The number of legal blogs is growing exponentially. Whilst some are anonymous and or by fictional lawyers, by far the majority are by identifiable individuals. In my case, out of deference to my colleagues in chambers this blog does not identify them or link to them, but clearly attitudes about the association between the private and the professional vary significantly: Particularly with solicitors there is a willingness to identify the organisation the individual works for or runs and these kind of blogs are clearly at least in part a marketing tool. This seems to be less so with the bar, where even if names are used there are rarely direct links to the relevant set of chambers (although its usually pretty easy to work out where someone is practising from). I wonder what the reason is for this trend to partial or complete anonymity, since most of us are not posting information about specific cases that would be identifiable. Is this because the bar has yet to fully embrace the potential of the blog?
Notable exceptions to my little hypothesis are 4 Brick Court (which links to Jacqui G’s blog from the home page and contains a list of others including this blog on the links page) and Clarendon’s blog which is clearly part of a thought out marketing strategy by that set. Also Tim Kevan’s blog refers explicitly to his chambers. From my own experience I sense a certain anxiety about the blogosphere – perhaps because its to boundless and difficult to control, and lawyers like to keep a tight control on their professional persona whether it be by the device of the anonymising wig or otherwise. And I think in many respects the bar has been a little behind the solicitors in terms of marketing in general and particularly new technology, although that is rapidly changing.
I suppose for my part I’m blogging out of an interest in my subject, for a little light relief, to help inform others about family law and in some ways as a device to make myself keep up to the minute and aware of what is going on in the legal world. For me its clearly not going to function as much of a marketing tool because there is no association with my place of work, but its certainly something that I am increasingly aware that both lay and professional clients might see and that it might impact on their view of me.
I’d really be interested to hear what other bloggers think about the motivation for the new legal blogs and in particular their effectiveness for directing in new business. My view is that the blogs which are blatantly and solely a marketing tool tend to be less interesting, less candid and show less committment to regular posting. But who knows, they may be a fantastic marketing device?