I’ve spent majority of my time at LexBlog visiting attorney websites and reading their blogs. Just last Friday, I went through about 500 attorney websites that claimed to have a “blog”. This batch of url’s has been filled with wonderful blogs and others that were more than lacking. This morning I came across a farewell post to a great blog that I had not known existed. The post can be read here: The Legal Whiteboard Farewell Post. While I normally would quickly scan this kind of post and move on, I felt the need to stop and really read the wisdom from a well seasoned professor/lawyer. It’s a good read and I highly suggest taking ten minutes to dive in and take something of value out.

While Prof. Henderson’s post reflects only a small part of the dead blogs (blogs that have been discontinued, but remain online), I thought I would take the time to discuss what it means when I see a dead blog. To let you know, I have a list of 327 dead law blogs and these blogs can be broken up into sub-categories each with vastly different meanings for the attorney or firm’s website.

Blank Bead Blogs

These blogs are pretty easy to figure out what may have happened. Either the attorney didn’t know of the blog page or did know. Which means, if the attorney wasn’t aware of the blog page,  the blog itself could have been a feature of their platform that was never explained. Or, maybe, they never cared to explore their site. If they did, in fact know of the page, they might have had the intention, but never got started. The worst case is knowing about the page and they didn’t care that the page was there, blank. In any case, a blank dead page on an attorney website is a radioactive deterrent against potential clients. Just take the page down.

Everyone’s first post on a WordPress site. Many people’s last post.

Never got the help it needed Dead Blog

For one reason or another, you can tell these blogs struggled. Either the blogger was a great writer, but unmotivated or they overthought blogging and couldn’t bring themselves to just write. Really, these are blogs that are missing that essential “something” that comes from a person dedicate to blogging for others. You can read the last several posts, while they are decent (maybe even good), the blog itself sank waiting for someone honest to come along and throw them a life-raft of criticism or help. It might be better to just let these ones go and remove them. You might find it more refreshing to start over if you choose you want to start blogging again.

The slow march to death.

Just Dead

This is oddly more common than one would imagine of the dead blogs out there. Blog posts are being routinely published, all decent-to-good, and consistent, but the blog just…sorta…ends. In the past, I’ve made efforts to reach out to these bloggers and see if they would ever reconsider blogging again. Some wanted to just sit on their laurels which is fine. Others found that life was just too busy and they had to cut something out of their day. One person was incapable of continuing due to health and I wish them well. However, while life can throw you a million curve-balls,  I’ve never found blogging too difficult to just attempt something, anything. 

Euthanized Dead Blogs

The last type I’ll write about are the blogs that deserved to die. I’ve found more ghost written or self-promo heavy dead blogs than any other type. You don’t have to be rocket scientist to know that these blogs were going to fail. Some salesman convinced the attorney that their ROI would be acceptable after the site generates more traffic with a high conversion rate. If you didn’t understand that last sentence, that’s okay, most people don’t and that’s the trap. These blogs are the absolute easiest to understand what had happened: the attorney got wise and saw that their business hadn’t increased. The best thing to do is cut your loses and remove the content. In the long run, you’ll lose good clients that read your terrible post and thought to go somewhere else.

In case you needed an attorney to tell you how slick ice is

It is your right to end your blog for whatever reason you see fit, but give some consideration before you pull the plug. Heck, I’ll take time to help a struggling blogger and I know many LexBloggers who would be more than willing to jump in. For the others that have blank pages or lack-luster dead blogs, consider taking them down before you hurt your reputation any further. Finally, for those that has had a rough go of life and cut blogging out, I wish you the best and hope things get better. As always, hope someone found this useful. Happy Blogging!

I haven’t written a donut’s post in a while and it was about time that I did. So, here is an update to what I have been working on.

I’m in my 10th week at my current position as Business Analyst at LexBlog and I’m still attempting to define exactly what I do and don’t do. From writing and editing documents to advising coworkers on contacts, from diving in headlong to LexBlog’s history to looking at all-the-data from every one of our multiple databases, there’s really a lot I get to play with in any given week. As I get my hands on more information internally and externally about the legal news world, I find that I see more connections in the pipes than I could possibility direct or redirect into a useful project. This can be difficult to find what works in terms of business and strategy.

To clarify, I’m less in the business of finding what works and more in the business of finding what works for LexBlog. The seemingly chaotic mess of information with old Google Drive sales docs, SalesForce csv files, a comprehensive list of law firms, and sheer number of databases (all with their own lists of info) could drive someone to insanity, but I know better. I’m becoming an expert on LexBlog itself and that takes time. This information makes my position a bit valuable as a walking database of, “We’ve talked to them before”; “We have info on that”; and, my favorite, “Have we tried…?”. The last is my favorite because I already know the answer. 

Besides making more work for everyone, I’m still reaching out to potential free members when I can. I read law blogs, sort through the endless lists of firm websites, and try my best to convince bloggers that my intentions are genuine. Lucky for me, my intentions are in-fact genuine. Today, I’ll be hitting a major milestone in outreach with my 300th outreached email. That’s 300 blog sites, 300 blog authors, and 300+ read law blog posts of which I’ve written about. That’s is only a small percentage of the nearly 5,000, yup 5k, websites that I have looked at and sorted. I’ve also seen every state bar site, AmLaw 200 site, and every other legal news site available in English (and many non-English). In the mix of all this legal data and content, I can tell you one truth, LexBlog is a stand-alone organization that is different in nearly every way than almost any company.

LexBlog stands out as a transparent company, seemingly rare anymore. It would almost seem that my job is to learn and translate that knowledge unrestricted. I attempt to be as transparent with people as possible as of personal belief, but it is an expectation at LexBlog. Whether they be potential members, customers, or coworkers, I’m allowed and encouraged to be transparent at my job. I get to act as a kind of data filter for this reason. I learn as much as possible, given time restrictions, and then I cut all the useless out to create a single coherent series of thoughts, but with the availability of more info. I’m not always the best at this and information overload is a thing, but I’m learning to focus my efforts on what matters most to various audiences while still remaining available for questions. In this light, I like to think I’m a reminder of priorities, but I’ve found that I need reminded of priorities more than most people due to the depth of information I’m privy to exploring. I enjoy new projects and anything I can dive headlong into, but at some point I need to ask myself “what use does this have?”. This line of thinking has allowed me to be on many projects.

In just the short 2.5 months at this position, I’ve helped with webinars, collected/disseminated data from a range of sources, and have researched more organizations/topics than I can count. I have a running list of projects that I would love to get people on board, but those will all come in time. In the meantime, I’ll continue to find more work for everyone and help in any way I can. I’ll just be over here making sure we have enough apple fritters, maple bars, and so forth for everyone to get what they want.

Last week, I hosted a live webinar giving those interested a look into how the publishing team makes editorial decisions for our network of 22,000 bloggers (now 23,000). It was a joy to engage with bloggers who hoped to make their blogging more impactful, wanted to get more out of their relationship with LexBlog, or were simply interested in learning more about our legal publishing company. That webinar has led to many follow-up conversations with participants about blogging and their inclusion on LexBlog. If you missed it, you’re in luck–I will be doing it all over again on Wednesday June 26 2019 at 1:00 p.m. EST, but this time with an expanded focus on information primarily relevant to platform members.  

Just like last time, the webinar will be free and will go over the publishing team’s methods for offering timely, relevant insights on legal commentary and news for readers, including:

  • Deciding which blogs are syndicated on Lexblog.com, which includes criteria for accepting or rejecting membership applications. 
  • Choosing daily stories from bloggers on LexBlog.com to feature on the site’s front page. 
  • Explaining the LexBlog publishing team’s criteria for “front page worthy” news. 
  • Creating and showcasing contributor profile pages for firms, blogs, and authors on LexBlog.com. 

There will be a Q&A following the presentation, so come prepared with questions! I look forward to seeing you there. Here is the link to register. 

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve blogged on the LexBlog. I wanted to post some general soft-knowledge lessons I’ve picked up with my time here about life at a small company. Many of these I’ve learned from others directly, but many of them are from my observations. They are also good little quips that seem to float around the office as a sense of daily culture.

Be proactive: If you see a problem, fix it or bring it to someone’s attention immediately. If you don’t, the problem will persist.

Research then ask questions: Everyone’s time is valuable. Before I ask someone a bunch of questions about an idea or ask them to explain a difficult topic, I see what I can find first. This helps me ask better questions and respect other’s time.

You have time: This one is new for me, but I’m trying to make sense of it. Really, I think the concept of “you have time”  is one part making yourself available and one part prioritization. Though I have dozens of projects that I could, should, and will work on, I like to think that anyone can ask me for my thoughts and I can make their job a little easier. If I think of my position as, “making others job’s easier”, then I should always be available to do my job.

People see more than you think: Most of the tech small companies and we use is collaborative. I can see what emails the sales department is sending out. I can see the publishing team’s efforts with outreach. I can see everyone that has viewed, edited, or commented on a doc. It’s like a small town mentality, we’re in each other’s business, because that’s the business. If someone is not pulling their slack, others see it. If someone is going above and beyond, we see that too.

Be authentic: I talk to many of the same people every week, consistently. I’m in a department of one like many others. You can’t hide in a group or find comfort in large departments or hierarchies. These large business structures allow each person to develop and use different “faces”. People end up developing a face they use to talk to the sales people or a face they use to talk to management. At a small company, those two groups could be the same person. If you’re caught using a face with one person and another walks up to join the conversation, people will notice something wrong.

Stay/don’t-stay in your lane: Every so often, a problem arises or a project is suggested where a few people can raise their hand with the solution. While each person is eager to help and be an influencer, each of us take careful precautions not to step on each other’s toes. This is more about finding the right fit for a project or task and less about calling dibs. Each person needs enough restraint to allow the process of problem solving reach a natural conclusion, while also providing useful insight. If something is massively awry, then you should speak up, but be careful about other’s feelings.

Navigate politics wisely: There are several projects I would love to just dive in and get my hands dirty, but that would mean stepping on precious toes. What this really means, I need to think about an attack plan, something well thought out. Then, and only then, will I try to jump into those projects. Luckily enough for me, there’s more work than time in the universe and this gives me an opportunity to really think about my goals for the work. Honestly, the same can be said the other way. I can hear the pointed hesitation in meetings. Again, luckily everyone that works at LexBlog considers other’s thoughts and feelings. We all know that we work better as a family and less like a dog-eat-dog corporation.  

My goal with this post was to explore some everyday culture points of LexBlog and to provide some advice that others might have noticed. Hopefully, I will be able to continue to learn and add on to this list.

In my short time here at LexBlog, I’ve learned that spontaneity is the norm. Though this is not something that I’m used to, it’s something that I’ve been doing my best to embrace.

I’m a person who likes plans (both the Death Cab album and the act of deciding things in advance). I wake up each morning with a solid plan for the day and almost always stick to that, but this summer I’ve felt implored to try a new approach. 

I’ve noticed a pattern at LexBlog: my colleagues work on a whim. This doesn’t mean that everyone here leaves tasks until the last possible moment and hopes that projects come together in the end. In other words, it’s not the procrastination that constantly consumes my academic career.

What I’ve observed at LexBlog can only be described as uninhibited inspiration at work. Employees aren’t forced to “stick to the status quo” because the status quo never remains stagnant for more than a day or two.

Setting goals and accomplishing them on a whim is not an easy task, nor is it one that I can claim to have mastered. Our weekly blogging hour still fills me with anxiety as I spend half of the hour agonizing over what to write about. But despite my fear of the impromptu, I plan to plan a little less.

お早う!
(It’s Tuesday morning in Japan so I’m speaking to you from the future!)

The LexBlog Seattle headquarters are located at the WeWork Holyoke building in downtown Seattle and as members of the WeWork community, we can “rent” a workspace at any WeWork location in the world. Pretty cool!

I’ve been enamored with Japanese culture pretty much my whole life, so this year I made a check in my bucket list to take a trip out to Japan with my partner with most of our time spent in Tokyo. I decided I wanted the full Japanese experience and rented a workspace in the WeWork “Iceberg” location in Shibuya City, Tokyo.

The Iceberg location has a lot of the same great amenities of the other locations like open workspaces and kitchen:

The view from my workspace.

The downstairs open workspaces, there are also conference rooms and private single work booths.

Looking down on the cafe and kitchen from the stairs leading to the upstairs workspaces.

Upstairs is another workspace along with more conference rooms and individual privacy spaces:

The upstairs is bright and airy.

Private single workspaces.

In addition, there is also a cafe where you can purchase smoothies, snacks, and even a bento meal:

The cafe is in the front entrance before check in so anyone can purchase items from the cafe.

Prices are in Japanese Yen. A rough calculation of USD is moving the decimal over two so 910¥ is roughly $9.10.

Maybe this will be lunch?

Just like at home this WeWork location also hosts events for the week and I just happened to come on “Drinking Night with WeWorkers”:

This week’s events at Iceberg, Tokyo!

One thing I wasn’t expecting is that there are few that speak English and many Japanese people are very shy, so trying to strike up a conversation with random people on the street is hard unless they know English and want to practice speaking it.

Three months before my trip I started studying Japanese a few hours every day, but I’ve barely skimmed the surface of this complicated language so my Japanese is very basic and broken at best. The staff at this location speak English very well so communication is much easier. I’m hoping for the opportunity to speak with more Japanese WeWorkers at the mixer party tonight.

WeWork Tokyo has some awesome sticker swag!!

So far, Tokyo is a blast!

Mark your calendars! We’re broadcasting a free webinar, “How LexBlog Makes Editorial Decisions,” hosted by LexBlog Associate Editor, Melissa Lin on Monday, June 3rd, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. EST. You can register for the webinar here

Melissa will give viewers an inside look into the LexBlog publishing team’s methods for continually offering timely, relevant insights and commentary on the law for readers, including: 

  • Deciding which blogs are syndicated on Lexblog.com, which includes criteria for accepting or rejecting membership applications. 
  • Choosing daily stories from bloggers on LexBlog.com to feature on the site’s front page, and explaining the LexBlog publishing team’s criteria for “front page worthy” news. 
  • Creating and showcasing contributor profile pages for firms, blogs, and authors on LexBlog.com. 

Have questions already? Great! A live Q&A from the audience will follow her presentation.

 Don’t forget to register below to save your spot!

Register Here

It has been six months now that our customer success and design teams at LexBlog have been upgrading and redesigning our legacy blogs to our latest software. Each member of our team will take responsibility for assigned legacy blogs each week to reach out to bloggers and editors and introduce our project and the benefits of upgrading. These benefits can range from the visual appeal of having a modern design and a blog responsive to different desktop and mobile devices to the search engine optimization positives and ongoing software updates for security and new features. 

While this has been a large project, especially for our design team, I can imagine it is also unexpected to all the bloggers we have reached out to as sometimes change is not always expected. Personally, I have found this project fun and interesting as it has given me the chance to see some of our first designed and active blogs on the LexBlog Network dating back ten years. Reviewing these blogs there were some that were much more active in publishing than others but it gave me the chance to communicate with many of our publishers that I have yet had a chance to meet over my two-plus years working with the company. 

Coming towards the end of our project and seeing the feedback that has since been provided, I am happy to say that most all have been positive. More importantly, though it has reopened communication with bloggers who I was not familiar with and creating that relationship is important as we want to make sure that it is known that we are here to help and that we care. We are now beginning the discussion of what we can do more to make sure that communication remains ongoing. Just because someone doesn’t reach out to our support team, doesn’t mean we can’t reach out to them. I’m excited to see what ideas we have between all teams within the LexBlog organization towards continuing to build lasting relationships with bloggers on our network.

If you didn’t grow up hiking, you may have unappealing stereotypes associated to the activity. If you are one of those people (like I was), I encourage you to dip your toes into the water, and see if you can combat your own assumptions. Go on one hike and pay attention to how you feel afterwards, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

I grew up in a family of 10 people, to be more specific, I grew up with 6 sisters, and just 1 brother. All of us females were athletic, yes in the sense that we all played sports growing up, but certainly were not considered outdoorsy. Our parents were too tied up with working to support a family size of 10, and maintaining the house/taking care of us to take us out to explore the outdoors for fun. I started going hiking around the age of 18 years old with a couple of my siblings (once we were able to drive and take ourselves to a hiking spot). After first hiking, I regretfully questioned myself as to why I had never tried hiking before; I loved it. Of course I must say, that I am much more motivated to hike when the weather permits as being sunny and on the warmer side. But now, it’s one of my favorite things to do on a day off; not all-day hiking, but maybe a couple to a few hours. Luckily my significant other adores hiking, so it’s a great way for us to do something together that we both enjoy.

Why Would Walking Through Dirty Nature Be Fun?

One beautiful thing about hiking is that it is FREE. Of course, more and more you’re required to pay for parking, but that can constitute buying a year-long pass to park rather than paying a relatively high fee every time that you need to park. Some places are still free to park which is awesome if you can snag a spot there! But hiking itself is free! Nowadays, just about everything costs money, but with going on a hike, it’s just about free to be there for however long you want.

Another great thing about hiking that differs from walking around the block or neighborhood is that you’re physically challenged. Most trails will have inclination at some point (especially if you’re hiking a mountain), and sometimes there isn’t good traction, either due to mud if it’s too wet or if the path is too dry that it can fall apart causing you to slip in a different kind of way; these obstacles make it fun. If you ditch the traditional path and want to follow a path of rocks, you’re free to do that too. The challenge keeps it fun and interesting. You have to be paying attention or else you might trip over a root, or god forbid, fall off of the edge of the cliff. You also don’t have to commit to the hike if you don’t feel up for it anymore; you can turn around at any point!

Think of hiking this way: you’re getting exercise and your steps in for the day. You’re burning more than you think, especially if you’re hiking for extended periods of time, and even more so if your route includes much inclination. Take your dog for some company; you’ll be giving him/her some great exercise too, and the chance for them to get out, have fun, and explore a new place and have some interaction with other hikers and their dogs; dogs LOVE hiking.

With whoever you choose to go with, you’re getting quality time with them. You can choose to have a deep conversation, small talk periodically, or not talk much at all to just enjoy their presence(s) and the experience of the hike itself. I wouldn’t recommend going alone in terms of safety, so whoever you choose to go with, make sure that they do in fact enjoy hiking or are open to trying it, otherwise a hike with someone complaining might overcast your experience.

Mentally, hiking is wonderful. You’re getting out, and doing something again, free, healthy both mentally and physically, quality time with your dog and/or person(s), and experiencing something fun.  Seeing beautiful sights is fun; and most hikes have lookout points (if it’s a mountain, usually that requires hiking up a little bit to see a pretty view). It’s nice to set goals when starting the hike with whoever you’re with in terms of how far/how long you’d both/all like to hike for; that puts you all on the same page, and gives you a goal to strive to easily achieve or to push yourself to reach. While hiking, you’re putting your mind elsewhere, giving you a break from whatever stressors are in your life to enjoy the beautiful earth, and take care of yourself. Hiking is a great self-care practice.

So, open a new tab on your computer or phone, and look-up nearby hikes that look interesting to you, and ask someone to join you! Pack healthy, satisfying snacks, especially if you plan to be hiking for an extended period of time, and certainly pack cold water! If you’re hiking up hills in the heat, you will really crave cold water…my partner and I have made that mistake before, and we actually had to cut our hike short so that we could go back to the car and drink some water, LOL. Dress comfortably and appropriate for the weather.  In the summertime, I recommend wearing exercise/running/basketball shorts, SOCKS, tennis shoes, and either a tank-top or a light t-shirt. If you plan to be there for longer, bring a backpack that contains snacks and cold water. If you plan on going on a light/quick hike with someone, just bringing yourselves and a water bottle(s) is perfectly doable.

You don’t need to be super outdoorsy to enjoy hiking, I certainly am not. I like hiking, but I don’t want to sleep outside in nature, and that’s okay! Expand your horizons, and give it a try, I really do think that you’ll be pleasantly surprised. 🙂

Signing off,

Veronica

Hi, all. I’m a LexBlog summer intern. I am a senior studying psychology at Tulane University in New Orleans. Hope you enjoy my first post, and more gifs to come.

Is sentencing an individual to years in prison for harmless drug use warranted? In New Orleans, the answer is, unfortunately, yes. As an intern at Orleans Public Defense, I saw injustice in action as countless men and women were denied the right to a fair trial due to the color of their skin. 

Dubbed the “most incarcerated city”, New Orleans has made a habit of locking up people of color for even the most minor offenses. People of color make up a whopping 86 percent of the city’s court system despite only comprising 60 percent of the population. This discrepancy is largely due to officers’ tendency to arrest African-American individuals over other races. 

African-American men and women in New Orleans are already disenfranchised and over 85 percent cannot afford lawyers. Orleans Public Defenders are tasked with too many cases to provide each individual case with the attention it deserves. And as a result, these individuals are left to the legislative wolves.

In order for much-needed change to occur in the courts, the people of Louisiana must take action, and soon.