Corporate and commercial litigation attorney Francis Pileggi has been authoring the Delaware Corporate & Commercial Litigation Blog since 2004, which has earned recognitions such as a Top Blog by LexisNexis and a spot in the ABA Blawg 100. He sat down with LexBlog’s Bob Ambrogi on This Week in Legal Blogging to discuss how the blog has benefited his career.
Here’s the full episode and, down below, we have a selection of the best exchanges.
You started 15 years ago, where were you in your career at that point and why did you decide to launch a blog?
Way back in 2004 I realized that when people wanted to find out about someone they didn’t know, they went on the Internet. I wanted to have some way of influencing what people found when they searched for my name on the Internet. I did some sleuthing and some online investigation and I found the legendary Kevin O’Keefe who I’d read about was just starting this company targeting lawyers and lawyers who wanted to have a blog. I of course at the time didn’t know anything about a blog, but subsequently learned that it was on many levels a perfect fit for what I was trying to do because I had already been widely published and was frequently writing articles to publish in various legal publications and I thought this was a perfect evolution of that. And it helped to create a presence on the internet and improve and polish my internet presence, my cyber footprint. I spoke to Kevin and he explained what was involved and it turned out to be relatively easy to do because LexBlog would do all the background work and all I had to do was provide the content.
Do you think that by having to sit down and write about these decisions, that gives you a greater perspective on them and gives you that more of that kind of historical perspective?
There’s no question about it, it it helps me to be a better lawyer because you remember the cases better if you read them and if you read them and you publish something about them, you’re more likely to remember. And also I know a lot of other lawyers in actually not just in Delaware, but around the country who told me that they used my blog as sort of a mini Lexus, because if they want to search for a case on a particular topic it’s free of course and it’s easy to find a case on Section 220, for example. I use it that way myself because there are blog posts that I’ve written 15 years ago that I might not remember.
You mentioned you originally starting out in blogging because you were looking for a way to, you know, promote yourself and get the word out about your your practice in your work. How has that worked out for you?
Fabulously, well beyond my wildest dreams. One way to measure it would be monetary. I can directly trace millions of dollars in fees received over the years from people who came to me through my blog. But that’s not the end of it, there is an enormous intangible benefit. In addition to the dollars and cents, it improves my writing. I mean, I tell people that you can probably train a monkey to do the same thing over and over every day for 30 years, and even that monkey is going to get pretty good at it after awhile. So by writing all these blogposts for all these years I think it has to have a positive affect on my writing, and as I mentioned before, I think it has a positive impact on my abilities as a lawyer because it helps me to remember the law better and it keeps me up to date on the law better and it gives me an ability to go back and search for cases on particular topic much more quickly than I could otherwise do. And another intangible benefit, but still a huge benefit is my footprint on the Internet. It’s a much bigger footprint, I think it’s a much more polished footprint than it would otherwise be if I didn’t have the blog.
And what do you think it is about blogging that has brought those clients to you?
If you’ve been writing for 30 years about—just using an example, if you’ve been writing for 30 years about section 220 cases and you have literally hundreds of articles published on that topic, even if you don’t know anything about Section 220, you give people the impression that you do. And it’s hard not to learn something about section 220 if you’ve written several hundred articles about it in addition to handling many cases about it. It is a legitimate way to give people an impression, which is a true impression, that you know something about a particular topic that you’re writing.
Do you think your career would have been different if you hadn’t been blogging?
No question about it, it would have been different. I’m not exactly sure how different—but as Kevin O’Keefe is fond of saying and it’s 100% true—if you want to do more legal work in a particular subject area, start blogging about it. The cases that you write about are likely gonna be the cases that you will start to get referrals for. And that has been true for me.
How do you like the structure of a post, or what do you think makes a good blog post or a bad blog post?
You asked me earlier if I keep the target audience in mind, and I do, and most lawyers are very busy and they have a lot to read. The last thing they want to do is read a lengthy case summary. More often than not, more recently within the last year or two or more I’ve been basically providing highlights, bullet points.These are the key bullet points, the takeaways from this case. If this is a topic that interests you, here is a link to the entire opinion. And busy lawyers, I think, find that valuable because that’s what they want to know. Why is this case important? What are the key points the key takeaways? If I’m interested, I know I can read the whole thing. There are other cases where they might be really, really important and I will give a more lengthy or give a lengthier summary.
What other words of wisdom would you like to impart about blogging?
If you really are passionate about an area of the law and you want to attract more work in that area of the law, I can’t think of anything other than blogging which gives you more bang for your buck. As long as you’re willing to work hard and make sure that you generate high quality content.
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