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Are you willing to pay the price to have a great law blog?

Most lawyers aren’t.

They want the accolades, the new clients, TV interviews and Wall Street Journal mentions- but they aren’t willing to put in the work.  Let me be clear, creating a substantial law blog that will make a difference in your practice will take a lot of work.  Just like when I bought my first home, it was a foreclosed property that needed a lot of TLC.  People told me, “it is going to take twice as much time and money as you think to get the house fixed up.”  They were right.

To achieve anything meaningful in life you must sacrifice, and blogging is no different.  This post will focus on four attorneys who have had dramatic success with their law blog, and how much time and effort was really required to make their blogs pay off.

Case Study #1: Connecticut Employment Law Blog

First, let’s start with Daniel Schwartz, Connecticut Employment lawyer and author of the Connecticut Employment Law Blog.  When I asked him if all the time and energy spent on his blog was worth it, here was his reply:

Yes. It has led to dozens of interviews, new relationships, recognition from my peers (and adversaries) and yes, clients. My profile in Connecticut is as high as its ever been and that has led to new opportunities that I didn’t even think existed.  I can’t imagine my practice without it.  In short, it has made me a better lawyer.

Most attorneys would love that result, but are they willing to do the work?  Daniel reported that he spends 2-3 hours per week plus time spent reading other blogs and interacting on Twitter.   He has kept this up constantly for almost 3 years, but he was pleased to report to me that he is approaching 1,000,000 page views on his law blog.

Case Study #2: Chicago IP Litigation Blog

Second, check out Holland & Knight Partner and law blogger David Donoghue.  Donoghue followers IP litigation as it goes through the Northern District of Illinois in his Chicago IP Litigation Blog.  He has been blogging for 4 years, and when I asked him how much time he spends he replied:

It varies depending on what else I have going on and whether there are things that I need to blog about quickly.  I usually write posts one to three weeks ahead to avoid missing posts because of a hectic litigation schedule.  On an average week, I try to spend no more than 3-10 hours blogging.

Notice that David has a high of 10 hours per week spent blogging, in my experience having weeks with that much blogging aren’t unusual.

David’s blog has won an award for the best law blog in Chicago, has been named to the ABA’s top 100 law blogs and he has landed substantial litigation business as a result of his efforts.  The first two year’s were slow though, it took a long time for him to bring in his first client through the blog.

Case Study #3: Quirky Employment Questions Blog

Third, look at Dorsey & Whitney Partner Roy Ginsburg and his blog Quirky Employment Questions.  Roy’s format is a little bit different.  He asks an employment question each week, and his readers try to answer the questions correctly.  It is a great model because it encourages participation- part of why it has been so successful.   It is currently bringing in 10,000 unique visitors each month and even helped Roy bring in a 6 figure client. Roy has been blogging for about 3 years and he spends on average 5 hours each week blogging.

The point is, blogging is hard work.  It takes a lot of time and it requires a large number of posts to really take off.  In a recent blog post I highlighted the recent Hubspot study that showed it takes 52 posts for a blog to really start bringing in business.  If you blog once a month, do the math, it will take 4 years to get there.  The successful law bloggers all have in common a weekly commitment to blogging and a track record of continuity.  These are key elements for a successful blog.

Case Study #4: China Law Blog

Finally, look at Dan Harris who had the bright idea of creating the China Law Blog.  Here was his response when I asked him if it has been worth the time:

Absolutely yes.  We have received countless clients directly from the blog.  We have received countless major media interviews directly from the blog.  The blog has allowed us to establish relationships with countless key people in China business and law. We receive countless updates from our readers which put us right on the pulse of what is going on in China, which in turn allows us to better serve our clients. The blog has given us massive standing and publicity.

Dan spends about 5 hours each week blogging, not including the time he spends doing legal research that he would most likely do anyway.

Anybody can have a successful law blog, the only barriers to entry are personal ones.  Are you willing to be dedicated?  Are you willing to sacrifice the time needed?  Are you willing to pay the price to have a great blog?  If the answer is yes, you better get started.