Law students and junior lawyers often worry that they lack sufficient legal expertise to blog. This is driven in part by the emergence of many blogs that feature articles, not blog posts. But blogging opportunities include much more than applying extensive legal expertise.
Kevin O’Keefe, LexBlog founder and CEO, encourages law students and lawyers to share content, provide a take, and talk about the things that they’re doing. You can do these things without holding yourself out as an expert. One of the benefits, in addition to connecting with others, is that doing it well demonstrates interest in a niche and that you are doing the work to develop expertise.
Another impediment is the fear of publishing something that is less than perfect. Legal culture places a high value on thorough research and proofreading. Given the possible consequences for errors in contracts and legal briefs, this is understandable. Legal bloggers should also strive to publish posts that are appropriately researched, well written, and free from grammatical and spelling errors.
While legal bloggers should strive to meet this standard–especially law students and lawyers working to build their brand–you cannot let it stop you from blogging. When I review job applicants’ materials, I expect an error-free cover letter and resume. If you’ve provided these and have also taken the initiative to write blog posts that demonstrate your passion for a topic and ability to connect with people, my positive opinion of you is not going to change over a minor typo. Make no mistake, I’m not excusing sloppiness–I’m simply counseling balance and the proper assessment of risk versus reward so that more law students and junior lawyers blog and appropriately use social media.
This is the basic advice I’ve given to law students over the last several years. But as 2016 comes to a close, I realize that I haven’t followed my own advice. Kevin and LexBlog helped me launch my blog this year. I’m happy with the blog posts I’ve written, except the quantity.
Going forward, I plan to write more short posts to share content, highlight what we’re doing at LegalRnD, talk about what our students are doing, and talk about what the legal industry can do to improve legal-service delivery and access to legal services for everyone. My goal is to give myself 90 minutes from time to time to write a short post and publish it. I encourage others to implement a plan giving themselves permission to blog.
Happy New Year!