After almost four years of blogging, I want to talk about what I have learned, the hard-won wisdom I have earned. For my 150th blog post I thought it was about time I “gave back” to the community that has so generously enabled my crazy blogging habit. So, here are my top five tips for any lawyer—or really any kind of professional—who is thinking about starting a blog.
Five Minute Law, five tips. See what I did there?
Tip number five is a variation on the Nike slogan: just don’t do it. Blogging will consume your life. Every new judicial opinion you see will become a potential blog post. You’ll start steering every conversation towards your last blog topic. You will become almost as insufferable as appellate lawyers arguing about fonts on Twitter.
And forget about more important things, like spending time with your kids on the weekend, exercising, or catching up on Tiger King. In laboratory testing, nine out of ten mice chose checking their number of blog views over food pellets, until they eventually starved to death.
So take a tip from Nancy Reagan and just say no. As Ronald Reagan famously said, once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny. Or maybe that was Yoda. I don’t know, the 80s are kind of a blur to me. Too much crack, I guess.
Anyway, my number four blogging tip is if you must have a law blog, then outsource it. There are plenty of good consultants who will write the blog posts for you. The downside is that they often demand money. But it’s a good deal, because all you do is tell them your practice area, and then they do the work. Just make sure your consultant’s firm is “Fair Blog” certified and doesn’t use child labor from New England prep schools to write the posts.
Speaking of harsh labor conditions, if you’re a partner at a law firm and don’t want to pay a consultant, just make an associate write your blog. You’ll be sure to get at least one post every three months, and associates love non-billable projects that give them free “exposure.”
My number three tip is related to number four. Don’t put too much of your own personality into your blog posts, especially if you’re looking for corporate clients. Studies show that sophisticated clients prefer lawyers who have no children or other personal problems, no sense of humor, and above all, no sense of irony. They also like guys named “Chad” who bought Peloton for their wives last Christmas. So the more generic your posts, the better.
Think of your blog post as the navy suit every law school student wore to on-campus interviews, but with better results.
Oh, and no opinions. Let’s make that tip number two: avoid expressing a view on any controversial issue. For all you know, that next potential client might think injecting people with light and disinfectant is a great idea.
I wouldn’t even give your opinion on a bland legal issue. What if you have to argue that issue in court, and opposing counsel doesn’t even do you the courtesy of reading your blog post and citing it against you? How embarrassing.
Finally, my number one tip for law bloggers: don’t start your blog until all conditions are ideal. A blog is serious business. Don’t try to start one while you’re still swamped with client work, trying to fit into those pre-pandemic suit pants again, and dealing with surly toddlers or screaming teenagers at home. You must be able to focus.
So first get caught up on all those other things, achieve “In Box Zero,” and complete the Marie Kondo plan. Only then can you devote all your attention to researching the best blog template, choosing the optimal blog name, and constructing the perfect blog distribution list.
What then? Pick up a pen, start writing.
Zach Wolfe (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a Texas trial lawyer who handles non-compete and trade secret litigation at Zach Wolfe Law Firm. He’s joking about the crack, of course. Thomson Reuters named him a Texas “Super Lawyer”® for Business Litigation in 2020 and 2021.
These are his opinions, not the opinions of his firm or clients, so don’t cite part of this post against him in an actual case. Every case is different, so don’t rely on this post as legal advice for your case.