One of the most common complaints about lawyers is that they are difficult to contact, and that they rarely communicate with their clients. The second most common complaint about lawyers is that no one understands what the heck they’re saying. No one reads software agreements (or any other type of fine print) because they’re full of confusing and complex language that is difficult to understand without legal training. Legal writing tends to be very boring and lengthy.
Conversely, a common attorney water-cooler complaint about the client is that Ms. Smith wants an update on her case every day, even though cases move slowly through the system, and a daily update is unnecessary and time consuming (just imagine if you had to spend an hour on the phone with every client every day!).
We’re not saying blogs for lawyers can solve these problems, but they can certainly help. Regular blog posts under your name serve as a line of communication to all clients and potential clients, making them feel in touch with the office. Good, clearly written blog posts can help educate clients on various aspects of the law, so they feel more in control and less overwhelmed.
Legal blogs don’t have to be written by you, which is helpful, so that they don’t take up more of your time. In fact, you might be better off having a non-lawyer write your blogs — your secretary, for example — because that person knows what your office does, and will be able to state it in plain English.
What Types Of Posts Should I Write?
Three popular types of blog articles that BlogMutt writers tackle frequently are newsworthy pieces, tips and tricks, and short articles on areas of the law.
Newsworthy items can demonstrate that you’re in touch with current events and law, and can help readers better understand the news. As you probably know, reporters don’t always have a solid understanding of the law, leading to articles on legal subjects that may be unclear to readers.
“Tips and Tricks” is another common type of blog. It can be as simple as “Five Things You Should Never Do In A Courtroom,” or “Ten Reasons You Should Write A Will.” These can be simple lists that share an insider’s knowledge and perspective on the legal system. People are likely to read these posts because the information they contain is useful, and if they are good enough, they may even be bookmarked for the reader to return to later.
The third type of post is explanatory and informative. If a potential client runs a Google search for “negligence + New York,” because he has been injured in New York and is wondering if he has a case, and you happen to be a New York lawyer, wouldn’t it be great if he ran across your blog where you explain the concept of negligence for a layperson? If he finds the information he was seeking, you’ve already started to develop his trust.
But Won’t Offering Tips And Tricks Cut Down On My Business?
There are a couple of reasons offering tips on your blogs won’t decrease people coming into your office. First, just because you’ve written a blog titled “Five Mistakes People Make When Drafting A Will,” doesn’t mean your readers will have the foundational knowledge to write their own.
Additionally, legal processes are intimidating for many people. Public speaking terrifies the average person. Combine that with the likely unfamiliar setting of a courtroom and most people will feel more comfortable with an advocate to speak for them. The law is scary and confusing if you don’t have three years of law school (not to mention work experience) under your belt.
Will My Blog Create An Attorney-Client Relationship With My Readers?
Of course, every state and locality is different, so consult the applicable rules of professional conduct. Generally, however, a blog does not create the impression of a relationship with a particular person. However, you may want to be careful when responding to comments. Direct those comments with questions to call you for an appointment and nothing more. To be especially safe, you can post a clear disclaimer on posts that they do not create an attorney-client relationship with readers.
Editor’s Note: This blog is an example of the kind of writing you can get for your blog. The only thing that’s different is that it has the name of the writer. For your blog, you can say you wrote it. That’s fine with us. We’re happy mutts. Click here for more explanation of this series of posts.