Once you’ve seen what one billion looks like, every number under is just peanuts. I’ve worked with over $1 billion in the course of a week and held over $1 million in my hands. Both experiences were within a few months of each other and at two separate companies, but both are rare in and of themselves. I’ve thought long and hard about the meaning of those experiences, especially considering the realization that I would a LexBlogger for the foreseeable future. My unattainable goal at LexBlog is to find all the law blogs. That is a number much bigger and, at the same time, much smaller that you could imagine.
Out of the 1.3 million lawyers in the U.S. Illinois houses around 63,000, making up 4.79% of the total population. Considering over the last 10 years they have increased 3.53%, around 2,100 new attorneys, you would think that the number of blogs would be somehow proportionate. I mean, I found over 1000 websites, of which only around 500 had blogs. The sad truth, no one company, as far as I could find, has committed themselves to figuring out these statistics. I’m planning on changing that.
The number of attorneys in the world seems like a lot. I have searched through many law directories trying to find websites to match. That 1000, specifically 1019, was somewhat difficult to get. Law directories really like supporting the larger firms and often times will have the firm dozens of times in a search result. I should know, I had to delete all the duplicates websites. Though those websites accounted for 50-80% of the lawyers in Illinois, I know perfectly well that I’ve only scratched the tip of the iceberg for that one state. The number seems uncountable.
On the other hand, I know I’m looking for a needle in a stack of needles. Out of those 1019 websites, around 55% had blogs 410 of them had terrible blogs and 99 had a blog worthy of taking a second look. I personally emailed 22. Think about that for a second. I’ve seen over 1k Illinois lawyer websites and blogs and found only 22 that I would personally email. Sure, some of these I passed on for someone else to email or call, but I found only 2.2%. It shows how selective I am.
We recently launched the syndication portal through the Illinois State Bar called Illinois Lawyer Now. Within the first week we had quite a few blogging attorneys apply for membership. The most interesting outcome of last week for me, only 2 of those websites I had searched through a directory. It made me wonder “how did I miss these?”, “Where did I go wrong in my search?”. As a guy who prides himself on being able to find anything, how on earth did I not have these blogs on my radar?
There are a few simple answers. 1. They are buried within law directories behind paywalls. 2. SEO competition or Google Indexing has drowned them out against larger firms. 3. (my favorite) They don’t fall for the many pitfalls and bad rhetoric of many law directories. In any case, I missed the mark in some way for these 50ish websites. 50 is a big number when trying to find quality blogs. I was only able to find 22 out of the 1k.
The funny thing about numbers is how often they are used to amaze and wonder. I’ve looked at over 10k law websites and read several hundred blog posts. Yet, none of the numbers really matter this early in the process. What will be cool is in a year from now when LexBlog will be the only ones really looking at these numbers.