Steven Koprince and Shane McCall are partners at boutique federal government contracting firm Koprince Law LLC. Steven is the firm’s founder and serves as senior partner, while Shane is a managing partner. Their work focuses on helping small businesses across the country with government transaction, compliance issues, and dispute avoidance and resolution. Shane is also the editor of the firm’s blog, SmallGovCon, which Steve started in 2012. Both attorneys regularly author posts for the blog.
Steven and Shane discuss their respective roles and personal histories pertaining to their practices and the blog. Steve discusses who the blog’s target audience is and the importance of separating oneself from legal writing when blogging. They discuss the sort of inquiries they receive, the blog’s style, and scheduling blogging into their lives as attorneys. They then discuss blog marketing, ways the blog has changed their careers, and advice for other bloggers.
Here’s the full episode and, down below, we have a selection of the best exchanges:
So Steven, you founded the blog, and Shane you’re the editor now. How did that work?
Steven: I founded the blog back in 2012, and, for awhile, was the only author. I eventually wanted to pull back from some of the things that I was overextending myself with, and Shane took over and has done an incredible job running the blog since then. I still write posts for the blog, and he handles the management, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Shane: Yeah, so I took over the day-to-day management after writing posts for a number of years. I handle the organizing, picking out topics, doling out responsibilities for who’s writing, and making sure we stay on top of the schedule and have good content out there. I want to make sure we balance the ongoing posts with the breaking legal news to get ahead of the updates in our legal practice.
Steven, why did you want to start a blog in 2012? How has it helped your business development?
Steven: I was looking for a way to market a niche legal practice from a guy nobody had ever heard of at the time to a nationwide audience, and I didn’t have much money to do it. I had been practicing for awhile for firms in the DC area, but now I was heading out on my own, and I wanted to go make my own client base. I was wondering how I sold a practice coast to coast in a consistent cost-effective manner. Blogging was the right fit because I like writing and it’s not that expensive to start one, and it was something I was able to stick with, especially once I got people like Shane involved. Also, I wanted to show people that I knew what I was talking about and indirectly sell the practice. One benefit along the way is that it made me better at my day job, finding topics to blog about and explaining them to the public at large made me more aware of what’s going on in the field and forced me to become an expert on cases and issues that I may not have looked at otherwise…The biggest driver of business has always been the blog. It’s really been a cornerstone of our business development. People read my posts and then call me for help, and then it has the secondary effect of the blog posts establishing my credibility and getting me invited to speak at conferences, where I meet people I otherwise would not have met, and that of course has it’s own spillover effect.
Shane, at what point did you enter the firm and when did you join the blog? What do you do as editor of the blog?
Shane: I did bankruptcy law for awhile, then moved to this firm in 2017. The blog was actually one of the selling points for moving to the firm: the focused attack on marketing. Focusing marketing efforts on the blog made it easier to form connections in the community, and from the get-go, writing for the blog was mentioned as a component of the firm’s marketing effort. It definitely gives you a good focus for getting your name out there and, like Steve mentioned, hone your expertise. So yeah, it was a selling point for me for joining the blog. From day 1, I was writing my first blog post. I think I became editor about a year or so ago, so after I’d gotten used to the pace and style and developed my attention to detail, consistency, and accuracy. As editor, I review posts for those qualities, and I try to make sure they’re a little fun. I also make sure we’re keeping up on news in the field, generate ideas for fresh content, and keep everyone on schedule. We use a publication calendar to keep everyone task.
Steven, who reads your blog?
Steven: We try to write in plain English and not write like lawyers, which can be difficult for new attorneys who join us. We do that because our audience isn’t lawyers; we’re directing it at potential clients, like small business or government contractors. Other people, like lawyers or judges or government employees can read it, but we always keep in mind those small business and government contractor clients. They want to be spoken to in plain English. That’s our mindset, and keeping that focus helps; we get positive feedback about breaking it down in ways people can understand. People often see lawyers who can’t divorce themselves from writing like lawyers, which is what we learn in law school, but there’s a time and a place. We try to stay client-oriented.
Shane, what advice would you offer other bloggers?
Shane: A couple of things. Be consistent about it; make it a part of your daily or weekly schedule, so that you can build up your content and have a baseline for your readership to look at. It’s a marketing tool, but it also gives you an opportunity to write in a different style. Use it as a way to change gears during the day when you’re not writing in a legal, argumentative style. It’s also a great resource for a lot of different people, so you’ll feel good about getting that information out there. You’re providing a service while marketing. Use those benefits to motivate yourself and stay on schedule.
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