Reflections On Ten Years Of Personal Injury Blogging
Why Did I Start A Personal Injury Legal Blog?
Ten years seems like a long time. At my old firm, we were debating our forward path. At least, I was debating it. My former partners did not want to consider the future. I wanted all of us to take active roles in our local and legal communities. I wanted to build a law firm based upon teaching, writing and advocating in our practice area. They were happy with the standard yellow page advertisement. As of 2019, they still advertise in the yellow pages!
I began talking with the people at LexBlog about starting an Alabama personal injury law blog. An outlet for discussing legal issues seemed like a great idea. These discussions led to my first legal blog, Alabama Litigation Review. In the beginning, I wrote sporadically. I waited for inspiration. The wait for inspiration can be a long one! I wrote only when both time and inspiration presented themselves together. I learned that is a big mistake. As Malcolm Gladwell said:
I write a little bit, almost every day, and if it results in two or three or (on a good day) four good paragraphs, I consider myself a lucky man. Never try to be the hare. All hail the tortoise.
Writing must become a daily or weekly habit. For me, it has developed into one. I maintained my original blog (Alabama Litigation Review) for many years. When I started my own law firm in 2016, I created this blog. My plan was eventually to merge my first blog into this one. I have now done so and hope to continue writing for many years to come.
What Are The Biggest Rewards Of Legal Blogging?
Some people may disagree about the merits of writing a legal blog. One of my former law partners scoffed at the idea. He objected that it took too much time and effort. I disagreed with him then and still disagree with him today. The long-term effort has been very beneficial both personally and professionally. I am convinced that writing my blog has made me a better lawyer, a better writer and a better communicator.
A real blog needs research. Because of my blog, I have developed a better habit of constantly reading cases and studies in my practice area. I read the decisions by The Alabama Supreme Court as they are released. I read the bills being debated by our legislature. And, I read articles and studies related to safer workplaces, safer roadways and safer products. These are my topics and my blog gives me an even greater reason to stay completely current on events.
A real blog requires writing. Lots of it! By writing, I mean words and language that speak to normal readers. Nobody wants to read articles full of legalese and archaic legal concepts. Yet, that’s how most lawyers write. Nobody wants to read long-winded articles. That’s a real problem for lawyers. Over time, my writing has evolved from wooden formality (common to lawyers) to improved storytelling. Of course, some articles are better than others.
A real blog seeks dialogue. Take a close look at the many websites calling themselves law blogs. They are fake blogs. Almost all of them do NOT allow comments. The publishers do not want a real discussion. I do. That’s why many of my articles start with existing research or existing conversations from other sources. I want to expand upon these discussions or view them from a different angle. And, I welcome constructive comments.
What Are The Biggest Disappointments Of Legal Blogging?
I read other lawyer blogs and articles. It’s great research. When I see a good legal blog, I enjoy the research and thought. Yet, so many websites titled “blog” are really not. Most legal “blogs” are merely advertisements containing very little thought. You know the type — stuffed with a few keywords to game search engines, a phone number and language that says “call me” if you are injured. How often do you click on a website to research an issue only to receive a sales solicitation with no real information? I find that extremely disappointing.
So many legal “blogs” are merely advertisements. So many legal “blogs” are also ghostwritten by someone other than the lawyer whose name is listed as author. In the legal field, entire marketing companies advertise that they will write blogs and content for you. Come on! I have a serious problem with fake authors. It shocks me that anyone would find ghostwritten articles acceptable. A blog should be the genuine thoughts of the lawyer who publishes it. Did the lawyer allow someone else to write his or her school papers as well? How can you trust any professional who allows someone else to write and publish articles in their name? Real blogs should be genuine and authentic.
The most shocking disappointment to me has been the number of times I’ve discovered another law firm has taken and used one of my articles as its own. Stolen content! I’ve actually read my own writing, copied and pasted word-for-word on other law firm websites. I’m speechless.
What Is The Path Forward?
If you are looking for answers to a legal issue, send me your question. It might make a good article for discussion. I’m happy to discuss issues within my practice area. I hope to continue this blog for many more years. If you are considering writing your own blog, you do not need to be a literary genius. But, you should be genuine and authentic with your own thoughts and content. Your blog should be your voice. My blog has been a great tool for building interesting legal discussions in areas of the law I find fascinating.
At the Blackwell Law Firm, we help people with serious personal injury cases across Alabama. We believe hard work and preparation are the keys to helping our clients.