Benefits to blogging? I’ve seen a few … and so have successful attorneys.

Being a cheerleader for blogging has been an avocation of mine since—well, since I started my own back in 2009. There are multiple reasons to blog, and not everyone has the same goals. For me, blogging lets me develop story ideas and leads, and it allows me to cover news and events in quicker fashion than our hard-copy magazine ever could.

It also has been of incredible assistance in making connections with other people, professionals who want to share news or lawyers who are happy I’m telling their stories.

That’s why I’m happy to share news of a free blogging webinar occurring this Thursday, August 25—register here. Here’s hoping some attorneys take the plunge and discover how differentiation through blogging and other means is one of the best strategic paths to practice success—and satisfaction.

Cordell Parvin blogging webinar

Cordell Parvin

Taught by lawyer and career expert Cordell Parvin (and hosted by practice management software company MyCase), the webinar will be held at 11 a.m. PT/2 p.m. ET this Thursday. Here is the description:

Many lawyers who blog become “go-to” authorities in their practice areas. This leads to benefits including; new clients, speaking engagements, and job offers. So, how do you create a blog that you enjoy writing and that others find interesting? Cordell Parvin, attorney and former Practice Group Leader, will show you how to create a legal blog and start building your online audience in this blogging webinar. Here’s some of what will be covered:

  • The benefits of blogging
  • The art of writing a good post
  • Where to find topics
  • Creating a blog strategy
  • Essential ingredients to attract clients
  • Much More!

If you can’t attend the live session, you can receive the webinar recording by registering.

Thank you to the always-on-it folks at Above the Law for sharing the news of this free webinar, and to MyCase for hosting on such an important topic.

Protect Your Writings by Maria Crimi SpethDo you or someone you know have a book idea kicking around—or perhaps even an unpublished manuscript in your desk drawer?

No surprise to you, I’m sure, but there are laws that affect your book, article, and other creative output. This coming Saturday, April 30, attorney Maria Crimi Speth offers a presentation on what you need to know.

She will be one of five speakers to offer advice to authors. The topics also include marketing, personal and family stories, editing tips, and self-publishing.

Speth is an intellectual property attorney at Jaburg Wilk and the author of Protect Your Writings: A Legal Guide for Authors. At the event, “Attendees will learn about the laws relating to writing books, articles, blogs and how to avoid making common, costly legal mistakes.”

Host: Scottsdale Society of Women Writers

When: Saturday, April 30, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Where: Scottsdale Civic Center Library

Details and registration are here.

Maria Crimi Speth attorney Jaburg Wilk

Maria Crimi Speth

And here is more detail about Maria:

“Speth practices in the areas of intellectual property, internet law, and commercial litigation, representing clients throughout the United States. She focuses her practice on assisting businesses in protecting their trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, information technology, and other intellectual property through preventative measures to avoid disputes and through litigation when disputes arise. She has been practicing law for 28 years and has handled cases in state and federal courts around the country. Maria is the author of Protect Your Writings: A Legal Guide for Authors and Apple v. Samsung, The Balance Between Patent Rights and the Free Market.  She has numerous published articles and dozens of published court cases.”

social media heart love

… but maybe it’s just me.

How do lawyers and social media go together? You’d think pretty well, but the mashup recipe is more complicated than that.

A recent survey explored lawyers’ views of that media so social, and there may be a few surprising findings. You can read the story related to the survey here.

(And what’s up with the lack of questions about blogging, which is probably the primary digital game-changer? In its defense, this survey appears to focus on social-media channels or tools, rather than content-generators like blogs. Maybe the next survey …?)

Here is one of the findings:

“Strategy. There’s a 12 percent gap between the two age groups when it comes to using social media as part of their marketing strategy—69 percent of over-30 lawyers say it’s in their strategy, compared to 57 percent of younger lawyers.”

Besides that, we see attorneys are also comfortable with Linkedin, which on the social media spectrum is a warm blanket and fuzzy slippers. (Not to be judgy or anything.)

Findings from a 2016 social media survey of lawyers (via Attorney at Work).

Findings from a 2016 social media survey of lawyers (via Attorney at Work).

And all of that definitely resonates with my own experience.

I have presented before to attorneys and law students on the topic of social media. I went in assuming young folks would yawn, knowing all this stuff. And I thought older attorneys would scoff or otherwise cast aspersions on the topic.

What I discovered, though—especially in relation to blogging—was quite the opposite.

Many of the younger people I spoke with spurned blogging, while the older folks had detailed questions to enhance their blogs’ reach.

I previously wrote about one such interaction here, and that has led me to adjust my thinking on the challenges faced by a younger generation of lawyers.

What I mean is, they have been bludgeoned for years with news stories making them fear that a single digital misstep can damn them for eternity to unemployment. As we know from other research, people who have slogged their way through economic downturns are understandably cautious about upsetting their financial apple-cart. And so we hear from large numbers of young legal professionals declining to blog or do much else online that is perceived as public.

Long term, I believe that’s an unfortunate result. For as we know, career strategy is just another term for differentiation—and blogging done well can differentiate you.

Do you hope to be a thought leader? Get out of your foxhole.

What do you find interesting in the survey results? Write to me at

Findings from a 2016 social media survey of lawyers (via Attorney at Work).

Findings from a 2016 social media survey of lawyers (via Attorney at Work).

Civil discovery rule changes described by @swlaw attorney

“No (More) Fishing” may be one way to describe changes to federal discovery rules.

­­As you likely know, important changes were recently made to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, including changes in the discovery realm, captured in Rule 26.

In late January, Snell & Wilmer partner Mitch Klein wrote about the amendments, particularly in regard to environmental and natural resource litigation.

He is some of what he said in his well-written blog post:

“Previously, parties were entitled to conduct discovery regarding anything that might be ‘reasonably calculated’ to lead to relevant and admissible evidence. In practice, this led to some parties deposing witnesses and subpoenaing documents with only a tenuous relationship to the real issues of the case. This kind of behavior caused significant costs and delays in litigation.”

Snell & Wilmer partner Mitch Klein

Snell & Wilmer partner Mitch Klein

“In environmental and national resource litigation, abusive discovery conduct typically results from parties without any real evidence looking for some (fishing expeditions), deep-pocketed parties trying to overwhelm their adversaries under a pile of documents and/or multiple and lengthy depositions, or parties who have no real idea what they were doing and are trying to figure it out along the way.”

“The new rule now requires an analysis of ‘proportionality.’ Rather than seeking everything but the kitchen sink, a party conducting discovery has an obligation to show why the discovery is reasonable under the facts and circumstances of the case.”

You should read the whole thing here.

Of course, I’ve been around long enough to know there’s more than one way to look at rule changes. And when I see phrases like “abusive discovery,” “fishing expeditions,” and “everything but the kitchen sink,” I would guess at least a few lawyers would want to characterize things differently.

So today I wonder:

  1. Should we cover this topic in Arizona Attorney Magazine? and
  2. How would you describe the discovery rule changes? As Mitch did, or otherwise?

Write to me at

Pile of documents stack up high waiting to be managed

Needles and haystacks are often a metaphor for civil discovery.

pass the torch succession planning for lawyers

“Effective January 1, 2016, Arizona lawyers must have a succession plan. Yes, that’s must.”

And so opens a helpful blog post written by Arizona ethics expert Patricia Sallen. Yes, you should read the rest, here. And then set up your own succession plan. And don’t forget to follow her blog for valuable tips and updates.

Meanwhile, bookmark and read another article by Pat on recent law-practice rule changes, which we published in the January issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine.

pass the torch lawyer succession planning wrestling pdO0XZE

Succession planning for lawyers requires careful thought, and it’s all in the hand-off.

Pardon me if legal communications and marketing are both on my mind. But last week was a great panel of corporate counsel courtesy of the Legal Marketing Association. And that was followed by the Publicity Summit, an annual event hosted by the Society of Professional Journalists where marketers (even from law firms) can meet one-on-one with reporters in various beats.

In both situations, it often boiled down to devising a way to tell your story in compelling and concise ways.

That used to have different names, but the newest version of it is called “content marketing,” in which companies offer their mission, strategies, and abilities in a narrative form—an article or a story.

Despite the broader adoption of such a communications strategy, I was surprised when I read an article by Julia Schur that claims law firms are “the surprising new adopter of content marketing.”

She writes,

“Law firms have money—lots of it. And as [one] experiment suggests, an increasing number of them are investing that money into content marketing instead of traditional advertising.”

I’ll concede that the experiment came from a communications firm, which may have an incentive to explain such trends in a particular way. But that doesn’t mean John Corey, president and co-founder of Greentarget, is wrong.

I too have noticed an increasing number of firms including blogs on their websites. Well done, these blogs accomplish a few goals:

  • They distinguish the attorney from others in the market on specific practice areas.
  • They illustrate a timely proclivity to keep up with the news and trends.
  • They personalize an attorney who might otherwise simply be represented by a drab bio; and
  • They provide powerful SEO ammunition, as the pages are updated on a regular basis.

law firm content strategy

Have you or others in your firm begun to blog, on Linkedin or elsewhere? Or are you finding other ways to reveal your strong abilities that distinguish you in the marketplace?

Write to me at


This post is not aimed at lawyers whose practice is sailing along exactly as they would hope it would. Who have ample work, quality work, with clients who pay on time or early, and who never, ever argue about a bill. Who find creative pursuits within and among their legal work. Who have found particularly effective ways to differentiate themselves in a field of talented competitors. Whose hair is always just so.

Those folks will benefit not a whit from a recent blog post (not mine) that touting blogging as one of the top three Internet marketing activities.

And why (once again) does blogging matter? Because the definition of business strategy can be summed up in that one word that starts with “D”—differentiation. And blogging may be uniquely suited to convey an attorney’s talents, approach, and world view.

Um, yes, your world view matters to potential clients. Not your take on politics (better left to yourself). But the way you align yourself amidst challenging and thorny legal issues. The way you think through things, convey your position, and remain focused on the client at all times (the most important thing, of course).

Websites can do some of that lifting, but that’s where clients typically find the milquetoast puffery that reminds the world you are “full-service” (whatever that is), or that you were in an Order that had to do with the Coif (I go to Supercuts myself). That kind of stuff? It’s the opposite of differentiation.

So read this helpful post that describes blogging and two other online activities you should consider.

And if you’re still on the cyberspace fence, read this piece to hear how referral networks—via blogging—may be helpful to you.