How Blogging Can Help International Lawyers (Established or Aspiring)

There’s something about blogging that reminds me of my days freelancing for the Asian Wall Street Journal…  I used to wake up at all hours, filled with enthusiasm for writing about something of particular interest (usually with an international focus), type it up, email it through cyberspace to my editor in Hong Kong, and look forward to reading it online days later. There was a deep satisfaction in knowing that my research and commentary would reach, educate and help people across the globe.

But blogging is better:  there’s instant gratification.  Any time of the day or night, you can think of something interesting or helpful to share, and pass it on to the rest of the world– in real time.

The advantages of having a blog are many, including the obvious: a blog is a cost effective vehicle for showcasing a lawyer’s expertise and establishing him/her as an expert, without investing in expensive and easily outdated marketing materials. 

Of course, any lawyer blogger will need to grapple with questions like whether the blog should be published under the law firm’s name (assuming the lawyer works with one) or whether it’s published in his/her individual capacity–and who gets to take credit for any resulting clients.  A lawyer blogger will need to confirm whether the local state bar rules will treat a blog as advertising and require prior approval of content.  And, depending on the blog, a lawyer blogger may want to disclaim that the content isn’t legal advice and isn’t creating an attorney-client relationship with its readers.

International practitioners with clients and potential clients all around the world can especially appreciate a blog’s global penetration across time zones and cultures.  For established international lawyers, it’s a perfect vehicle for maintaining contact with geographically distant clients.  And, for both aspiring and established international attorneys, it’s a great way to publicize expertise, bolstering the international lawyer’s credibility in a new or established practice area or particular geographic region.

Consider the China Law Blog  which successfully showcases the bloggers’ expertise in Chinese business law and doing business in China generally. International lawyers Dan Harris and Steve Dickenson both write frequent posts–some short, some long–sharing all sorts of helpful information on doing business in China.  For example, the authors wrote Taking on Patent Infringement in China following a previous post titled Taking on China Patent Infringement at Home.  These posts indicate their firm’s ability to help with patent infringement cases in both jurisdictions.

Although I have observed that highly successful international lawyers have excellent people skills (especially cross cultural ones), the rare introverted international lawyer can also take comfort in the solo nature of the blogging process.  Steve Matthews, the Vancouver Law Librarian, expresses this well in his post on Blog Networking for Introverts–how blogging lets lawyers work a room without ever having to touch people!  (It’s great to peruse Steve’ technology tips. Having been born in Vancouver, I  particularly enjoy his local perspective on law blogging and the like. )

Steve’s blogpost also references a terrific post on blogging for introverts:  9 keys to networking via blogs for introverts by Kevin O’Keefe.

Regardless of you introversion or extroversion, if you are considering starting a blog, Kevin’s site is really worth a look. His clever motto reads Real Lawyers Have Blogs(TM), and he goes about proving that with helpful posts under categories like Advantages of Lawyer Blogs and, for a bit of encouragement, Lawyer Blog Success Stories.

Happy blogging!

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