Thursday, January 5, 2012

Hiring Law Firm Blog Writers is Perfectly Acceptable

Lawyers are used to defending their profession.  There isn't a medical malpractice lawyer alive who hasn't had to deal at one time or another with some angry citizen blaming the downfall of the entire nation on the sleazy work of attorneys attacking innocent doctors.  Everyone has heard the joke about lawyers chained to the bottom of the ocean.  But, hey, that's alright.  We're attorneys.  Our livelihood is rooted in potential conflict.  We can take criticism.

While lawyers  might get more public abuse than others, every professional takes their fair share of attacks.  We know, because we've seen criticisms lobbed at us even after we stopped actually practicing law and moved into the legal marketing side of things.  As legal content writers, there is a select minority of marketing-types  who can't resist making jabs at the work of copywriters.  Their  complaint always take some form of this argument:  An attorney should always write every single word on their website and blog themselves.  Anything less is disingenuous.  

We strongly beg to differ.  A few points on that issue...

1. Hiring legal content writers does not magically make it impossible for members of the firm or a solo to also  write content.  In fact, in our experience, hiring writers for help actually makes attorneys write even MORE than they usually would on their own. Why?  Because there is something about the Momentum of having quality, consistent content updated frequently that inspires firms to give their all to the online marketing effort.  When doing it alone it often seems overwhelming, and so nothing gets done.

2. Writers often take the ideas, perspective, and interests of the practicing attorneys and turn them into blog posts.  In this way, the writer is a conduit which allows an otherwise busy attorney to share a perspective online that he wouldn't have time for without the help.

3. Good law content writers do not produce bland copy that has no relation to the firm.  There may be some bad content producers out there, but anyone of quality incorporates the perspective of the firm.  Throwing up content with little connection to a firm merely for linking purposes may be questionable, but writing specifically for a firm's audience by another is not. 

4. Even if outside writers take total control of a blog, since when is it inappropriate for businesses to outsource an area of their practice that they have less expertise with or lack time for?  Attorneys frequently get outside help for actual legal work, so why on earth would it suddenly not make sense to do the same for marketing help.  This miffs us especially because in our case all of our writers are also attorneys.  It makes no sense that we could be hired to help work on a case for a client but not to help share legal information on the firm's behalf in online content pieces.

Whew.  After that rant we feel better.  We should probably stop at 4 points, because our critics are not all that persuasive or numerous anyway.  By responding too forcefully we may actually be giving them more weight than they deserve.

Suffice to say....our writers are very proud of our work and will defend it against anyone.

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