Inside Track: 49 Wisconsin Law Blogs: Attorneys Writing Their Way to New Business:

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    Who is blogging in Wisconsin and why? In this article, learn about the benefits of legal blogging and the Wisconsin lawyers and law firms with an online blogging presence.

    Joe Forward

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    blogging inspirationMarch 4, 2015 – Legal blogging is no fad. Since the late 1990s, lawyers and law firms increasingly use law blogs to showcase their knowledge and expertise. As numerous law bloggers in Wisconsin will tell you, blogging has both direct and indirect benefits.

    The State Bar of Wisconsin has identified 49 active Wisconsin legal blogs. From personal injury and employment law to tax law and bankruptcy issues, lawyers are using blogs to discuss hot topics of interest to existing and potential clients.

    For instance, Carol Wessels started the Wessels Elder Law Blog to inform clients about big changes to Medicaid as a result of Wisconsin’s 2013-15 budget. People searching those issues found her blog.

    “I have had new clients who mention the blog when they call,” said Wessels, a solo practitioner at Wessels Law Office LLC in Mequon who posts once or twice per month.

    “Many clients are referred by other attorneys, and a number of these mention that they read my blog and it was helpful in understanding issues prior to meeting me.”

    Milwaukee Attorney Randall Rozek, also a solo practitioner, started the Rozek Law Offices Blog in 2009 to help educate the public and other attorneys about issues involving brain injuries. He also posts a new article once or twice per month.

    “Not only have certain blog entries resulted in direct contact from potential clients, attorneys around the country have referred their clients to our office or asked us to co-counsel a case dealing with particular unique issues that have been addressed in the blog,” said Rozek. He said the blog has also led to professional speaking opportunities.

    “One of the values of a well-done legal blog is that it puts you out as the authority on whatever particular legal issue you choose as the overall centerpiece of your blog.”

    The Emergence of Legal Blogs

    Legend has it that the first “legal blog” was born in 1998, when Tennessee immigration attorney Gregory Siskind started an “online diary” to give readers daily legislative updates on an “immigration law crisis” involving H-1B visas. Then in 2002, legal technology commentator and attorney Robert Ambrogi wrote this:

    The number of Web logs – called "blogs" or, in the legal field, "blawgs" – has grown dramatically in recent months. Personal Web pages, formatted to resemble online journals, they range in content from introspectively personal to pungently political.

    But many bloggers see themselves as a kind of new journalist, reporting and commenting on current events in a single stroke. This is true of many of the lawyers with blogs, some of whom have built up loyal followings of readers who look to them to report current developments in a field and, at the same time, to provide perspective.

    In 2003, Ambrogi identified 62 “blawgs.” That number has swelled exponentially since then. The ABA Journal, which runs an annual list of top 100 blawgs, maintains a directory of some 4,000 blawgs, ranging from blawgs in highly specific areas of law or legislation to blawgs on quirky or entertaining stories involving the law or legal issues.

    Some lawyers and law firms join legal blogging networks to drive their online presence, leveraging the blogging network’s expertise to maximize the blog’s value. According to studies on how people look for and select attorneys, an online presence is crucial.

    Although referrals from friends and family remains a top information source for finding and selecting a lawyer, one survey found that 61 percent of people now begin a lawyer search online, and legal blogs are among the online resources consulted.1

    Thus, ensuring inclusion in the hiring pool may increasingly depend on a lawyer’s online presence, which includes legal blogs, social media, and law firm websites.

    Training Blog Writers

    Emory Law School in Atlanta is now devoting a full law school course to “public legal writing,” which includes blogging. Emory Law Professor Jennifer Romig, who teaches the course, says potential clients increasingly value bloggers, and law firms know it.

    “When I was telling an entrepreneur about this class, he told me he has selected at least half of his lawyers based on looking at their online presence,” said Romig, who wrote a paper on legal blogging and maintains her own blog, Listen Like a Lawyer.

    Joe Forwardorg jforward wisbar Joe Forward, Saint Louis Univ. School of Law 2010, is a legal writer for the State Bar of Wisconsin, Madison. He can be reached by org jforward wisbar email or by phone at (608) 250-6161.

    Romig says blogging is a tool for client development, but the personal and practical benefits of public legal writing go beyond marketing. She says lawyers can use blogs as a creative outlet, build their reputations, and impact public perception on legal issues.

    She notes a “legal journalism” class that Valparaiso Law Professor Faisal Kutty is teaching to help future lawyers use blog posts, op-eds, and other types of persuasive writing to shape public opinion. Legal blogs, Romig says, grant lawyers the freedom to develop an authentic voice through a discussion of issues they care about.

    Although blogs are increasingly part of a lawyer’s marketing arsenal, Romig notes that blogging, which requires a time commitment and practice, isn’t for everyone.

    And blindly starting a blog can be disastrous, according to long-time blogger Kevin O’Keefe’s Wisconsin Lawyer article, “Law Blogs: The Great Equalizer.”

    Generating ideas, engaging content and style, blogging platform, graphics and images, and ethics rules on advertising – these are all basic components that lawyers must think about before starting a blog. In addition, Romig says lawyers must be patient.

    “Building an audience takes time, and the ‘blawgosphere’ can be a critical and even harsh conversation at times,” Romig said. “Legal blogging takes persistence and resilience, as with all of law practice.”

    But if a blog isn’t for you, other options exist.

    “The good news is that the social media environment offers lawyers a lot of options for sharing their thoughts other than fully committing to a blog,” Romig said. Guest posts, tweeting, and LinkedIn updates can give lawyers an online presence also, she says.

    Creating Opportunities, and Value

    Wisconsin attorney Brandon Evans, who works at a small firm in Marquette, Mich., started his own blog, That’s My Argument, which covers a range of topics with posts once or twice per month. He says the blog has helped open new doors.

    For instance, Evans says he was asked to be an author for the State Bar of Wisconsin PINNACLE publication, The Law of Damages, and the blog likely played a role.

    The blog probably helped in his selection as a “rising star” by Michigan Super Lawyers, he said. And it was a blog p​ost that led to his inclusion in a Wisconsin Lawyer article on rural lawyers. Blogging, he says, helps him make connections in the legal community.

    But he recognizes that not every lawyer can make the commitment. “In my opinion, blogging is about the long-term,” Evans said. “To be successful, you have to love to write or have a burning desire to improve your writing because it certainly takes time.”

    For Neenah solo practitioner Michael Brown, who started Employee Rights of Wisconsin Blog to help people understand employment issues, blogging has two purposes.

    “For me, the selfish value is marketing, and the selfless value is community service,” said Brown. “I find myself writing many articles trying to help people in particular scenarios that would not make for desirable cases. So those posts are just to help.”

    “With other posts, I hope to help and get calls from folks in those scenarios. Regardless, there is value in helping people to think about issues they had not considered.”​

    For Carol Wessels, her blog is​ a growing library of in​formation that she can consult. “When I need to reach for an easy explanation of a particular issue, I may have already written about it on the blog,” Wessels said. The blog is also a creative outlet.

    Wessels said she’s working on blog posts related to her mother’s life with and death from Alzheimer’s. “It is much harder to write about than writing about the law.”

    49 Wisconsin Law Blogs

    Below is a list of known Wisconsin law blogs identified by the State Bar. Is your blog missing from this list? Email legal writer Joe Forward at org jforward wisbar wisbar jforward org.

    Or share your blogging experience by posting comments at the end of this article (login required). Select comments may be published is the Wisconsin Lawyer “Inbox” column.

    Author’s Note: Since original publication of this article, the State Bar has added more blogs to this list and will continue to update the list as more active blogs are identified. The list currently contains 68 Wisconsin law blogs.


    BLOG

    AFFILIATION

    AREA

    Andrew Ladd Law Blog

    The Law Offices of Andrew C. Ladd, LLC

    criminal defense

    Appelatory

    Lommen Abdo PA

    appellate issues

    Appleton Personal Injury Law Blog

    Peterson Berk Cross

    personal injury

    Cannon & Dunphy Law Blog

    Cannon & Dunphy SC

    personal injury

    Crummey Estate Plan

    Matthew Brehmer, Remley & Sensenbrenner SC

    estate planning

    DeLadurantey Law Office, LLC Blog

    DeLadurantey Law Office LLC

    bankruptcy & creditor/debtor

    Employee Rights Wisconsin Blog

    Michael Brown, DVG Law Partner LLC

    employee rights

    Employment Law Blog

    Walcheski & Luzi LLC

    employment law

    Family and Consumer Law: The Blog

    Briane Pagel, Kerman & Dunn

    consumer/family law

    Gregg Herman's Blog

    Loeb & Herman SC

    family law

    Hamilton Blog

    Hamilton Consulting Group

    legislative and regulatory

    Hawks Quindel S.C. Blog

    Hawks Quindel, S.C.

    labor and employment

    Hudson Legal Blog

    Mudge Porter Ludge Lundeed Suguin SC

    personal injury

    Hupy & Abraham Blog

    Hupy & Abraham SC

    personal injury

    James Scoptur's Law Blog

    James Scoptur, Aiken & Scoptur SC

    personal injury

    Jon Groth’s Wisconsin Personal Injury Weblog

    Groth Law Firm SC

    personal injury

    Life Sentences Blog

    Michael O’Hear, MU Law School

    crime, policing, punishment

    Mark Shiller Blog

    Mark Shiller, Certus Legal Group

    estate and wealth planning

    Marquette University Law School Faculty Blog

    MU Law School

    general

    Mastantuono & Coffee Blog

    Craig Mastantuono, Mastantuono & Coffee SC

    criminal defense

    Mediation Blog

    Michael Pollock Mediation Services LLC

    dispute resolution

    Milwaukee Bankruptcy Blog

    Croke & Croke

    bankruptcy law

    Milwaukee Bankruptcy Law Blog

    Miller & Miller Law, LLC

    bankruptcy & creditor/debtor

    Milwaukee Business & Commercial Law Attorneys Blog

    Kerkman & Dunn

    business and commercial law

    Milwaukee Business Lawyer

    Sean Sweeney, Halling & Cayo SC

    business law

    Milwaukee Criminal Defense Lawyer Blog

    Kohn Smith Roth

    criminal defense

    Milwaukee Criminal Law Blog

    Gamino Law Offices LLC

    criminal defense

    Milwaukee Employment Law Blog

    Alan C. Olson, Alan C. Olson & Associates

    employee rights

    Milwaukee Litigation & Appeals Blog

    Gimbel  Reilly Guerin Brown

    general

    Mortensen Law Firm Blog

    Melissa Mortensen, Mortensen Law Firm LLC

    small business law

    On Point

    Wisconsin State Public Defender Blog

    criminal defense

    On the Docket

    Crivello Carlson SC

    general

    RAWr blog

    Law Office of Benjamin Scott Wright

    legal research and writing

    Real Estate Law in Wisconsin Blog

    James, Graham Accession Law LLC

    real estate

    Rozek Law Offices SC Blog

    Rozek Law Offices SC

    personal injury

    SCOWstats

    Alan Ball, Marquette University

    Wisconsin Supreme Court stats

    Securities Litigation and Arbitration Blog

    Sean Sweeney, Halling & Cayo SC

    securities and arbitration

    Stafford Rosenbaum Blogs

    Stafford Rosebaum LLP

    employment & labor, franchise & distribution, government relations, municipal law, trusts & estates

    Tax Law Forum

    Rob Teuber, Weiss Berzowski Brady LLP

    tax

    Tesar Law Group S.C.

    Tesar Law Group

    estate planning

    That's My Argument

    Brandon Evans

    general

    The Blue Ink

    Ruder Ware

    tax, health care, employment, banking

    The Legal Geeks

    Jessica Mederson & Joshua Gilliland

    entertainment

    The Legal Watchdog

    Michael Cicchini, Cichini Law Office LLC

    general

    Tristan's Landlord-Tenant Law Blog

    Tristen Pettit, Petrie & Stocking SC

    landlord-tenant

    von Briesen Health Law Blog

    von Briesen & Roper SC

    health law

    Waukesha Criminal Defense Law Blog

    Craig Kuhary, Walden, Schuster & Vaklyes

    criminal defense

    Waukesha Divorce Law Blog

    Jacobson Legal Group, S.C.

    family law

    Weiss Berzowski & Brady Blog

    Weiss Berzowski & Brady

    general

    Wessels Elder Law

    Wessels Law Office LLC

    elder law

    WisBlawg

    UW-Law School

    legal research

    Wisconsin Appellate Law

    Foley & Lardner LLP

    appellate developments

    Wisconsin Bankruptcy Guide Blog

    Daniel Freund, Freund Law Office

    bankruptcy law

    Wisconsin Business Law Blog

    Schober Schober & Mitchell SC

    business law

    Wisconsin Civil Justice Council Blog

    Wisconsin Civil Justice Inc.

    general, civil justice

    Wisconsin Condo Law Blog

    Levine & Bazelon SC

    condominium law

    Wisconsin Criminal Defense Blog

    Nicholson & Gansner SC

    criminal defense

    Wisconsin Criminal Defense Law Blog

    William Redden, Redden & Singer LLP

    criminal defense

    Wisconsin DUI Blog

    Mishlove & Stuckert

    DUI defense

    Wisconsin DUI Law Blog

    Melowski & Associates

    DUI defense

    Wisconsin Eminent Domain Blog

    Eminent Domain Services LLC

    eminent domain

    Wisconsin Employment & Labor Law Blog

    Enochs Law Firm

    employment and labor

    Wisconsin Family Lawyer Blog

    Wessel Lehker & Fumelle Inc.

    family law

    Wisconsin Municipal Law Blog

    Terry Dunst, Bakke Norman SC

    municipal law

    Wisconsin Personal Injury Blog

    The Cochran Firm

    personal injury

    Wisconsin Personal Injury Law Blog

    Fitzpatrick, Skemp & Associates LLC

    personal injury

    Wisconsin Personal Injury Lawyers Blog

    Frank Pasternak, Pasternak & Zirgibel SC

    personal injury

    Wisconsin Unemployment Law Blog

    Victor Forberger

    unemployment law, labor and employment

    Endnotes

    1 LexisNexis, How Today’s Consumers Really Search for an Attorney (must register to download).

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