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  • InsideTrack
  • April 06, 2016

    64 Wisconsin Law Blogs:
    Self-Teaching, Informing, and Marketing All at Once

    When lawyers blog, they teach themselves about the legal issues they write about. But they also inform current and potential clients, and market their expertise. This second annual Wisconsin law blogs article includes a list of 64 Wisconsin law blogs.

    Joe Forward

    bloggingAuthor’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 67 Wisconsin law blogs.

    April 6, 2016 – “Content marketing” is a buzzword that law firms are starting to understand. Providing credible legal content can help establish positive relationships with current and potential clients and may lead to new business opportunities.

    Increasingly, lawyers and law firms turn to “law blogs” as the vehicle to showcase their in-depth knowledge of certain areas of the law. Blogging has been around since the turn of the century. But many law firms are now doubling-down on their blogging efforts.

    A recent report notes that large law firms have increased blogging exponentially in recent years. And in Wisconsin, home to many solo and small firms, legal blogging remains robust from a year ago, despite some changes.

    In this article, learn what’s going on in the legal blogosphere. Also, check out the list of 64 active Wisconsin law blogs by solo or small firm attorneys, as well as larger firms (20 or more attorneys), some with multiple law blogs.

    Law Blogging in Wisconsin

    Wisconsin is home to a number of law blogs. In fact, WisBar InsideTrack has identified 47 “active” blogs that are independent or associated with a solo or small law firm (under 20 attorneys). Another 17 active law blogs come from mid-sized or large law firms. “Active” means the blog posted at least 12 times in 2015 and at least once in 2016, or at least twice in the last three months. 

    Last year, InsideTrack’s inaugural “Wisconsin law blog” article identified 49 law blogs, which quickly grew to nearly 70 blogs as lawyers sent links to blogs the article missed (the list is limited to blogs that can be found through regular Internet search tools).

    But not all of them survived. After all, blogging takes time. According to law blogger Jesse Dill, it also takes discipline.

    “I set a goal of one post each week, and I have a set time that I dedicate to blogging,” said Dill, an attorney at Walcheski & Luzi in Brookfield who writes for the firm’s Employment Law Blog. “It is written into my calendar, and I try not to deviate from it as much as possible. There are, of course, weeks when cases and other matters demand more attention from me, but I do my best to make sure it is a regular part of my routine.”

    Dill, who has been blogging for about five years, says he blogs for a number of reasons.

    “First, I am often teaching myself more about or exploring in greater detail a subject matter that I have read and interests me. Second, I am trying to help others understand more about a subject matter that I think is important to them. And third, I am trying to build our firm's brand, create a marketing opportunity, and increase our search engine optimization,” said Dill, who has a target audience in mind when he chooses topics.

    As an employment lawyer, he targets business owners, executives, human resources personnel, in-house counsel, and other lawyers who don’t focus on labor and employment law.

    “If I am not currently handling a case in a certain area of labor and employment law, blogging gives me the opportunity to stay up-to-date on the latest developments so I am better prepared when I handle such a case again,” said Dill.

    “Additionally, blogging has provided a valuable tool for marketing my services. I've had lawyers and executives call me to talk more about an issue on which I have blogged. Without my blog posts, I might not have had an opportunity for those contacts,” he said.

    When Dill gives presentations on labor and employment law issues, he distributes blog posts to provide more insights to his audience, who will likely visit the blog.

    When determining his topics, Dill looks at blogs from nonlegal sources and puts a legal spin on labor and employment news. He also consults other law blogs.

    “I have my list of labor and employment law blogs from around the country I check on a regular basis,” he said. “It gives me another viewpoint on many topics and often introduces me to news or developments I might otherwise miss.”

    Interestingly, labor and employment law is a hot blogging area. In Wisconsin, there are six active blogs on labor and employment law issues among solo and small firm lawyers. And seven of the 11 larger firms that maintain active blogs (some with multiple blogs) include labor and employment law issues.

    Other hot topics include personal injury and criminal law.

    Bigger Firm Blog Trends

    According to LexBlog’s “Am Law 200 Blog Benchmark Report 2015,” which highlights blogging among the 200 largest law firms in the U.S. (AM Law 200), the number of law blogs dramatically increased – from about 74 to 962 – in the last seven years, and the number of large firms that are blogging quadrupled during that same time period.

    Most of the largest law firms have multiple blogs. According to the LexBlog report, Fox Rothschild tops the list with 39 blogs. The runner-up is Sheppard Mullins with 29 blogs. The largest segment of law blogs (132 of the 962 identified), are focused on labor and employment issues.

    Foley & Lardner, one of the largest 50 law firms with a prominent presence in Wisconsin, publishes 12 blogs, including one called Wisconsin Appellate Law. The largest segment of the largest law firms publish two to five blogs, the report says.

    Big firms are starting to see law blogs as a “powerful marketing tool” for lawyers because of how potential clients seek out attorneys nowadays, the report states. If friends, family, or associates don’t have recommendations, they turn to Google.

    “There’s a good chance that the lawyer who blogs on this topic, the lawyer who’s quoted as an expert in the press and whose insights are shared among readers, will rise to the top of the search results,” the LexBlog report states.

    LexBlog is a Seattle-based company providing a self-publishing platform for lawyers and law firms, including more than half the blogs published by the AM Law 200. LexBlog supports more than 8,000 lawyers through its LXBN network.

    Although the number of law blogs has increased in recent years, LexBlog founder and CEO Kevin O’Keefe, a passionate law blogger who happens to be a member of the State Bar of Wisconsin, says blogging is still in its infancy.

    “Law blogs have just started to disintermediate traditional information and news sources,” O’Keefe said in an email exchange from Seattle. “Lawyers used to write articles for bar journals, trade publications, newspapers, and local business journals. Such writing is going more and more to blogs – or whatever you want to call an online publication published by a lawyer without an editor acting as an intermediary.”

    O’Keefe says blogs get a lot of help from social media, as more people get news and information they trust from Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

    “Blog posts are natural when it comes to flowing through such social media so long as the blogging lawyer uses social media effectively,” he said. “Traditional publishers struggle with social media as a means to build trust as they tend to publish as an organization, as opposed to an individual like a blogging lawyer does. Individuals build trust and that's what blogging and social media are all about.”

    Real Lawyers Have Blogs

    O’Keefe practiced law for 17 years and leveraged the Internet to build his firm in the late 1990s before starting an Internet company. Now he runs LexBlog and has his own blog, Real Lawyers Have Blogs, where he posts information to help lawyers network online.

    He said blogging is about connections. “I can think of no better way to connect in a real and meaningful way with lawyers, other legal professionals, and the influencers of those two (reporters, publishers, association leaders, conference coordinators, and leading bloggers) than through blogging,” he said. “Connecting with these folks enables me to build relationships with them and establish a reputation as a trusted and reliable authority when it comes to blogging and the use of other social media.”

    He also says blogging isn’t necessarily about writing. It’s about following the news, information, and insight that can help lawyers stay up-to-date.

    “By reading developments in the law and society, formulating one's thoughts and reducing them to writing you become better as a lawyer,” he said. “By virtue of the people whose content you reference and the people who follow your blog, your network grows. The larger the network a lawyer has the better the job they'll be able to do.”

    Law blogging is also filling an important public information gap left by traditional news outlets that tend to focus on hot button or controversial legal developments or cases and lack legal expertise.

    “If there is a better way of keeping the public informed when it comes to legal information and insight than lawyers' blogging, I haven't seen it,” he said.

    “Blogging gets information from the people in the know, real practicing lawyers who care, to the people in need. Google and social media work extraordinarily well in delivering insight from such lawyers to people topic-wise and geographic-wise.”

    O’Keefe notes that law blogs collectively generate information 24/7, and legal service consumers start to appreciate the information they are receiving, for free in most cases.

    “Blogs establish trust, making lawyers more apt to be contacted by someone in need and even someone who did not even know they had a legal need,” said O’Keefe, who noted that blogs can make people aware of niche areas they did not know existed.

    Tips for Blogging

    Topping the tip list, O’Keefe says the blogger must be passionate. “You need to love what you do when it comes to blogging,” he said. And maybe the passion falls outside the law. “If you do not have a passion in an area of the law, what could you get passionate about? Life's too long not to be passionate about something.”

    O’Keefe also says law bloggers should maintain a conversational tone, as if sitting with people at a local coffee shop and listening to them before responding through writing.

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

    With the list of law bloggers growing, O’Keefe says lawyers can distinguish themselves by identifying the countless areas that are not being covered, and gravitate to a niche.

    “How about a La Crosse family law blog sharing information on local court rules, insight from local counselors, articles from local accountants and financial planners, as well as your take on common questions and blog posts by other family law lawyers? Set up right, you'll blow other La Crosse lawyers away in Google,” O’Keefe said.

    “Niches do not limit practices, they open doors to a broad area, i.e., all family law, because of the trust and reputation established,” he said. “A lawyer's opportunity to grow a practice is only limited by their energy, commitment and imagination. Blogging is the same.”

    Over at the Lawyerist, a popular law blog for solo and small firm attorneys, lawyer Sam Glover is more direct: “A lot of lawyers have blogs. A lot of those blogs suck,” he writes.

    Glover provides some common elements of a “sucky blog,” such as blogs with bad names, poor designs, or ones that remain idle for weeks or months.

    “On the Internet, a day is an eternity during which your soon-to-be-former readers will forget your blog ever existed. If you cannot post at least weekly, at least until your blog has a few hundred posts and some real momentum behind it, don’t bother,” he writes.

    The LexBlog report reiterates some of his points, noting elements that keep blogs performing well. “Almost universally, the most successful blogs are well-maintained and feature new posts at least weekly, with many posting daily,” the report states.

    “This constant flow of fresh, relevant content boosts their blog relevance, better engages readers and propels these blogs closer to top search engine status.”

    At Steamfeed, a blog on trends in social media, technology, and marketing, blogger Greg Digneo, says most blogs fail when they are “driven solely by profit.” Instead, he says, successful blogs are ones that are driven by “purpose.”

    “A purpose-driven blog is one that provides unique value to an audience. The readers of the blog can’t find the content anywhere else in the blogosphere,” Digneo writes.

    The LexBlog report concurs: “Blogs on topics that no one else is talking about creates a unique place in the cyber world. Provide something that no one else is offering and you have a potential goldmine,” the report notes.

    And Glover: “If you have a blog, make it a site you would actually want to visit and read yourself. If you do this successfully, you can absolutely expect to profit from your blog (in the form of clients, obviously, when it comes to law blogs),” he notes.

    When it comes to the nuances of Wisconsin law, attorneys here are uniquely positioned to talk in-depth about developments in all different areas.

    And many are already doing so. Without further delay, here is the second annual list of Wisconsin law blogs, listed in alphabetical order:

    47 Active Wisconsin Solo, Small Firm & Independent Law Blogs*

    BLOG

    FIRM AFFILIATION

    AREA

    Andrew Ladd Law Blog

    The Law Offices of Andrew C. Ladd, LLC

    criminal defense

    Appelatory

    Lommen Abdo P.A.

    appellate issues

    Appleton Personal Injury Law Blog

    Peterson Berk Cross S.C.

    personal injury

    Cannon & Dunphy

    Cannon & Dunphy S.C.

    personal injury

    DeLadurantey Law Office

    DeLadurantey Law Office LLC

    bankruptcy & creditor/debtor

    Employee Rights Wisconsin

    Michael Brown, DVG Law Partner LLC

    employee rights

    Employment Law Blog

    Jesse Dill, Walcheski & Luzi LLC

    employment law

    Family and Consumer Law: The Blog**

    Briane Pagel, Kerkman & Dunn

    consumer/family law

    Halling & Cayo

    Sean Sweeney, Halling & Cayo S.C.

    securities and arbitration

    Herrling Clark Law Firm Herrling Clark Law Firm Ltd personal injury, family law, estate planning

    Hudson Legal Blog

    Mudge Porter Ludge Lundeed Seguin SC

    personal and workplace injury

    Hupy & Abraham

    Hupy & Abraham S.C.

    personal injury

    In House Owl**

    Joel Smith, Generac Power Systems Inc.

    legal training

    Karp & Iancu David Karp, Karp & Iancu S.C. family law, personal injury

    Law + Technology

    Kenny Hoeschen, Logic Gate Legal LLC

    drafting and negotiating software licensing and other technology agreements, technology general

    Lawyer Bridge Blog

    Jacquie Champagne, Champagne Group

    legal industry, technology and innovation

    The Legal Geeks**

    Jessica Mederson, Hansen Reynolds Dickinson Crueger LLC

    entertainment

    The Legal Watchdog

    Michael Cicchini, Cicchini Law Office LLC

    criminal law

    Life Sentences Blog**

    Michael O'Hear, M.U. Law School

    crime, policing, punishment

    Labor & Employment Blog

    State Bar of Wisconsin, Labor & Employment Section

    labor and employment

    Loeb & Herman

    Gregg Herman, Loeb & Herman S.C.

    family law

    Mark Shiller Blog**

    Mark Shiller, Certus Legal Group Ltd.

    estate and wealth planning

    M.U. Law School Faculty Blog

    M.U. Law School

    general

    Mastantuono & Coffee

    Mastantuono & Coffee S.C.

    criminal defense

    Milwaukee Bankruptcy Blog

    Croke & Croke, S.C.

    bankruptcy and debt consolidation

    Milwaukee Bankruptcy Law Blog

    Miller & Miller Law LLC

    bankruptcy & creditor/debtor

    Milwaukee Criminal Defense Law Blog

    Kohn Smith Roth

    criminal defense

    Milwaukee Employment Law Blog

    Alan C. Olson & Associates

    employee rights

    Milwaukee Litigation & Appeals Blog

    Gimbel Reilly Guerin & Brown LLP

    general

    On Point

    Wisconsin State Public Defender

    criminal defense

    Proof and Hearsay Blog

    Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    legal news

    Real Estate Law in Wisconsin Blog

    James, Graham Accession Law LLC

    real estate

    Rozek Law Offices

    Rozek Law Offices S.C.

    personal injury

    SCOWstats

    Alan Ball, M.U. History Professor

    Wisconsin Supreme Court stats

    Tesar Law Group

    Tesar Law Group S.C.

    estate planning

    That's My Argument**

    Brandon Evans, Kendricks, Bordeau, Adamini, Greenlee & Keefe P.C.

    general

    Tristan's Landlord-Tenant Law Blog

    Tristen Pettit, Petrie & Stocking S.C.

    landlord-tenant

    Waukesha Criminal Defense Law Blog

    Craig Kuhary, Walden, Schuster & Vaklyes

    criminal defense

    Wessels Elder Law

    Carol Wessels, Wessels Law Office LLC

    elder law

    WisBlawg

    U.W. Law School

    legal research

    Wisconsin Business Law Blog

    Schober Schober & Mitchell S.C.

    business law

    Wisconsin Civil Justice Council Blog

    Wisconsin Civil Justice Inc.

    general, civil justice

    Wisconsin DUI Law Blog

    Melowski & Associates

    DUI defense

    Wisconsin Eminent Domain Blog

    Eminent Domain Services LLC

    eminent domain

    Wisconsin Employment & Labor Law Blog

    Randy Enochs, Enochs Law Firm

    employment and labor

    Wisconsin Family Lawyer Blog

    Wessel Lehker & Fumelle Inc.

    family law

    Wisconsin Law Blog

    Fitzpatrick, Skemp & Associates LLC

    personal injury, worker's compensation

    Wisconsin Municipal Law Blog**

    Terry Dunst, Bakke Norman Law Offices

    municipal law

    Wisconsin Personal Injury Blog

    The Cochran Firm

    personal injury

    Wisconsin Unemployment Law Blog

    Victor Forberger

    unemployment law, labor and employment

    * Blog affiliated to a law firm with less than 20 attorneys. “Active” means the blog posted at least 12 times in 2015 and at least once in 2016, or at least twice in the last three months. If the blog does not have an actual name, the law firm name is used.

    ** These are “independent” blogs. They are not affiliated or branded by a law firm. However, this list still notes the law firm or entity of the independent blogger listed.

    17 Active Wisconsin Mid-sized and Large-firm Law Blogs*

    BLOG

    FIRM SIZE

    TOPICS

    Crivello Carlson, S.C. – On the Docket

    30+

    case decisions, legal trends, and entertaining courtroom drama.

    Dewitt Ross & Stevens, S.C.

    50+

    4 blogs: labor and employment; employee stock ownership plans; family law; immigration

    Foley & Lardner, LLP – Wisconsin Appellate Law

    150+

    12 blogs**: Wisconsin appellate; labor and employment; industry specific-developments.

    Godfrey Kahn, S.C. – All In a Day's Work

    150+

    labor and employment

    Hawks Quindel, S.C. – Writing on Your Rights

    20+

    labor and employment; family law; employee benefits; and personal injury

    O’Neil Cannon Hollman Dejong & Laing, S.C. – Employment LawScene & Tax & Wealth Advisor

    30+

    2 blogs: labor and employment; tax and wealth

     

    Ruder Ware, LLSC – The Blue Ink

     

    50+

    2 blogs: employment; local governments and school districts

    Stafford Rosenbaum, LLP

    50+

    crossover blog: municipal; appellate; labor and employment

    von Briesen & Roper, S.C.

    100+

    health

    Weiss Berzowski & Brady, LLP

    20+

    general

    Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek, S.C.

    100+

    2 blogs: patent and trademark; employee benefits

    * Some midsized and large firms have multiple “active” blogs. If the blog does not have an actual name, only the law firm name is noted.​

    ** Only one Foley blog, Wisconsin Appellate Law, is Wisconsin-specific. Other blogs offer more national perspectives. Thus, only one Foley blog is counted in the Wisconsin law blogs tally.

    If your law blog is not included on one of these lists and you think it meets the criteria for inclusion, contact Legal Writer Joe Forward at jforward@wisbar.org.

    ​​​



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