These days people crave real-time reports.
This week, Beyonce, Sam Smith, and Pharrell Williams top the 57th Grammy Awards with six nominations each. But, the awards telecast has surprisingly little airtime. There are far more categories and performances in the Grammys than regular audiences will see. This is why some sites, such as Monkey See, Vox, and Entertainment Weekly, look to live-blogging during the ceremony.
Although it seems unlikely that law firm professionals will start live-blogging courtroom events (although, anything is possible), there are myriad reasons for lawyers to blog. It may not be as riveting a performance as Taylor Swift, but there are certainly other reasons besides entertainment from which you will benefit. Here are a few:
1. Productive Diversion. Angry birds and Pinterest can certainly fill up your free time. So will tracking this year’s film and music awards shows. However, a personal blog allows attorneys to make more productive use of their lunch hour.
Stuart Brown wrote in his book Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul writes, “I have gathered and analyzed thousands of case studies that I call play histories. I have found that remembering what play is all about and making it part of our daily lives are probably the most important factors in being a fulfilled human being.”
When moving physical locations is impossible (law firms frown upon playground breaks for attorneys), briefly browsing the Internet for fun, diverting subjects, videos, or photos can substitute as “play.”
“The ability to play is critical not only to being happy, but also to sustaining social relationships and being a creative innovative person.”
Writing about your favorite sports team, commenting on news items, or reposting interesting videos are each great ways to maintain a positive personal attitude in an often stressful environment.
2. Hone Your Writing Skills. Lawyers write briefs and motions all day, but practice (so they say) makes perfect. In addition to honing your writing skills for legal briefs, a personal blog can also help lawyers to hone their skills in writing communications for clients.
Blogs, by nature, are more informal and cater to a different audience. Practice colloquializing legalese. Clients will be grateful to (finally!) fully understand the status of their case with your newfound informal communication.
3. Brush Up On News. Although many lawyers already watch the evening news or read the morning paper, a lawyer’s professional work benefits from being up-to-date on current events. Brushing up on recent news is fodder for elevator conversation with colleagues, and, now, it can be fodder for editorial content on your personal blog.
4. Discover A Different Area Of Law. Depending on your practice, the day-to-day legal work you are conducting may or may not be your primary interest. So, when you’re tired filing patent applications, use a personal blog as an outlet to read and research an area of law that attracts you most.
As a younger attorney, sometimes BigLaw dominates your time with pages and pages of doc review. A personal blog allows you to return to those challenging student days of mock trial and competition. Not every day at work will be intellectually stimulation. But, everyday of blogging can be.
5. Networking. Ever since the “good old days,” lawyers have had to rely on networking to boost their practice by reputation and name recognition.
Kevin O’Keefe, an avid law blogger, wrote about such old-school practices on his website Real Lawyers Have Blogs, “You went out and mingled. You left the marketing clothing behind. You entered into a conversation with the people you wanted to leave an impression with. You spoke at conferences. You networked at conferences and community charitable events to build trust, build relationships and to build word of mouth.”
A blog can continue this sort of personal interaction with the community. But, according to O’Keefe, many lawyers don’t understand that a law firm blog—more than a website or ad in the yellow pages—isn’t for marketing, it’s for relationship-building.
“Now we have lawyers and law firms who never understood that blogging was networking through the net, apparently giving up on the philosophy of that relationships and reputation build business.”
So, in addition to joining LinkedIn, online professional groups, and social media networks, give personal blogging a try in order to increase your online visibility. But, remember that a blog—much like attendance at a town council or a casual conversation with a neighbor—is meant to endear trust by your clients, not ensnare them in another poorly-disguised legal advertisement.
Need more tried-and-true, old-fashioned advice for lawyers operating in these techy times? Catch one of C4CM’s audio courses, live-streaming, here: http://www.c4cm.com/lawfirm/audioconferences.htm
There may not be as much music in them as the Grammys, but they will certainly be on-key when it comes to law firm management consulting.