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Anatomy of a Civil Trial

II. Getting Started When I opened my own office last December, I was

paralyzed by office supplies. I wanted to be cost effective, so

I examined six vendors, and made a spreadsheet to compare items. Every company had a few things they were cheaper on. I couldn’t select a company, and I didn’t want to have six different companies that I ordered supplies from. Finally, I chose one that had the cheapest prices on the items I figured I would order most frequently.

It was one that I had a print

catalog for, but to my surprise, when I ordered online the prices were completely different. It threw off my entire Excel spreadsheet, and I was faced with the prospect of redoing the whole thing. But the best decision I made was to just continue clicking products, and pay the bill.

I’d spent too long on the

project already, and in the end, $1.00 difference in something like paperclips is not going to make or break my business. So it is with blogs. Tere are a lot of decisions to make,

but only a few that are will have a lasting impact on your blogging career. Here are the three things you need to decide when setting up:

A. Where Will Your Blog Live5 Tere are two choices—will your blog live on your website

and follows the exact same format. Te intro (“Two drivers are dead because of an alcohol-related semi-truck crash on I-95 this morning); the awkward SEO opinion, complete with hyperlinks (“As a Baltimore semi-truck accident lawyer, I am appalled at the cavalier attitude of the 18-wheel semi- truck corporations”); and the sales pitch (“If you or someone you love has been hurt or killed in a trucking accident, contact our firm”). Te News-Drone hopes that the nauseating use of keywords will garner higher Google page placement. He also hopes that accident victims will Google their own names, discover that he wrote about them, and be flattered enough to call for a consultation. Te third paradigm is the Hyrbid. Te Hybrid’s blog

lies somewhere along the continuum between the Academic and the News-Drone. Te Hybrid uses the blog primarily as a marketing tool, but recognizes that adhering slavishly to SEO is no way to develop a following of regular readers. Te Hybrid knows that staying in front of people is the best way to get new cases, and the best way to get in front of people is to write topical, interesting and personality-driven posts. When readers need a lawyer, or know someone who needs a lawyer, they only have to think about that blog they read from time-to-time.

50 Trial Reporter / Spring 2012

(shameless plug part one,; or will it be its own website (part two of my shameless plug, For your blog to exist as part of your website is usually

the cheaper option—it will be maintained by your website provider (just like your website as a whole), which will perform all SEO, design and technical support. Tere won’t be as much initial cost, because it will merely be an extension of an existing website. If you like what they have done with your website, and you need to save costs, this might be a good idea.

Some advantages of a separate website for your blog7 are

that you are not restricted to your current website provider, and you can shop around for blogging platforms and designs that appeal to you. SEO is affected to some degree by the name of the blog—for example, a blog with good keywords in

the title, like www.baltimoremedicalmalpracticelawyerblog. 5 Tis is a hotly-contested question between “guru” bloggers and legal marketing folk. For instance, see Kevin O’Keefe, Real Lawyers Have Blogs (visited Feb. 6, 2012) < search.html?site=kevin-lexblog-com&q=blog+on+separate+domain>; and the comments to Sam Glover,, Get Your Law Blog Off Your Law Firm Website (Nov. 3, 2011) <http://>. My advice? Tough I lean to having a blog on a separate website, it isn’t the crucial decision that some believe it to be. Tere are attorneys who successfully get new cases through both models. Pick one and move on. Te more important thing is to regularly update your blog, wherever it lives, with fresh, unique content.

6 To find whether a website domain name is available, go to, or any other domain purchase site. Tese sites will also give you suggestions for alternative available names based on your search.

7 Some bloggers ardently believe, though, that blogs should be separate from the webpage. Tose people contend that a website is for informative purposes only, and blogs are for opinion. Tose people tend to believe that many law firms will begin a blog with good intentions, but it will quickly lie fallow and die an un-updated death, to the detriment of the firm’s prestige whenever potential clients click that blog button, because it was last updated nine months ago. If you are of this camp, you can still have a link from your website to your blog, wherever it is.

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