About publishing an appellate website or blawg

If you’re tempted to join the appellate commentariat, come on in! The water’s fine and the field isn’t exactly overcrowded. Here are a few hints that may make your plunge more enjoyable and effective.

First, be prepared to devote some time to publishing, on a regular basis. You should regard this as an essential part of your marketing efforts. If you decide that you’ll publish on those occasions when you don’t have anything else to do, you’ll inevitably deprioritize your site, and you’ll quickly risk falling into dormancy. You should aim to have new content no less often than every other week, preferably every week. Publishing your site has to be a Big Rock.

Next, select your niche with care. You’re always better off following Mark Twain’s advice: write what you know. But also write what you’re passionate about. You may decide that domestic-relations law is an untapped reservoir, a market opportunity for you. But if you hate-hatehate divorce and custody work, your blogging on that topic will suffer.

Write in your voice. Ideally, you should have an interesting voice. After all, if you write well, you’re more likely to post things that will bring others back again and again for more. Don’t try to mimic me, or Jay, or Hemingway, for that matter.

Post useful content. Specifically, post what your target audience will find useful. I try to ensure that I include in my new-case analyses a mention of how the new holding will affect how lawyers try their cases or handle their appeals going forward. If my readers come away thinking, Gee, I’m glad I checked that site today, I will have succeeded. So can you.

Jump in already. A thousand hours of analysis are wasted if you don’t make a single decision. A thousand decisions are wasted if you don’t act on any of them. You can do this. If you’re like me, you’ll find the experience enjoyable (this is my creative-writing outlet), even as you’re performing a public service. And the added exposure to your practice won’t hurt. Come on in; the water’s fine!