Strategist - FindLaw Law Firm Business Blog

Strategist - The FindLaw Law Firm Business Blog


How many times have you stumbled upon a blog that was once active, but hasn't been updated since 2009? Or you go to someone's website and see the infamous WordPress placeholder: "Hello world! Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!" Gross.

It's easy to start a blog. It's far more difficult to keep one alive. If your firm's blog has stagnated, and you're in desperate need of a little motivation, here are five reasons to resurrect your blog, including SEO benefits, two easy types of posts for when you're stuck, marketing benefits, and of course, the creative outlet:

We've talked a lot about the importance of local-mobile searches, but here's the two-sentence recap: Searches from mobile phones is rising exponentially, and Google prioritizes local business listings on its search results page. Plus, adding a local listing simply makes it easier for people who are looking for you to actually find you, especially since everybody uses their smartphone for navigation.

That latter point is why you may want to sign up for Apple Maps Connect as soon as possible. While adding yourself to Apple's database may be of no use whatsoever in search engine queries, it will help the legions of iPhone users locate your office.

Former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee died Tuesday at the age of 93. Bradlee was the editor of the Post during one of its most difficult times, and the time that made it famous: the Watergate scandal of 1972-73. Even long after Watergate, Bradlee continued to helm the Post, cementing its place as a national newspaper, not just a "metropolitan daily."

So what lessons can lawyers learn from Bradlee?

Penguin? What's that? Don't worry if those are the first three words out of your mouth. Unless you -- like those of us at FindLaw -- spend all of your day worrying about search engine optimization and other online marketing buzzwords, don't feel bad that you don't know about Penguin.

In the wacky world of online marketing, it's important to know not only how to market, but how the marketing system itself works. Penguin is, for better or worse, a part of this ecosystem, and Google updated it earlier this week.

Here's why this matters for lawyers:

It's one thing to represent someone who has a questionable case. It's quite another to continue to press forward with a lawsuit when you have evidence that the case is not only questionable, but fraudulent.

If Facebook is to be believed, that's exactly what the multi-firm team that represented Paul Ceglia did. Ceglia claimed that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg sold him an ownership stake (now worth billions) in his startup social network. Ceglia's lawsuit was dismissed after evidence emerged that the contract he presented as proof of a deal was a forgery.

Fresh off that victory, Facebook isn't pursuing Ceglia for the false claims; the company is suing his lawyers.

This is one of the more absurd copyright claims, and absurd responses to a disciplinary proceeding, that you'll ever see.

Joanne Denison, an attorney, has a blog about the trials and tribulations of Mary Sykes, a 90-year-old "probate victim." The blog contains a number of allegations of corruption in the Probate Court of Cook County, Illinois, along with accusations of elder abuse and physical and mental harm inflicted upon Sykes.

The Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (IARDC) filed a complaint against Denison listing a handful of alleged ethics violations, most of which regarded her statements on her blog. In the complaint, which was published on the IARDC's website, 15 paragraphs from her blog were quoted. Denison's response? To sue, alleging a copyright violation.

Stacy Ehrisman-Mickle took on a pair of brothers as clients in early September. Knowing that she had a six-week maternity leave coming up, she immediately filed a request to postpone the hearing. After a month, and with only a week until the hearing, Judge J. Dan Pelletier Sr. denied her request, stating: "No good cause. Hearing date set prior to counsel accepting representation," reports The Associated Press.

On October 7, 2014, with her husband out of town on work, no friends or family in the area, and no daycare willing to take a 4-week-old baby, Ehrisman-Mickle showed up to court with her baby strapped to her chest -- after clearing it with her pediatrician. When her child began to cry, Judge Pelletier publicly scolded her for her behavior and questioned her parenting, commenting that she was exposing her child to many germs in court.

Judge Pelletier eventually delayed the hearing, while Ehrisman-Mickle filed a formal complaint the same day.

There's really nothing worse than a client who has a strictly casual relationship with the truth. (Well, maybe that and a client who can't pay you.) When clients lie, it makes life difficult for everyone and makes you look like a schmuck; attorney-client privilege sort of precludes exclaiming, "But he swore up and down he didn't have any other assets!" But even if no one else finds out about the lie, it harms your ability to represent your client. One lie begets another; how do you know that everything isn't a lie? Finding out requires time, which means money.

In order to fend off the possible sanctions, the bruised ego, or something as prosaic as opportunity cost, how can you make sure that your client is telling the truth? (Note that this advice isn't for clients who plan to lie to a tribunal, but rather clients who aren't being forthright with you.) Here are five signs to look out for:

In case you weren't aware, today is National Dictionary Day. We've been talking a lot about legal marketing and how solos and small practices can do it more effectively. But sometimes, there's a tendency to get loaded down in jargon, which can put people off.

You've undoubtedly heard of things like a "click-thru" and "SEO," but you may not have known what the heck is going on. So what do all of these marketing words mean?

Here are seven that every lawyer should probably know:

Amal Alamuddin. Amal Clooney. Amal Alamuddin Clooney. This whole marriage thing can get a bit confusing, right?

It's even more confusing for clients and the court, which is why the decision about whether to practice law under your maiden or married name is pretty darn important. There's the marketing and name recognition aspect. There are ethics considerations too. And, of course, the convenience factor: changing firm names, business cards, websites, and letting clients and the court know.

Maybe hyphenation is in order?