California Bar Reminds Lawyers to Stop Being So Self Promotional

The California Bar has issued an opinion on the use of blogs as a vehicle to advertising their successes but anyone who writes a successful blog knows that self promotional material should be posted on a firm website or in a newsletter, not a blog.

According to a Law360 article today by Andrew Strickler, lawyers he interviewed who engage in social media called the draft opinion about blogs and lawyer advertising “welcome guidance.”

Andrew reported the nonbonding California opinion released in December interprets the professional conduct rule governing lawyer ads and solicitations and applies it to blogs ranging from the highly personal — a lawyer who writes about gardening, for example — to bald-faced promotional blogs complete with proclamations about big legal wins. The opinion finds that, for most attorney blogs, the issue of whether it falls under the advertising rule barring guarantees, fictitious names, and other misdirections comes down to if it is used to promote a lawyer’s availability for employment.

Good blogging practice should NEVER include self-promotion. Blogs are for thought leadership. They demonstrate your expertise on a topic or industry and provide content that you can push out to other social media platforms and traditional media. Self-promotional material will defeat the purpose of your blog and create clutter around what would otherwise be important reading for your audience. Blog posts will live on the Internet forever and drive traffic to you

DEC 17 2014

when a client – or a potential client – Googles your name or a specific subject. It’s why WSJ’s Law Blog or the LA Times’ Pop and Hiss does not promote their writers or the awards they win for their reporting.

So while this guidance is helpful for those who do not understand the difference between a real blog and a self-promotional newsletter, the most useful guidance on setting up and maintaining a well-read blog should come from marketing and PR resources who understand the medium. Otherwise, just post your Chambers ranking or Super Lawyers listing on your bio.