Instead of forcing attorneys to write about one narrow topic, InformationLawGroup gives its lawyers the freedom to focus on their specialities within the larger tech world.
“We’re in a unique position, so I makes sure that we’re posting about something that clients and contacts want to read about, and also topics that are maybe a little bit less talked about in the mainstream,” said Heather Nolan, partner at InfoLawGroup and one of the managing authors of the blog.
Unlike the typical technology blog, the firm covers everything from mobile app privacy to the right of publicity on social media. Nolan explained that the lawyers are given the flexibility in what they write about as long as it fits within the firm’s standards and that the blog evolves as new lawyers join the firm.
“For example, my practice is advertising, marketing and promotions primarily – with some trademark work involved, too. That has a natural overlap with the privacy practice that this firm was founded on, but the subject area is broadening,” said Nolan.
The same philosophy of flexibility extends to the blog’s publishing routine since the firm relies on multiple authors to keep it up-to-date.
“We have a flexible schedule that we’ve found that works. We do a rotation and everybody on the schedule is encouraged to make a post within a month. I think that flexibility within the month allows people to attend to their client matters and also not be forced to find something substantive to post about when nothing noteworthy is happening,” said Nolan. “[H]aving some general structure is helpful because as we know work can take over.”
The longer deadlines give lawyers the chance to write longer and more in-depth pieces. The focus on quality over quantity brings up the question of whether or not the blog give away free legal advice.
“We try to strike a balance and a we take a look at every single post with that perspective – striking a balance between showing our knowledge in the subject areas and being sure to make clear that someone can’t read a single blog post and handle a particular matter if they don’t have the in-depth knowledge,” said Nolan.
While Nolan doesn’t expect someone to be able to successfully litigate a privacy case after reading the blog, she has gotten phone calls from clients – both old and new – asking for help based on something that was written.
“The feedback we that receive on a regular basis is people asking us questions for a particular new issue,” said Nolan. “For example, when the NLRB comes down with ruling that an employer’s social media policy was too broad and getting into employee’s rights … [w]e’ll get calls asking us to take a look at someone’s social media policy to make sure it’s in line with the ruling.”
The majority of the blog’s readers are clients, other lawyers or privacy professionals, and the InfoLawGroup has found a happy medium in letting the lawyers highlight their knowledge and serving the needs of their readers. Keeping the readers in minds is what makes a blog successful – no matter what the blog’s topic is – advises Nolan:
“Try to put yourself in the shoes of your reader. I think that most people now a days, especially if you try to keep up with these types of blogs, most people are strapped for time. You want to be succinct but still demonstrate your skills. Also be very practical and very business minded. It’s important to not just have an academic examination of a legal development. I think it’s really important to look into the nuts and bolts of what this means.”