Every year, the ABA Legal Technology Resource Center (LTRC) publishes TECHREPORT—a collection of easy-to-read breakouts of the annual ABA Legal Technology Survey Report, one of the leading surveys on how attorneys use technology. Practitioners, firms, and legal tech companies alike can use TECHREPORT to get a better grasp on legal technology trends and predictions.
This year also saw an increase in respondents who reported that they personally maintained a legal topic blog, from 8% in 2016 to 12% in 2017. 15% of solos, 14% lawyers from firms of 500+ attorneys, 11% from firms of 2-9 attorneys, and 10% of attorneys from firms of 10-49 lawyers report that they personally maintain a legal topic blog.
Of those who personally maintain a legal blog, 76% do it for client development, 47% because they enjoy writing and outreach, and another 47% report blogging for career development/networking. Of those bloggers, 43% overall report that they have had a client retain their services directly or via referral as a result of their blogging activity. 28% have not had a client retain them, and another 28% are not sure whether their blogging activity has contributed to the retention of a client.
Looking closer at these results, of lawyers in firms of 500+ attorneys who personally maintain a legal blog, 80% report getting clients as a result of their blogging activity, and the remaining 20% were not sure. Lawyer-bloggers in firms of 2-9 or 50-99 lawyers each reported a greater than 50% success rate in client retention as a result of blogging.
Among respondents who blog on legal topics, blogs are most commonly updated monthly (46%) or weekly (26%). A full 20% of bloggers who responded to the 2017 Survey had stopped updating their blogs, and 5% of respondents either update their blog daily or have someone else update their blog on their behalf. Lawyers are most likely to have someone else update a blog for them if they are in firms of 100+ attorneys; one-third of respondents in firms of 100-499 lawyers, and 20% of bloggers in firms of 500+ lawyers gave this response.
Two ways legal bloggers might increase their blogging success rate are by posting to their blogs more frequently and interacting more with their readers and with other blogs. In my experience, when bloggers aren’t putting the necessary time and effort into their blogs, or see their blogs as mere vehicles for disseminating information, this limits their visibility and reach, which in turn limits referrals. A much better approach, as O’Keefe recommends, is to use blogging as a means to engage and collaborate with others.