Should lawyers find time to blog?
And so to the Passle UK Law Firm Rankings, a piece of research that deplores the frequency of blogging in the legal profession. (Passle is an organisation that, um, provides content marketing for professional services firms. It also has a logo that looks like an Octopus that got high and lost half of its legs.)
According to Passle:
Across the Top 200 law firms, the average lawyer writes just 0.51 knowledge pieces per year. That means 1 piece of knowledge from brain to paper every two years – in no way does that represent the knowledge that these extremely highly educated and intelligent people have to offer.
Which would be the case if that’s what all these lawyers were doing, of course. As Passle knows full well, one of the challenges here is workload. (According to one survey this year, 20% of lawyers average between 56 and 65 bleary-eyed working hours every week.)
And what with other pressures on lawyers’ time – other forms of business development not being the least of them – it’s hardly surprising that when they eventually curl up in bed with their laptop, they’re more likely to play Candy Crush or binge on Breaking Bad than knock out an article on the impact the US mid-terms is likely to have on real estate deals in the Cairngorms.
That’s not to say that knowledge sharing and general online show-offery isn’t good for business. Apparently, it’s critical. As Kevin O’Keefe noted in this article on Mashable back in 2012, referring to a Greentarget survey:
In-house attorneys exhibit widespread trust (84%) in blogs… They read attorney-authored or firm-branded blogs more often than they read blogs written by actual journalists… More than half of respondents said they think a prominent blog will influence clients to hire one firm over another.
Allegedly, one in four US firms report winning business through blogs. (Or ‘blawgs’, as many legal wags insist on having it.)
The problem is probably largely to do with the effective division of labour in firms when it comes to business development. There are plenty of BD activities in the lawyer’s armoury: personal networks, attending conferences, speaking, writing knowledge pieces on and off-line, media liaison, sandwich boards and so on.
Where firms don’t necessarily shine is matching personal talents to specific business development activities: maybe if the shy girl from the corner could be excused painful exposure to prospects at that BD cocktail party, but targeted with creating blogs instead, the firm might ultimately be a happier and richer place. AB