Mark Hermann — a Jones Day Partner, the author of “The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Practicing Law” and the co-author of the Drug and Device Law blog — writes his version of “Why I Blog.” But rather than addressing the literary or journalistic merits of the form, Hermann homes in on a far more practical question (for lawyers at least): Can big-firm attorneys use blogs to bring in the bucks?
Referring to his blog, Hermann writes: “In our little niche, however, we’re pretty well known. To the extent that a blog of this type can generate business, we would have expected that to have happened during the two years we’ve been at this. . . It really has not.”
First, Hermann, I expect an explanation why you didn’t ask me to review your book. Just what kind of a curmudgeon do you think you are when you try to pass off some book without peer review? It’s not like you get to call yourself a curmudgeon for nothing. I don’t expect to have this talk with you again.
But Hermann is right, no matter what Kevin O’Keefe twits. For every lawyer who claims that he started a blog two hours ago and already has 423 new clients, there’s a lawyer who is full of it. No, seriously, for many, perhaps even most, purposes, do not expect to see any direct link between blawging and cash flow. It’s a fool’s effort.
“What’s our advice?” he asks in conclusion. “Same as it’s always been: Blog for pleasure; blog to stay abreast of your field of law; blog to influence the public debate; blog to raise both your firm’s and your personal profile in a your legal niche. . . .But, if you’re a big-firm lawyer who typically handles large litigation or corporate matters, don’t blog for profit.
The same can be said for those criminal defense lawyers who do higher end work. While it may prove helpful on some of the lower end work, such as DWI, so many of the newcomers to the blawgosphere truly believe that doing this is going to make you RICH, RICH, RICH! You’re going to be very disappointed, and this is why so many new blogs fade into oblivion within the first year, as lawyers learn that the blawgosphere is not the promised land.
Have I gotten a ton of inquiries because of this blawg? You betcha. Have these inquiries turned into clients? Nary a one. I get disorderly conducts from Des Moines, whiners from Wisconsin and free-riders from Fredonia. I can’t tell you how many people call to ask me to represent them for free because of this blawg. Woo hoo! You want a piece of that action? Let me know and I’ll send them all over.
And now back to our potential new club member, Mark Hermann. If you think I’m going to buy your book to see whether you’ve earned the right to be a member of the Curmudgeons Club, forget it. Curmudgeons don’t buy books. We just complain about books that weren’t sent to us for free. And your books sucks, even though I haven’t read it, because you didn’t send it to me. Now that’s how you can tell that I’m a real curmudgeon.
Update: Today, a copy of The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Law mysteriously appeared in my office with a note by Mark Hermann requesting admission to the Curmudgeon’s Club. Just as I was about to propose membership to Giacalone, a new post from Drug and Device Law appeared on my screen. There was Hermann, sucking up to the marketing masses, admitting “intangible” benefits (though omitting how he’s become unbearably attractive to young blog groupie women) and inviting the silly comments by those who feed financially off the misbegotten blogger extolling the “hidden” virtues for profit.
I immediatly stopped typing my missive to Giacalone and will now have to actually read the darn book before deciding on Hermann’s curmudgeonly worthiness. My gut tells me he lacks the fortutide to be a true curmudgeon, but we shall see.