Blogging about the Law

Brian Inkster and Gordon Brewer on Sunday Politics Scotland
Blogging about the law can lead to all sorts of other opportunities

As 2016 comes to a close I post my first blog post on this blog this year.

Yes… The last blog post on here (and that was a guest post) was posted just over a year ago on 27 December 2015.

So why has it taken me a year to blog?

Did I give up on blogging as many bloggers with good initial intentions end up doing?

No, I didn’t.

Well it may have taken me a year to blog on this blog but I have been blogging away elsewhere.

In fact I have actually blogged more this past year than any other year since I first started blogging 6 years ago on 1 January 2011.

I have been blogging about crofting law over at croftinglawblog.com.

In  the past 8 months alone I have published more blog posts about crofting law on the Crofting Law Blog than I have about the Past, Present and Future Practice of Law on this blog in 6 years. As a result this blog has unfortunately been somewhat neglected. But not forgotten.

Indeed I recently posted my 101st blog post emanating from one particular aspect in the world of crofting. I won’t bore you with the details here. You can start with ‘Abuse of Power within the Crofting Commission?‘ and work you way to ‘Secret meeting declares Brora meeting valid‘ if you really want to. The story keeps unfolding beyond that!

The purpose of this blog post is to highlight the continuing validity, importance and benefits for lawyers of blogging about law (whatever area of law you as a lawyer specialise in). I will do so with reference to my experiences of blogging about crofting law over the past year.

Crofting law is a very niche area of the law. For those wondering what on earth it is, a croft has aptly been described as “a small area of land surrounded by a sea of legislation”. Think very small farm in the Highlands & Islands of Scotland with lots of red tape introduced initially in 1886 to give crofters security of tenure to combat the clearances initiated by landlords.

You wouldn’t think there would be that much to blog about but the Crofting Commission (the body that is supposed to regulate crofting) have made such a pig’s ear of their task over the past year that there have been countless incidents and events to blog about.

I could have chosen not to blog and let others take the lead. However, reporting by newspapers was on the whole (excepting the West Highland Free Press) fairly lacklustre due to a lack of understanding of the real issues involved and the application of the law to those issues. Crofters were being persecuted unjustly and I felt their plight needed highlighting.

Having taken up the cudgels with my first post on the topic it became difficult to let go as the story took on ever more bizarre twists and turns.

By being at the heart of telling the story as it unfolded there were many benefits for me as a practising crofting lawyer and for my law firm, Inksters, as a firm that specialises in this niche area of the law. N.B. Inksters is also a full service law firm covering a spectrum of legal services.

Here are some of the benefits/consequences I have seen:-

  • Being asked to provide quotes and articles to the radio and press. Providing exposure to potential clients.
  • Blog posts being published in the press. Again providing exposure to potential clients.
  • Invited to talk about the issues at events attended by concerned crofters (i.e. potential clients).
  • Appearing on TV: BBC Alba (the Gaelic channel), BBC Reporting Scotland (the main Scottish news programme) and Sunday Politics Scotland (a current affairs programme that follows, in Scotland, the main Sunday Politics show on BBC One). Again providing exposure to potential clients in a way that conventional marketing simply could not do.
  • Seeing MSPs of all parties and the Scottish Government take an interest in and action over the issues involved as exposed on the blog.
  • Justice being seen to be done with the Crofting Commission issuing an apology for their actions.
  • Gratitude being expressed by many crofters for the part my blogging played in obtaining that apology.
  • Becoming ‘The Go-To Expert’ on this particular issue. N.B. There is a case study in the book ‘The Go-To Expert‘ by Heather Townsend & Jon Baker on how I became The Go-To Expert on crofting law. Also in the book ‘Valuable Content Marketing‘ by Sonja Jefferson & Sharon Tanton a case study highlights how Inksters get found through their content with specific reference being made to crofting law. Both books are well worth reading.
  • Selected as a finalist for Solicitor of the Year at the Law Awards of Scotland for my endeavours.
  • Asked to write a book.
  • Gaining many new clients.

It is the last one on this list that ultimately provides the business benefit of blogging. That though is a consequence of all the others and it all stems back to actually blogging in the first place.

Lawyers need clients to keep them and their law firms in business. Securing new clients requires marketing. What better way to market your knowledge and expertise to potential new clients than through a blog on your niche area of the law coupled with all the associated marketing that can flow from that blog?

Back in 2011 I was brave enough to put my head above the parapet and suggest there might be some business advantage to be gained by blogging: The Elephant in the #LawBlogs Room. This was scorned by many ‘purist’ law bloggers who could not imagine anyone blogging other than out of the sheer love of it. If you did you were nothing but a flawger. However, was it as simple as I Blawg. You Flawg. Period? As I concluded in that post:-

I think that ultimately most, if not all, blawgs result in selling of a sort (even if that is just the blawger themselves rather than a legal service). Some blawgers protest too much on this issue me thinks. If you don’t want to flog don’t blog.

Six year’s later and I remain ever more convinced of the business advantage to be gained by lawyers who blog.

For those of you with no interest in crofting law and missing posts about the past, present and future practice of law on The Time Blawg I will endeavour to post here in 2017 more frequently than just the once! I do have some book reviews pending.

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  1. Good to hear that you will be blogging here more often in 2017, Brian. I am an IT lawyer based in Sydney, Australia, so we share an interest in IT law also.

    I have thought about blogging more myself.
    But it sometimes seems to me that the type of non-lawyers who hang around the Net are the ones who like something for nothing and think they can use the info you give them to be bush lawyers.

    Really these are the type of clients that I want to avoid. I used to chase them, but they almost ruined my practice. I spent so much time on them and they just nickel and dimed me most of the time. No fun at all!

    I’d be interested in reading your comments about how to blog so that lawyers can attract the right sort of clients.

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