a tweet on Twitter (and we’ll be looking at Twitter next time). The key message here is what you post on the website does not have to be a lengthy missive. Keep it short, make it snappy – and the more regularly you update the site the better.


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    Arguing a client's case before a judge or jury in a court of law is the traditional province of the barrister in England, and of advocates in some civil law jurisdictions. However, the boundary between barristers and solicitors has evolved. In England today, the barrister monopoly covers only appellate courts, and barristers must compete directly with solicitors in many trial courts. In countries like the United States that have fused legal professions, there are trial lawyers who specialize in trying cases in court, but trial lawyers do not have a de jure monopoly like barristers. In some countries, litigants have the option of arguing pro se, or on their own behalf. It is common for litigants to appear unrepresented before certain courts like small claims courts; indeed, many such courts do not allow lawyers to speak for their clients, in an effort to save money for all participants in a small case. In other countries, like Venezuela, no one may appear before a judge unless represented by a lawyer. The advantage of the latter regime is that lawyers are familiar with the court's customs and procedures, and make the legal system more efficient for all involved. Unrepresented parties often damage their own credibility or slow the court down as a result of their inexperience.

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  3. Hey thanks very much Pearl! Ive got you now on Google+, are you on Twitter? A fully functional website is coming soon!


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