Tanya Forsheit is one of the nation’s top privacy and data security lawyers, a reputation she’s amassed over twenty years. This success derives from her experience handling high-profile cases and, more uniquely, blogging. Forsheit balances her time as the Chair of Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz‘s Privacy & Data Security Group as well as an author at Focus on the Data. She added more to her plate this week, joining This Week in Legal Blogging with LexBlog’s Bob Ambrogi.
Tanya discusses how the blog has given her opportunities she may not have seen otherwise. It introduced her to other legal professionals and even allowed her to start her own firm with another high-profile blogger. She speaks to how her writing background contributed to being able to find her own voice when blogging and offers advice to aspiring legal bloggers who may be unsure how to enter the already populated space.You can make the blog yours, though, and write about what is interesting to you even if it’s not the hottest topic.
Here’s the full episode and, down below, we have a selection of the best exchanges.
Did the blog contribute to develop the practice?
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one really significant thing that happened, which was a huge turning point for me, in around 2009. I had been a partner for a couple of years and I was really wanting to do nothing but privacy and data security because I loved it so much. I was able to leverage the reputation I developed through blogging to actually start my own law firm. So I left the big firm, I joined up with another lawyer who was a big blogger. who back then had his own practice and had been blogging and that’s how we knew each other. We’re both bloggers in the space and we started a law firm called info Law Group in 2009 that then grew and all we did was privacy data security. So since 2009, that’s all I’ve ever done. We already had a brand because of the blogging and we did some blogposts back then at info Law Group—which was also a LexBlog blog that we started—that still to this day are considered really important, like about cloud computing, which was a new thing that a lot of lawyers weren’t thinking about at that time.
I see from your LinkedIn profile that you were a political science and english major as an undergrad and that makes me wonder whether you were a writer already. Did writing come naturally? Were you a writer before you started blogging?
One of the things that I have tried to bring to blogging, which kind of comes from that background, is I like to make it my voice. I try to make it as entertaining as I can without, you know, being annoying. I try to come up with titles that I think are catchy when I can. I encourage the people who work with me and throughout the years who’ve worked with me on different blogs to do the same thing. And there are some blog posts that I still remember over the years that were just amazing in terms of how they were created and drafted. When somebody is passionate about a subject, which I think is true for writing in general, stuff just writes itself, that’s my experience. and that’s true for blogs too. If you are inspired by a subject, the thing will write itself .
Where do you think you would be today if you had never started blogging?
I wouldn’t have this practice, that’s for sure. Now I do say this with a little bit of guilt, but I don’t blog as much as I used to. I don’t have the time, but part of the reason why I don’t have the time is because the practice, has grown and been successful, right? So it’s a bit of a double–edged sword. I do still try, and also obviously our group, we try to do things as much as we can, not as often as I’d like sometimes. But I would for sure not be where I am in my legal career without it and so I’m really grateful. I kind of stepped into it in a moment when it wasn’t as it as common as a practice area and so it was more compelling to people I. I think I stood out a little more, and so the lesson from that, especially now that I’m older and have hindsight for the younger lawyers who might be watching, don’t pass up an opportunity that might seem like a pain at the time.
What about those younger lawyers who might be considering starting a blog and maybe they’re in a practice area where there’s already somebody writing in that area, do you have any advice for whether they should blog and how they can make a name for themselves?
For sure they should blog. I think anybody who wants to do it can find a way to have a unique voice. If you don’t want to do it, then don’t do it, you have to want to do it just like you have to want to be a lawyer. You can find a way to make it unique. What I would say is the thing not to do is to try to copy what everybody else in the space is doing—and it’s easy to avoid that because all you have to do is get on the news feeds for the various groups who are putting out regular stories to see what everybody is writing about and how people are writing about it. What you want to do is find a subject, and ideally something that you’re already working on so that it’s not something where you have to learn everything from scratch. Finally, it needs to be interesting to people, but it doesn’t have to be the hottest topic everybody is going to be writing on the hottest topic.
• • • •