PG notes that many websites operated by lawyers and law firms, while often the source of interesting items for TPV, have been largely abandoned during the age of Covid.
In some cases, well-known legal bloggers, even at the partner level, have been terminated.
It is not unusual for attorneys (including PG) to maintain and attract clients by demonstrating knowledge and expertise in their areas of practice by posting news and commentary on happenings in the legal and commercial world of their clients and potential clients.
If a client goes to the attorney or law firm she/he uses for a variety of purposes and asks for help for something the firm isn’t able to provide because it’s outside the firm’s range of legal expertise, the best way that firm can assist the client is to refer them to someone of the legal persuasion who has the needed expertise. (It is also likely to be a violation of legal ethics for an attorney to provide legal advice to a client if the attorney knows nothing about the subject.)
If the attorney is not personally acquainted with a lawyer with the required expertise and if some brief online research disclosed an attorney with a website or blog devoted to the legal topic the client required, the attorney might point the client to the website or blog for additional information. If PG were doing something like this, he would make clear to the client that he wasn’t personally acquainted with the lawyer and how he had found the lawyer’s name and website. If the attorney’s website revealed that he had written or spoken on his/her area of expertise in connection with state or local bar association publications or activities, that would be another plus.
Back to the firing of well-known legal bloggers, time spent blogging is time not spent billing clients by the hour. Typically in larger firms, either the managing partner, a non-lawyer professional manager and/or a group of senior partners receives regular reports (it used to be monthly, but PG is informed that at least some firms have transitioned to weekly) about how many billable hours each attorney (and sometimes paralegals) have racked up during the reporting period.
If the legal blogger isn’t keeping up with billable hours, even if the blogger has brought in some significant business in the past, evidently the blogger’s promotional and publicity value isn’t enough to avoid the axe.
Typically, when clients are experiencing financial problems, they may ask their law firms to adjust bills (always in the same direction) and may complain about being overbilled on certain matters. Some law firms may proactively reduce their fees for some clients on a temporary basis, informing the clients they are doing so.
Firms with a group of attorneys focused on significant bankruptcy matters tend to be counter-cyclical when it comes to hours billed.
PG wonders if substantial reduction of the firm’s website and other online activities is a good idea. Even considering the value of time that might otherwise have been billed, a law firm’s website is one of the first places a sophisticated prospective client is likely to investigate.
In PG’s almost-illegally humble opinion, a great many law firm websites, even those of large and prosperous firms, are quite lame. Large spaces devoted to meaningless graphics on the landing page, more overly-large spaces devoted to a cookies warning (do law firm sites really need cookies?) and generic headlines like “Innovative Thinkers, Client Service Leaders, Champions of Inclusion,” and “Resilience, Recovery and Renewal” are all too typical.
Like a great many intelligent people in other professional fields, attorneys tend to think that expertise in one area (patent law, for example) transfers over into a great many other areas (advertising, website design, promotion, investment strategies, etc., etc., etc.). Such is most definitely not the case.