Law firms use newsletters as a marketing tool. It’s distributed via mail and email. Some firms publish the articles on their websites, often as a PDF document. Others are abandoning the newsletter altogether for blogs.

Blogging promotes trust and enhances the reputation of lawyers and law firms as experts. It’s good for business development, with the  SEO juice driving traffic to the firm’s website.

It’s a no brainer for law firms to get their email newsletter content onto Blogs as soon as possible, says Kevin O’Keefe, one of the more visible and vocal advocates for law firm blogging:

It is inexpensive, blogs are easy to use, presumably law firms are producing the content so it can be seen by more people and email newsletters can still be distributed.

But firms gripe that they have no time to feed the beast or even know what to blog about. A simple solution is to convert existing practice area and industry group newsletters to blogs.

Some firms are already doing it

Some firms have already made the switch. I discovered this when pulling up Reed Smith’s site and saw that they had newsletters as well as blogs.

A scan of their 19 newsletters revealed that only 2 were current through 2011. Many were converted to blogs, like the Health Industry Washington Watch:

Reed Smith launched Washington Watch as an email newsletter in February 2003. After more than 100 email issues, we have decided to take advantage of a blog format which we hope will make our content more accessible (including search features and archives) and allow us to deliver our reports in a more efficient and timely manner.

Mission accomplished. Of the 17 blogs launched by the firm, all but one remain current through 2011.

Blogs increase traffic bringing potential clients

Reed Smith chose to host its blogs on their own unique domains with each having a set of industry related topics or categories. Reed Smith’s logo is prominently displayed on each blog driving targeted traffic to it’s site. It also provides valuable inbound links which increases the the firms website ranking for competitive keywords.

Additional benefits of blogging

Among the benefits that Kevin identifies are:

  • Brief content made it easy and enjoyable for contributing lawyers.
  • Distributed when done, rather than at monthly or quarterly intervals.
  • Reduced marketing department time with lawyers posting content directly to blog.
  • Content is indexed on search engines so content is now seen by broader audience than with newsletter.
  • Distributed by RSS and email.
  • Index by topic of archived content that’s fully searchable.

I’ll add another. It gives the firm rich, relevant content to put out on their social media platforms. Content that leads right back to them.

When starting a continuing legal education venture a few years ago, I decided to create a blog instead of a static website. All the research pointed that way, and frankly it was the least expensive option. I started blogging about all things CLE. Over the next three years, referrals aside, at least 90% of my clients came as a result of the blog.

Law firms don’t have to start from scratch. They already have the content, the writers. Choose a blogging platform and start converting those newsletters.



  1. Avatar Wade Coye says:

    We’re using our blogs to post lawyers opinions on current and interesting legal topics, such as the lawsuit against the FDA or concerns with Florida’s assisted living facilities. Then, we use the newsletter to speak to current or former clients about news with staff members or the company, or to provide tips and fun information. So far, this dual purpose strategy is working well to inform both current and potential clients, and both can be posted to social media sites. It creates human interests in various aspects and allows us to express ourselves in as many avenues as possible.

    • Avatar Tim Baran says:

      I checked out your site and blog, Wade. Beautiful design and great job! Love how you use the blog and newsletter to compliment the other. That’s quite a bit of content which I’m sure has increased traffic to your site. For firms without such a ‘culture of content’, repurposing newsletters as blogs (or visa-versa, as it was pointed out to me on Twitter) is a useful alternative.

  2. Avatar Leigh Raper says:

    Great article – when we launched our consulting practice in March the blog was an integral part of the initial marketing plan. Not only does it give us a web presence, it is also a lot of fun and a great creative outlet.

    • Avatar Tim Baran says:

      Thanks, Leigh. You’ve integrated your blog beautifully with the website. Totally agree that blogging is a terrific creative outlet. I have a separate personal blog where I can be a bit more expressive and the creative juices really flow there.

      A quick note about your blog – I wanted to subscribe to the RSS feed (I rarely subscribe via email) but couldn’t find an option to do so. Any particular reason why that’s not available?

  3. Sam Glover Sam Glover says:

    I’m not convinced that having the blog as part of the law firm website is a good idea. How many people do you know that like to hang out in a law office? Are they more likely to visit a law firm website?

    If you just want potential clients to visit the blog, fine, a law firm blog probably pulls in more search traffic. If you are trying to create something that builds long-lasting traffic and attention for your website—including from potential clients and referral sources—give your blog its own identity instead of just adding it to your firm website.

  4. Avatar Tim Baran says:

    Good point, Sam. I think the type of practice or specialty could be a factor — like Health Care vs. Hedge Funds or Elder Law vs. Environmental Law. For some, a blog with a more personal touch attached to the firm’s website could promote familiarity (people hire people they know) and enable a community of evangelizers. How about two blogs? :-)

  5. Avatar Kevin OKeefe says:

    I’m a little humbled to be cited like this at length Tim. Glad you you found what I had to offer helpful and thought enough of it to share with readers of the Lawyerist.

    I’m with Sam on not having the blog in the website. Don’t look at a blog as merely content. Look at the word ‘blog’ as a verb.

    When a lawyer blogs, they engage their target audience by ‘listening’ to questions and concerns of clients, prospective clients and referral resources and responding to those questions and concerns in an empathetic and conversational way. You don’t do that when your goal is website traffic/exposure.

    More importantly is listening to what the influencers and amplifiers are writing. They too are in the blogger’s the target audience. They’re engaged by referencing what they are saying and offering insight and commentary. Do that and you’ll have the influencers and amplifiers sharing and citing what you are blogging — if you are blogging off your site. Sharing and citing is going to happen little, if ever, when a blog is on a website.

    • Avatar Tim Baran says:

      Couldn’t agree with you more about listening to and connecting with amplifiers, Kevin — particularly growing those relationships organically. I see too many folks honing in on the influencers without putting the time and effort to engage and build.

      And you’re so right about blog comments and conversations engendering community – there’s been some writeups recently about blog comments not resulting in increased traffic. But it builds community!

      Oh, and you provide lots of great info to cite :-) I’ve really appreciated your consistent evangelizing (and advice) about blogging in the legal profession.

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