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Reimagining Law: How to Connect With Clients Through Blogging

In this episode of Reimagining Law, we speak to Kevin O’Keefe, CEO & Founder of LexBlog, Inc., the largest community of legal publishers in the world. Kevin discuss why lawyers should start a blog, best practices for marketing your firm virtually, and why blogging could help curtail the rural lawyer shortage.

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  • 00:34: Why should lawyers start a blog?
  • 1:25: What are some best practices for blogging?
  • 2:37: What are some of the things lawyers should not do when they’re blogging?
  • 3:57: How do you focus on would-be clients or the people you want to get your content in front of?
  • 5:21: You’re making connections with people, you’re making connections between different types of content, is that more important today than when you started writing about blogging?
  • 6:52: So it sounds like in the legal marketing space, this is just going to increase over time, the need for connections via the internet?

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About Kevin O’Keefe

Kevin O’Keefe is a trial lawyer turned legal tech entrepreneur, who founded and serves as CEO of LexBlog, Inc., the largest community of legal publishers in the world.

After practicing as a trial lawyer in rural Wisconsin for 17 years, he closed his law firm and moved (as a family of seven) to Seattle to start his first company, Prairielaw.com. Prairielaw.com was a virtual law community of people helping people, a sort of AOL on the law, featuring message boards, articles, chats, listservs, and ask-a-lawyer.

Prairielaw.com was sold to LexisNexis, where it was incorporated into Martindale-Hubbell’s lawyers.com.

After a stint as VP of Business Development at LexisNexis, Kevin founded LexBlog in 2004 out of his garage (no affiliation with LexisNexis). Since then, LexBlog has grown to a community of over 30,000 legal professionals worldwide.

Kevin also blogs at Real Lawyers Have Blogs, now in its 18th year, where he shares information, news, and commentary to help legal professionals looking to network online, whether it be via blogging or other social media.

Connect with Kevin

About Reimagining Law

The Reimagining Law video series explores how legal and judicial professionals are adapting the delivery of services to meet the unique needs of today’s consumers. Reimagining Law is produced by the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism.

This episode was recorded on October 4, 2021.

Staying up to date on issues impacting the legal profession is vital to your success. Subscribe here to get the Commission’s weekly news delivered to your inbox.


Jayne Reardon  00:07

Hi, I’m Jayne Reardon. Welcome to Reimagining Law. Today I’m joined by Kevin O’Keefe, the CEO and founder of LexBlog. LexBlog is a platform for over 30,000 legal bloggers. Kevin, thanks for joining me.

Kevin O’Keefe  00:25

My pleasure.

Jayne Reardon  00:26

Before I jump in, I’d like to remind our viewers to like this video and subscribe to our channels for new episodes. So Kevin, let’s start with the basics. Why should lawyers start a blog?

Kevin O’Keefe  00:38

Lawyers don’t have to start a a blog. Lawyers do so for different reasons, they do so to become better lawyers, because they’re more apt to focus on niches, read more, network with other leading lawyers in their field. There’s other lawyers, they’re going to do so to develop business, you know, as a younger lawyer, you may want to put yourself in a position where you don’t have to worry about where you get your work and how you support your family. I also think there’s the opportunity to contribute to the advancement of the law, there is more insight and commentary on the laws being published on legal blogs than is being published in law reviews and monitoring tools today. So it’s a society that’s evolving law faster than we ever have before. It’s a large opportunity.

Jayne Reardon  01:22

You’re on the cutting edge. Yeah. What are some of the best practices for blogging? If someone’s just getting started? What should they be doing?

Kevin O’Keefe  01:30

I think the most important is to realize that a blog is the unedited voice of a person, you know, it’s not 18 or 20 people publishing a publication, unless you’re really going to get in that field, you know, you’re really going to be the go-to publication, an unedited voice of a person. That is to mean that you talk like who you are. And even more importantly, that like that, is you listen before you talk. Blogging is like walking into a room, full of authorities in your niche. Because your niche is really important. You don’t blog on broad subjects, you may not even blog on family law, you might blog on visitation, you might want a blog on custody in your town. But it’s like walking into a room with other people that have an interest in that topic. We’re talking about authority, listening to what they have to say, referencing what they have to say, so they’ll hear you. And by virtue of that, they’ll start to reference what you’re saying. So your stature is growing, relationships are growing. And imagine your potential client pool and the influencers, reporters, and other bloggers, authorities in the field who are seeing you.

Jayne Reardon  02:37

So what are some of the things that lawyers should not do when they’re blogging?

Kevin O’Keefe  02:43

I would say, I don’t know what it is, 25 or 30%, are acting unethically when they blog, they’re having someone else write the content. And then they’re holding their blog out there as if they wrote the content. That’s misleading. And you can’t mislead when you’re arguably doing advertising. And there’s no discussion about it. Someone else is writing your content, you bought your content and your marketing person is putting it up in your name. The public is presuming that it’s unique content. So there’s a lot of lawyers that think differently. They think hey, it’s okay if I do that, well they’re they’re incorrect, so you don’t act unethically. You focus on that niche. You just nail that niche. You focus on an area that you would love to do. What would I love to do if I had a magic wand? And I could wave it and make it happen? And who would I love to represent? And then recognize that, that listening component. How do I set up the listening? How do I use a device like Feedly? Like, how do I use Twitter Lists because it’s those things that are important, it’s not sitting down to write content with a blank slate.

Jayne Reardon  03:49

So it sounds like you’re saying don’t just develop some content and throw it out there, be more targeted, listen. So how do you focus on would-be clients or the people you want to get your content in front of?

Kevin O’Keefe  04:06

So let’s say I want to get into estate planning through blogging, and I’m going to do that in Rockford, Illinois. And so I’m going to follow the people in Rockford, Illinois who are writing and are financial planners. I’m gonna follow their blogs to see if there’s any of those. I’m gonna follow leading financial planning blogs around the country. I’m gonna follow words that relate to financial planning inside Feedly like, you know, what are the magical words and whatnot, I’m going to see things that other people are not. And by me starting to offer my insight. I saw this, this is why I’m sharing it with you. Here’s what it means. I’m going to get known and if I reference the people I’m seeing, they’re going to see me and so I’m doing things that other people aren’t. So another lawyer that’s doing estate planning in Rockford could be putting up all  this wonderful content and it’s okay, it’s a value, but are they referencing the people that are going to begin to write about her or him? And if you start to get referenced by other people, and those people are authorities, your stature rises. And if I reference somebody in a blog post, and I share it on Twitter, and I give a little hat tip to them, they see it. And if that person is an authority, they might start to follow me, they may start to share what I’m sharing,

Jayne Reardon  05:21

So you’re making connections with people, you’re making connections between different types of content. Is that more important today than when you started writing about blogging 15 or 20 years ago?

Kevin O’Keefe  05:34

You know, sometimes I think it’s not. And sometimes I think it is, I think it is, because this is how people connect to the world (holds up iPhone). They connect to the world this way. You know, if I were a lawyer living in the area where I live, I would make sure I’m very active on the Facebook group, because I would be helping people. When it comes to, you know, is there a soccer game at this field tonight? Is this thing going on in the neighborhood, I would get known because I’m a nice person helping other people. And by virtue of that, people might start to look up the fact that I’m a practicing lawyer at the same time. That never happened before. And the other reason it’s more important is, you know, just take a look at the news within the last week, LegalZoom is going to hire lawyers in Arizona. Within about 15 years, you’re gonna see LegalZooms around like Petco. And where are people going to go for legal services? They’re going to go to those places. And it’s not because lawyers are bad, it’s just that LegalZoom made themselves more accessible and made themselves relevant. Where lawyers are trying really, really hard to connect with people. They’re not connecting with people where they need to connect with them, on a device.

Jayne Reardon  06:50

Yeah, very interesting. So it sounds like you’re seeing in the legal marketing space, this is just going to increase over time, the need for connections via the internet.

Kevin O’Keefe  07:03

Yeah, I think, you know the Wisconsin bar is studying how do we get lawyers in the rural areas? You don’t need to get them in the rural areas. You have to get them blogging about issues that are going on in those communities. You know, somebody who’s in Madison, why can’t they blog about issues relevant to people in Rhinelander? And, and reference people in the Rhinelander business community or, you know, whatever it might be, and then be available to hook up on the net?

Jayne Reardon  07:32

Yeah. It sounds like you’re saying, be relevant, be personal, and really make a difference. Sounds great.

Kevin O’Keefe  07:40

It works.

Jayne Reardon  07:42

So thank you very much Kevin O’Keefe for joining me. I really appreciate you taking the time today. Please like and share this video and subscribe to our channel to stay updated on new episodes. That’s all for today. Thank you and be well.

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