This post is the third in a series of interviews with the professionals who live at the intersection of law, the internet, and social media
This week brings with it more interviews of the people who are at the very top of the game when it comes to online presence. Today I bring you an interview with John Day, a prominent attorney who has been blogging since 2004. I met John at a Beer for Bloggers event hosted by Kevin O’Keefe of Lexblog following the Avvocating Conference, and was quickly impressed with his early adoption of blogging, and acceptance of the idea that an attorney needs to have a strong online presence. We got to talking, discovered that we grew up only a few miles from each other and knew some of the same people, and somehow I managed to convince an already busy John that he should do an interview for this blog. So here it is, one of the legal industry’s early bloggers, sharing his thoughts on the topic.
GJEL: John, you were one of the early adopters of blogging in the legal field. Can you explain how you found out that blogging was something that could be beneficial to you and your practice, and how you decided to start blogging?
John: I discovered blogging in late 2004 and thought it would be a great way to share important, timely information with my fellow lawyers on an informal basis. I started the blog in Feb. 2005 and 1712 posts later I still use it for that purpose.
GJEL: You use Lexblog as the platform for your blog. How did you decide to go that route?
John: Kevin O’Keefe was, and is, the leader in the field of lawyer blogging. I went to him for the same reason I buy suits at Brooks Brothers.
GJEL: What were some of your goals for social media for your practice? Did you expect to network, find clients, improve your Google rankings, or something else? Do you feel that you’re achieving those goals?
John: My goal was to share information with the hope that referring lawyers would see that I was a competent lawyer who kept up-to-date in the field. I hope that goal has been reached, but it is difficult to measure the effect of blogging alone when I also write books, articles, newsletters and do a significant amount of speaking in the torts area.
GJEL: The list of speaking engagements on your firm profile is quite lengthy, you’ve written a book, and you’re a practicing attorney. How on earth do you find time to blog?
John: I usually blog between 4:15 and 5:00 in the morning, although sometimes on weekends I will do several posts at once and schedule them for publication later that week. The software used by LexBlog permits me to write a post one day and actually make it available for viewing later. I confess that blogging takes time and when I am in the book updating mode (which is right now – the third edition of Day on Torts comes out in April) things get a little hectic.
GJEL: In addition to blogging, you and one of your colleagues edit the Trial Law Report newsletter, which covers many aspects of civil litigation in Tennessee. How did you decide to put out a newsletter, and what are some of your goals in doing so? Is the intended audience for the newsletter different from the intended audience of the blog?
John: I publish and write the newsletter with the goal of educating judges and lawyers (including myself) on changes in the Tennessee law of torts, civil procedure, evidence and trial. I also do it to make money – I charge for the newsletter and basically get paid to stay current on the law while at the same time demonstrating to my peers that I do so.
GJEL: You and I met at the Avvocating Conference last week. Did you come up with any new ideas to expand your personal or firm presence on the internet? How do you feel about Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media platforms and their uses for attorneys?
John: I did not meet you at the conference – I met you in a bar. You say you were at the conference and I will assume that you were. On social media – lawyers, especially us old guys, need to understand that the cheese has moved. Social media, a phrase that did not exist when I started practicing law, will continue to be a growing force as lawyers try to figure out how to market their practice efficiently.