The California Bar has issued an opinion on the use of blogs as a vehicle to advertising their successes but anyone who writes a successful blog knows that self promotional material should be posted on a firm website or in a newsletter, not a blog.

According to a Law360 article today by Andrew Strickler, lawyers he interviewed who engage in social media called the draft opinion about blogs and lawyer advertising “welcome guidance.”

Andrew reported the nonbonding California opinion released in December interprets the professional conduct rule governing lawyer ads and solicitations and applies it to blogs ranging from the highly personal — a lawyer who writes about gardening, for example — to bald-faced promotional blogs complete with proclamations about big legal wins. The opinion finds that, for most attorney blogs, the issue of whether it falls under the advertising rule barring guarantees, fictitious names, and other misdirections comes down to if it is used to promote a lawyer’s availability for employment.

Good blogging practice should NEVER include self-promotion. Blogs are for thought leadership. They demonstrate your expertise on a topic or industry and provide content that you can push out to other social media platforms and traditional media. Self-promotional material will defeat the purpose of your blog and create clutter around what would otherwise be important reading for your audience. Blog posts will live on the Internet forever and drive traffic to you when a client – or a potential client – Googles your name or a specific subject. It’s why WSJ’s Law Blog or the LA Times’ Pop and Hiss does not promote their writers or the awards they win for their reporting.

So while this guidance is helpful for those who do not understand the difference between a real blog and a self-promotional newsletter, the most useful guidance on setting up and maintaining a well-read blog should come from marketing and PR resources who understand the medium. Otherwise, just post your Chambers ranking or Super Lawyers listing on your bio.

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As I am monitoring the news about the change in the relationship between U.S. and Cuba, I received a client alert from Venable LLP’s International Trade Group. The authors of the alert recount some of the details that have already been reported by the media, but break down what the news means for companies that want to export their goods and services to Cuba including changes in restrictions currently administered by the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) that prohibits trade to that country.

We have talked in the past about client alerts in a perfect PR world.  Not only being first out the gate with an alert but providing specific ideas of how the development will positively or negatively impact business operations. In Venable’s case, the International Trade Group is proving they are on top of one of the most significant foreign policy developments of 2014 while reminding their clients and contacts that they are accessible as resources as the policy developments continue into 2015.

Here is where your PR team comes in. The ready made content should be sent to the media right away as they continue to report on the story and reporters rush to find sources for reaction. Thanks to Venable, they do not have to look far.

 

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Blogs Create Powerful Connections to the Media

December 16, 2014

UCLA Law Professor Eugene Volokh is a great example of the power of leveraging a blog as a media resource. In contrast to the lack of lawyers or firms commenting on the Sony Pictures hack, Mr. Volokh uses his blog: The Volokh Conspiracy, which is hosted by the Washington Post, as a way to effectively [...]

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Don’t Expect PR to Bring in the Business

October 17, 2014

At a recent new business pitch I was asked the question that almost always comes up with prospective clients: How quickly will I see new business from our PR investment? PR alone is not magical it is just one of many resources an organization must invest in for new business. Too often people expect PR [...]

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Public Relations Advice for Lawprenuers

September 23, 2014

Whether you are a lawyer or legal marketing professional, public relations is an effective way stand out from the crowd. It’s no longer an option in today’s business environment, especially if your goal is to generate business.
I was recently featured on the podcast Lawprenuer Radio, a program that offers advice for attorneys who consider themselves [...]

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Legal Reporter at Ars Technica Talks Good PR

September 22, 2014

A big part of the being a resourceful PR professional is staying up-to-date on when reporters move jobs as well as what they want from us in their new positions.  Legal PR Advice asked David Kravets, a senior reporter at Ars Technica where he gets his sources and stories for the popular online news site.
Here are some [...]

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The Accidental Journalist: How Blogging Turned into a Journalism Gig

September 17, 2014

Jonathan Handel, an entertainment attorney in Los Angeles wrote about his experience as a blogger and now a journalist.  He gave me permission to post this article which originally appeared on MuckRack.
“I appreciate your fair coverage of the Writers Guild strike,” read the short email I received almost seven years ago. This was gratifying, but [...]

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Client Alerts in a Perfect World

September 5, 2014

In a perfect world, PR professionals would be alerted when a lawyer or team of attorneys starts writing a client alert. That’s because many client alert ideas are generated way before the finished product is posted to a website or sent to my inbox.
I realize that the attorneys do not often think of us when [...]

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Congrats! You Are the Best Lawyer. Now What?

August 22, 2014

 Congrats! You have been chosen as one of the best lawyers in America. The best place to post this listing is your bio, the firm’s website, the news section under press releases. You can even send it out via social media channels. But, do not send it to a newspaper expecting it will make the cover [...]

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Going Viral: Ice, Ice Baby!

August 18, 2014

Have you dumped a bucket of ice over your head yet?  If not, you may be the only person to not participate in ALS Association’s Ice Bucket Challenge. Anyone who studies the practice of PR has to give props to the ALS Association for its cool idea.  Here is how it started.
News reports indicate even ALS was [...]

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