Sheppard Mullin is a veritable powerhouse in providing daily legal insight and commentary. The Global 100 firm—a longtime innovator in legal digital publishing—runs 33 blogs, a stable of publications they began building back in 2001. But over the past few months, the firm has made their knowledge even more accessible.
“We wanted to pull all of our blogs together in one place so that clients and contacts can look at our advice holistically across disciplines,” said Chief Marketing Officer, Vickie Spang.
Portals are LexBlog’s answer for those looking to bind together their online community. They provide firms and associations with a magazine-like publication that automatically aggregates content from a number of sources—for Sheppard Mullin, it’s those 33 blogs—while giving the editorial team the ability to highlight and elevate key content in as little as minutes, pushing those onto the front page or queued up for daily or weekly email email newsletters.
Sheppard Mullin, with In the Know, took the leap to become the first law firm to launch a LexBlog Portal—but they weren’t the first entity to do so. The Illinois State Bar Association’s Illinois Lawyer Now is powered by similar LexBlog technology, with more bar associations nearing the launch with their own Portals.
In the Know, which was unveiled on March 9th, is a one-stop shop for all the firm’s blog content. While some readers are satisfied following single blogs, like Sheppard Mullin’s Healthcare Law Blog or Intellectual Property Law Blog, others would like a broader brush, said Spang. In the Know allows their team to bring together all of its content in one place.
Coronavirus Insights operates similarly, but collects only COVID-19 related content from all of the firm’s blogs. The portal made its debut on April 2nd.
Both Portals allow readers to subscribe by email and receive daily updates of the most important legal news.
Spang shared her thoughts about Sheppard Mullin’s motivations for launching portals and why their firm values innovation in publishing.
She said their spirit for innovation comes from Sheppard Mullin’s chairman, Guy Halgren.
“He’s always wanting to make sure that we are, if not ahead of the curve, certainly, keeping abreast of the latest developments,” she said.
While the team did not plan on creating another Portal so soon, the COVID-19 pandemic required a change of plans. Bloggers across all 33 blogs began writing intently on COVID-19. The information was siloed in Sheppard Mullin’s various blogs, and the team, once again, wanted to pull all the information so that clients and contacts can easily find information from various disciplines in one place.
“This is unprecedented territory,” she said. “It’s nice to be able to have this one-stop shopping portal that [readers] can subscribe to and stay abreast of what’s going on—because they have a lot on their plates. We’ve gotten anecdotal information from our clients that they find it extremely helpful.”
The portals have also been helpful to the firm in motivating its bloggers and allowing them to get ahead of others in publishing new information.
“It motivates them because [the bloggers] realize that we’re getting even more readers than we otherwise would,” Spang said.
Many CMOs can relate to Spang’s experience of sometimes needing to exhort bloggers to write more. It can be difficult to persuade a blogger that their work will surely be seen. But that isn’t a problem anymore.
“On the contrary, they’re incredibly prolific and keeping us really busy in terms of posting their content.”
With COVID-19 dominating the news cycle, Sheppard Mullin’s labor and employment, real estate, privacy, and healthcare bloggers have been the most prolific in recent weeks. It is clear that their team has a strong motivation for blogging and carries the spirit for innovative publishing.
“I’m proud,” Spang said. “I’m truly proud of our firm for getting out in front to try to stay abreast of all the various, legal implications of this disease and this pandemic. And, what that means for our clients.”