TAG | books
When I launched this blog in November 2002, I joined the ranks of what then were only a small number of legal blogs. Among those who inspired me back then to start blogging was New Orleans lawyer Ernest Svenson, better known to the legal world as Ernie the Attorney. Ernie started his first blog on March 2, 2002, and later launched a second blog, PDF for Lawyers. Over the years, I have heard other lawyers say that Ernie helped inspire them to start blogging just as he helped inspire me.
Who better, then, to write the book on blogging for lawyers than Ernie Svenson? That is exactly what he has done in Blogging in One Hour for Lawyers, recently published by the Law Practice Management Section of the American Bar Association.
As the name suggests, this is a concise guide to blogging with a focus on the mechanics of creating and launching a blog. Ernie starts the book by answering some basic questions about what blogs are and why lawyers should care about them. In subsequent chapters, he then walks through the anatomy of a blog, selecting the right blog software, setting up a blog, designing a blog and writing your initial posts.
Ernie also covers how to promote your blog and offers ideas on how to come up with a steady stream of material to blog about. In the final chapter, he reviews ethical considerations and offers tips for success. An appendix includes lists of recommended law blogs and recommended reading along with a checklist for new bloggers.
If you are new to blogging, you will not go wrong in buying this book. Ernie covers virtually every question a new blogger might have, right down to basics such as how long to make your posts and what writing style to use.
Reluctantly, I do have one quibble to point out. The book focuses heavily on the little-used blogging platform Typepad and gives only short shrift to WordPress, which the most-popular blogging platform by far. A recent study found that only 2 percent of blogs use Typepad, while 48 percent use WordPress. Despite that, the chapters on setting up, designing and posting to a blog all describe how to do these things in Typepad, but not in WordPress.
In addition, the book fails to distinguish between WordPress.com, which is a commercial hosting site for WordPress blogs, and WordPress.org, which is the home of the blogging software. In fact, in briefly describing WordPress, the book sounds as if it is talking about the software, but it provides a screenshot of and link to the WordPress.com site. The book makes it sound as if the WordPress software is difficult to install, set up and design, whereas most website hosting providers will install it automatically on your site at no cost and there are any number of free, attractive design templates available to use with WordPress at the click of a button.
That said, when it comes down to using the different blogging platforms, there is not that much difference among them. My own recommendation would be WordPress over Typepad, but I would still say that this book is worth obtaining. As Ernie himself says in the book, even if you’ve opted for a WordPress blog, the book’s sections on set up and design “will still be useful for understanding the typical options for a blog, and why you’d choose some things and not others.”
The cost of the book is $39.95. Members of the ABA’s Law Practice Management Section can buy it for the discounted price of $24.95.
You are not likely to find an author who knows more about legal blogging than Ernie Svenson. If you are thinking about starting a blog, this book will walk you through the essential elements you’ll need to know.
Join me next Friday for the North Carolina Bar Association’s Law Practice Management Annual Meeting and “Un”conference. This is a first-of-its-kind program for the NCBA, with a series of informal un-conference sessions sandwiched between two feature presentations. As the brochure says, the program is “about energizing your practice in hard economic times.”
The featured afternoon speaker is Reid Trautz, one of the country’s best known practice-management advisors and author of Reid My Blog! His topic is, “Marketing Your Brains Out Without Losing Your Mind.”
I kick things off in the morning with a program on social and professional networking for lawyers. I plan to cover the gamut — and, yes, I will talk about Twitter.
It all takes place Feb. 13, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., in Cary. If you’re thinking of attending, don’t think too long — tomorrow is the last day for early-bird registration discounts.
If you are in the Boston area, tune in tonight to WGBH 2 at 7 p.m. for a special episode of Greater Boston that promises to provide an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at the highest court in Massachusetts, the Supreme Judicial Court. “This is the first time the SJC has allowed the media to examine up close and personal what they do,” says Greater Boston executive producer Linda Polach. “The Greater Boston team had unprecedented access to the justices and areas rarely seen by the general public. We hope viewers will better understand how the court works, who the justices are on and off the bench, and why their work is important to all citizens of the Commonwealth.”
If you are not in the WGBH viewing area, clips from the program will be posted on the Greater Boston Web site tomorrow morning.
As of today, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals has a new Web address. Here’s the notice from the court:
“The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit is relocating its Internet Web page to its own in-house servers. As part of this process, the court’s Web page address and domain name will be changed to www.cafc.uscourts.gov on October 1, 2007. The former Web page address and domain name, www.fedcir.gov, will continue to be kept active through December 31, 2007, in order to redirect users to the new address. The new domain name brings the Federal Circuit into conformance with the Web site naming convention used by the other United States Courts of Appeals. Web site authors and others who have created links to pages inside the www.fedcir.gov Web page should change the URL of those links to the new URL on October 1, 2007. Please direct any questions to the CAFC Webmaster at email@example.com. We apologize for any inconvenience you may experience during this transition.”