There’s often a wide gap between what we can do and what we should do. The First Amendment is a constitutional pillar of our free and open society, but it also supplies a dangerous invitation to run our mouths on topics that are better kept to ourselves. If you doubt me, try invoking the First Amendment the next time you offend your spouse.
Like marriage, the practice of law is an endeavor where engaging in behavior tolerated by the First Amendment can be dangerous, even unethical. You don’t have to be Aristotle to see the tension between “free speech” and “client confidentiality.”
The tenth and last in a series about useful law blog post formats.
The “how to” law blog post is a great way to meet potential clients at the moment they begin researching their legal problem — prior to the selection of legal representation. A “how to” post, well done, builds trust and positions the law firm as a desirable solution provider for the client’s problem.
“How to” posts are also ideal candidates for selection by Google as “Featured Snippets,” those information boxes that Google frequently pins to the top of organic search listings.
Now before you declare, “I am an [incontrovertibly laudable attribute] large firm lawyer, I don’t do ‘how to’ posts” and click away, please hear me out.
The ninth in a series about useful law blog post formats.
Several years ago at a party downtown I met a former Capitol Hill staffer who, like me, wrote about government policy for a living.
He was a longtime subscriber to my company’s publications, but he had a complaint, which was essentially this:
“You’re very good at reporting what happened yesterday, not so good at what is happening today, and unfortunately pretty bad at projecting what’s likely to happen tomorrow. That’s what we do.”
Each morning, my new friend read my company’s publications, the “Big Three” newspapers (Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post), the Federal Register and Congressional Record, a clipping service and a few email newsletters. He went to the Hill when he felt he needed to hear things first-hand, and he spent a lot of time on the phone.
Just like a regular journalist.
The eighth in a series about useful law blog post formats.
The creation of a regular weekly feature article is a good way to boost productivity among the law firm’s blog-writing team — and stimulate reader interest as well.
Regular features promote editorial planning by giving everyone a clear target to shoot for each week and they calm the “What can we put on the blog today?” stress that often attends regular care and feeding the of law blog beast.
A law firm that runs a regular feature is not hostage to the day’s events or, worse, the day’s lack of bloggable events.
Finally, a regular feature article is a clearly defined bit of editorial content that can be delegated and managed by the firm’s marketing department.
The seventh in a series about useful law blog post formats.
On Jan. 21, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, a case in which the court held that the First Amendment rights of corporations and unions were infringed by federal election laws that prohibited independent expenditures in support of political candidates.
Within three hours, the Washington Post published Reactions to the Supreme Court reversing limits on corporate spending in political campaigns, a roundup article collecting over a dozen rapid reactions from other newspapers, broadcast news outlets, and legal experts.
The WashPost article provided clear value to its readers, placing numerous perspectives on the same page and saving time readers might have spent searching the net for additional information.
Unfortunately, this sort of generosity is rarely seen on law firm blogs.
Lawyers view blogs primarily as marketing vehicles, not news publications. Serving the reader is a strategy not a mission.