Thursday, October 31, 2013

My Blogging Philosophy: That’s My Argument

The following posting is made with permission from the State Bar of Wisconsin who originally printed it as an article entitled, “Blogging Series: That’s My Argument” included in Young Lawyer Division News, State Bar of Wisconsin, October 2013, Vol. No. 16, Issue No. 5:

Legal blogging is a relatively new phenomenon that is getting more and more popular. In the last few years, I have read numerous articles about legal blogging, attended a CLE regarding legal blogging, and heard numerous marketing professionals stress the importance of blogging to lawyers.

My prior employer and our firm’s marketing director made a concerted effort to start a legal blog on our firm’s webpage. Some of the other associates and I were less enthusiastic to say the least. The problem was, as I saw it, that while we understood the benefits of blogging being touted, we had a hard time envisioning our position in the legal blogging world. Our firm was a litigation boutique, and my constant question was: what would we blog about? I felt that, since our specialty was litigation, a blog made little sense. We dealt with different areas of the law all the time and the issues we dealt with regularly—drafting complaints, answers, discovery, and motions—did not lend themselves to articles anyone is likely to find interesting. If my former boss were alive to read this article, he would smile to see me admit that you were right Mike!

I recently started a legal blog entitled, That’s My Argument ( So far the majority of my postings have been mostly recycled legal arguments that I have made in the past while immersed in CERCLA Superfund litigation. While I enjoy environmental litigation, maintaining a litigation practice based out of Marquette, Michigan, does not exactly lend itself to focusing on something that specialized. My practice primarily involves real estate disputes, commercial litigation, and trust and estate proceedings. Nonetheless, I still blog about CERCLA. Why? The focus of my blog is not topical. Today, I blog about CERCLA because I had a large reservoir of material built up. Tomorrow, I may blog about a right of reverter contained in a railroad deed or whether an attorney hired by a personal representative represents the estate or the personal representative. Yes, I am being serious.

You may be wondering, who exactly is my audience? You are… other lawyers are my audience. No, I don’t expect that my lawyer friends are anxiously awaiting my next blog post. That is not the point. The point is that if another lawyer wants to check out some of my work product, my blog is there for their perusal. Additionally, the optimist in me holds the hope that a lawyer researching an issue may stumble across my blog when he or she runs a Google search of something that I have addressed in my blog. There is hope as Google Analytics informed me that someone in Cleveland, Ohio, spent around 20 minutes reading my blog recently. However, as my colleague quips, they probably fell asleep.

I write for lawyers because almost every piece of significant litigation that I have worked on came from a referral. Clients involved in major litigation tend to have lawyers well before they get sued or need to sue someone, and it is the business, real estate, and estate planning lawyers who are the gatekeepers to my potential clients. If these lawyers view me as someone who is capable of handling a large complex case, then I will get those matters.

Because That’s My Argument is in effect me marketing myself to other lawyers, I don’t feel the need to conform to what seem to be the two most important rules according to the legal blogging experts: (1) I won’t update my blog every day, week, or month; I’ll update it when I have something that I find interesting or helpful to others, but I am not writing merely for the sake of writing; and (2) I won’t avoid writing in a legalistic fashion; if I write an argument in a brief for court that I feel has general utility, I won’t hesitate to post a non-client specific version of that argument; in fact, that is exactly the sort of thing that will end up on That’s My Argument.

Blogging has already paid off for me professionally. It beefed up my resume for my recent election to the Council of the Litigation Section of the State Bar of Michigan, and it led to me being asked to be an author for one of the chapters in the next edition of The Law of Damages, a widely used publication of the State Bar of Wisconsin PINNACLE®. Yes, it is non-paid work leading to more non-paid work, but I recommend it nonetheless. So that is my blogging philosophy and THAT’S MY ARGUMENT.

© October 2013 Brandon J. Evans