Anyone who’s written a blog is used to the recognition it can bring. For Nossaman’s James H. Vorhis, it was one client’s recognition in particular that sticks with him.
“He came up to ask me about a particular cyber-insurance article he had read, because he knew I did some insurance work,” said Vorhis. “He had no idea I wrote it. He had just found it on the web, was telling me ‘this person was pointing out these components of coverage.’ I was like ‘Oh really? I think I know the one.’”
That sort of recognition is just one of the reasons Vorhis stands by his group’s blog, the Privacy Law Report. Since launching it in 2014, Vorhis has found that the initial client questions that lead them to start the blog have only increased.
“It’s impossible to miss the importance of privacy and data security. You see it in the news ever day,” said Vorhis, who notes that the beat it is a bit of a unique one. “It touches on so many different practice areas in ways other areas of law don’t. It’s a pervasive topic.”
It’s the sort of area of law that can be so broad, so far-reaching, that it can be representing the group without clients even knowing it. Vorhis may be helping one client with insurance coverage issues who doesn’t even know they have a privacy group until they see the blog. Suddenly they know they can come to him with plenty more questions as well.
As Vorhis noted, data breaches have been around as long as the internet as has. But ever since the Target breach in 2013, he and the Nossaman privacy, cybersecurity, and data security practice group noticed that they were getting more and more clients are coming in with privacy related questions, more interested than ever before in making it one of their primary focuses.
Their questions—how secure they were, what steps they could take, etc.—were perennial ones. But that doesn’t mean they’re the same now as they were when the Privacy Law Report launched. Part of the blog format that appealed to the privacy group at Nossaman was the immediacy of it all.
“I subscribe to monthly newsletters, magazines—they’re wonderful. But if I really want to look and see what’s going on in particular areas I pop onto LexBlog or turn to the internet to see what’s happened in the last couple of days,” said Vorhis, who also co-chairs the group. “I think it’s an area that’s changing quickly; you see it in the news all the time…You’re not going to figure out if rule 25 of the civil procedure change drastically over the last three months. But [privacy] stuff lends itself to a blog because I guarantee you there will be ten things in the news tomorrow that happened that’s important for businesses to know.”
Despite the firehose of topics raining down on them, Vorhis and his team’s goal is just to make sure they’re keeping clients up to date on the most pertinent of all that information. As an editor, he finds that most people carve out their own areas of expertise on the blog; some will write about the latest in the news, others will favor a specific topic.
And over the years they’ve grown more comfortable with the format, and establishing their own voices. Posts that make the blog are passed in front of a lot of different eyes in order to ensure that the writing is clear, insightful, and interesting. Vorhis says his team has grown even more knowledgeable about the subject area—but that doesn’t mean the blog is in its final form.
“I think the blog is still a work in progress, and that’s not a bad thing. Anyone putting content out there has to evolve, and see what you can be doing better,” said Vorhis. It’s a lesson he admits you only learn by pushing through the “pain” of blogging. “Just keep writing. I think the hardest thing we found is that work gets in the way—which is totally understandable…[but] the more you write the more comfortable you are writing, and you realize it’s not going to be a ten hour project, you can hammer out a blog in 45 minutes.”
In an area that changes as much as privacy law, that speed is important. Being able to get something useful to their clients on the site quickly—and with actual insight—is exactly why Vorhis and his team have found such success with the blog.
“This stuff is changing constantly,” said Vorhis. “Frankly if you slow down and write an article about every development in privacy you’re going to be behind the times.”
Sometimes that means repeating the smart practices that businesses need to take when they’re dealing with privacy. But Vorhis says he doesn’t find it repetitive at all. Their team is big and broad enough to cover most corners of privacy law without feeling like they’re trapped in an echo chamber. Plus, they really like what they do. Especially if he’s helping someone.
“Anyone that learned about best practices in privacy areas read best practices over and over again. And they know them because of that,” said Vorhis. “It’s an opportunity to have a living, breathing mode of communication with [clients] where there’s a specific need for information.”