[ Thursday, May 22, 2003 ]


I know, I know, I've been pretty remiss in keeping this thing up over the past few weeks. But now I've got some reason to push up some activity. I promise that I'll pick up the HIPAA stuff. Maybe over the holiday weekend. If Dr. Fulmer doesn't keep me too tied up.

Anyway, the reason for pushing up the activity. Jackson Walker just redid their (oops, our) website. Go check it out. I'm not on the website committee, but I'm pushing them to give me space for my blog/blawg there. But I've got to convince the powers that be (and Steve McHargue, of course) that it's a worthwhile endeavor. So, what is it about blawgs (that's law-related blogs, but you probably already knew that) that makes them worthwhile?

I had this conversation with another blawger who runs the statutory construction website. The hard part of weblogging is keeping up and keeping current. There's so much that you could potentially cover (in the industry you select, in the area of law, in litigation, case reports, geographic areas, etc.) that it could easily take over your life and (unfortunately) you job. But if your focus is pretty narrow, and if you keep it short, sweet and simple, and if you don't try to add stuff when there's really nothing to add, you might be able to keep good, current, complete, and usable. It is a whole lot easier if you keep your focus really narrow. Really narrow.

All big law firms have websites. You gotta have one. But how do law firm web sites stack up to blawgs? It's hard to compare them, because they're really apples and oranges. Clients and potential clients will check out a firm's website to vett it. They want to make sure the firm is what they say they are, that they've got substance. Clients and potential clients may want to see what the firm has to say about recent or current developments, and to make sure the firm is up to speed on the latest development. They may even look to see what the latest developments in an area of the law are, since they trust the law firm to give them a good read. But if a client or potential client just wants to know what the impact of a recent law is, or wants an analysis of recent legislation or a recent case, do they check out law firm websites?

Blawgs are a different animal than law firm websites. They work differently. Potential clients won't go check you out by looking at your blawg. They come to look if they're looking for a particular issue, or information on the issue. They don't vett you by looking at your blawg; they'll look at your blawg if they're already your client and want to make sure they're up to speed on the particular issue you cover.

If you're looking for web hits, you're probably going to see more folks going to law firm web sites. The purpose and style of the search would lead you that way. But if you're looking for links, you're much more likely going to see folks linking to blawgs. Why? Mainly, because blawgs say more. Law firm websites are full of hemming and hawing, but blawgs go straight to the jugular. Blawgers don't monkey around with background. They don't give you lots of set-up (you want set-up and history, check out the archives; the latest post assumes you're already up to speed and don't need to be taught construction law 101).

LLRX just did an article comparing law firm websites with blawgs. I'd suggest Steve McHargue check it out. They specifically note Ernie the Attorney's website. Ernie notes that he's just installed a couple of new modules on his firm's website using blog format (see, Steve?). The Blogfather also picked it up.

If a law firm is going to have a website, they've got to keep it current. If they're committed to keeping it current, they could do it blog-style, where the main issue is keeping it current. Of course, the best of both worlds is to have the standard website, but have blogs attached like jewelry or accessories. Of course, that would keep me from having to worry about Blogger going down, or my site meter failing to count.

Jeff [11:52 PM]

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