Blogs and Law Practice
Blogger extraordinaire Tom Bell has a rather skeptical take on the impact of blogs on legal practice. Bell notes that while
Blogs seem tailor-made to [offer a] cheap and easy way to bloviate before the world without suffering an editor’s interference . . . . Attorneys will not find that blogs gives them the sort of detailed and applied legal analysis they need to help their clients, nor will attorneys find they can ethically practice law via blogging.
Some valid points here–I certainly wouldn’t practice via blog! But there are some notable exceptions to Bell’s first point, about lack of careful legal analysis. As Ian Best’s taxonomy of blogs (and citation tracking) shows, some courts have used blogs to help them sort through cutting edge legal topics. I also think that law student blogs (done well!) may be a good way for students to develop their interests and demonstrate their abilities.
Moreover, the use of blogs as marketing seems to be catching on among practicing lawyers. The New Jersey Lawyer reports that law firm Stark & Stark launched two blogs that got over 250,000 hits in a year from 60,000 people; a partner at Hill Wallack says that his blog “usually generates at least one new referral daily.” (Sorry, it’s the 8/28 edition, so no article link.).
If they turn out to be a cheap, effective marketing tool, blogs may be a way for small-to-midsize firms to break into areas traditionally dominated by BigLaw.