Yo, Adam Smith, Esq! Kevin at LexBlog! You other legal marketing and management pros! (Click through those links, guys -- it'll get their attention.)
We have a question for you.
Why do big law firms undervalue blogs?
There's a weird network of lawyers at big firms who have never met each other, but feel a certain kinship because they blog under similar circumstances. And we've been contacted recently by others at large firms whose institutions either do not help, or affirmatively obstruct, their blogging efforts. We haven't encountered many problems at our firms (although the smart money says that the firms' ignorance is our bliss).
One thing, however, has crossed our mind: The two of us, toiling alone, with no financial help from our firms, have (to our complete surprise) almost accidentally created the most widely read product liability blog on the internet, now receiving more than 25,000 pageviews per month. In that situation, wouldn't you expect at least a few of your colleagues to wander down the hall and ask two questions: (1) How did you do it? and (2) How can we replicate it?
Our firms surely benefit indirectly from the attention that this site receives. Wouldn't our firms also benefit if they were affiliated with (or even sponsored) the most widely read securities law blog on the internet? Intellectual property blog? Tax law blog?
Why aren't our colleagues beating a path to our door to try to replicate our little experiment?
We propose four possible answers:
First, we're breathing our own fumes. "Most widely read product liability blog on the internet" is like "world's tallest midget." 25,000 pageviews is a drop in the bucket, and there's essentially no institutional benefit to blogging. If the two of us -- Beck and Herrmann, the blogging morons -- want to waste our Saturday mornings feeding this beast, we should go ahead and entertain ourselves. But no one should think this has any institutional value.
Second, influential lawyers are too old. They're basically folks over 50 who start their days sipping a cup of coffee and reading the Journal. Only people under 40 start their days sipping a cup of coffee and checking Above the Law, the Law Blog, Overlawyered, and other blogs. People who have never visited a blog can't believe that anyone else does, either. The power of the blogosphere is simply beyond their comprehension.
Third, blogs attract the wrong demographic. The target market for big firms such as ours is the general counsel and C-level management of Fortune 500 companies. With all due respect to our visitors -- and we love you guys; really! -- you folks are younger and less important. Although a blog can be widely read, it's widely read by the wrong eyeballs and so not worth the effort.
Or, fourth, blogging is too much work for too little financial reward. It takes many hours of effort each week for the two of us to provide regular, fresh content to this site, and the amount of business generated doesn't justify the effort. If the two of us get some personal satisfaction from blogging, no one will interfere, but firms do cost-benefit analyses of marketing initiatives, and this one flunks the test. (If that's the answer, it's cool with us. We surely aren't doing this for the financial rewards.) (Come to think of it, why the heck are we doing this?) (Wait! An awful lot of drug and device companies visit this space regularly. If those folks would like to help us provide a financial justification for the existence of the Drug and Device Law Blog, our phone numbers are easy to find.)
We're curious to hear the reactions of others to our question. So we'll see if Adam Smith, Esq., or the others choose to answer our call, and we'll be interested in reading your comments to this post.
(When we write heresies such as these on-line, we have to be careful about including our firms' names in the post. If we type in our firms' names, many of our colleagues will receive "Google Alerts" telling them the firms have been mentioned on-line. On the other hand, Google doesn't pick up misspelled names. So, if anyone from Dxchert or Jxnes Day comes to this site, Beck and Herrmann each deny that they wrote this post. It's the other guy's fault. Or a hacker. Or something.)