Sandra Edelman is a Dorsey & Whitney partner, specializing in copyright, trademark, and advertising matters. She also works with Dorsey’s Intellectual Property Litigation Practice Group, drawing on her practicing experience to help develop legal strategy. Sandra is also the co-creator and co-editor of the heavily praised IP law blog TheTMCA.com, which focuses on these same areas of law.
Sandra discusses how her blog got started, her initial misgivings, and why they went away. She also talks about the logistics of running a blog with multiple authors, Sandra’s own personal role, and picking blog post topics. Sandra shares who the blog’s audience is as well as how its marketed. The conversation shifts, and we hear about Sandra’s background as a litigator and how her legal niche has been impacted by the pandemic. They end by discussing her future plans for the blog and advice for other legal bloggers.
Here’s the full episode and, down below, we have a selection of the best exchanges:
Your blog got started around 2015. Why was the motivation to get it going?
I actually wasn’t the initiating driving force behind the blog; it was another partner who had joined Dorsey a year or two before that. He said “Let’s put on a show; let’s do a blog!” My first reaction was “Oh no… I’m not going to do that, it’s like way too much work. I know that a really good blogs take a lot of work.” But he said, “Let’s do something new. It’s a good way to get our name out there and keep current with the law and actually involve associates in business and marketing.”
It looks like the blog has evolved in terms of who is writing for it and the number of people writing for it. Can you talk about how that works?
My then-colleague and I decided that we would be co-editors and we would be responsible for editing all of the pieces and the quality control that would percolate up from the other office. We would have two co-managers, two of my partners in the group, and they set a schedule. We got a lot of people to write, like 20-25 authors throughout our firm. We have a schedule; people are on twice a year. The managers write those people when they’re about a week out, reminding them when they’re up and asking for a draft of the post. So, they keep the blog running, and it’s been a good way to work with people across the Dorsey platform.
Who are you writing this blog for? Who’s the audience?
I definitely think lawyers, especially in-house. A lot of in-house lawyers used to work at firms and get publications on a daily basis or regularly be encouraged to sit on committees or go to conferences. I think a lot of them are actually hungry to make sure that they’re keeping up. So they’ll subscribe, or they’ll get the email, and they will keep up on things. Potential clients also like to see that you’re active in the area, that you’re not just resting on your laurels, you keep yourself covered.
With all the people writing for your blog, do you have something like a style sheet? Do you try to be consistent in any way?
We have given tips for writing an effective blog. Many people really don’t need it, they read other blogs and see what works. But we do say that this is not a case note or a law review. Why write out a case citation when you can just embed the case? Don’t do footnotes. We say have a conversational tone, don’t be overly formal, and do try to get to the point in the first paragraph.
Have there been any implications for your area of practice out of the events of the last eight months?
There have been. There have been clients who have wanted to do cause marketing, to support heroes and frontline workers. I have clients who are making consumer products like cleansers or things like that, making sure they’re capitalizing upon the demand for their product without being exploitive about it.
Do you have any advice for new bloggers or people considering it?
I think if it’s a law blog as opposed to other types, you should really be trying to be informative. Don’t lose sight of being informative to being clever. Also, some people will want to write a filing in a case, not the decision, which is less of a big deal. Don’t do that, unless the fact of the filing is notable. We recommend that people follow cases and become experts on them. Sometimes people will write a blog post for my blog, and then they’ll use that as a platform to speak to the media about the case if it’s a media attention case. They’ve just written about it, so they’re up to speed on it and the reporter could find them by doing an Internet search on who knows a lot about this newsworthy case. It’s two bangs for their buck. Not only did they write a newsworthy blog post, they also got interviewed on local or national media about the case they blogged about. It’s perfect.
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