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October 2005

September 2005

Wondering about SEO for Blawgs

I got into blogging because one of my friends law firms put about $50,000 dollars into a top end auto negligence website which started beating mine in the rankings. Using typepad, I launched a blawg concerning no fault insurance and quickly jumped him in the Google rankings by a long shot. We had a good laugh one day when he found out I was only paying $13.00 a month for my site. As I extended my blawg into other niche areas and tied them together I suffered a pretty significant drop off in Google traffic, interestingly my Yahoo and MSN traffic went up considerably. But, we all know that Google is king of the hill and that is what we all shoot for.

            I learned the other day that having identical content on multiple pages can hurt you in the Google algorithm. I don’t know if this is true or not, but it might explain how it is that my website traffic from Google has gone down. Clearly, my site has been penalized.

            In typepad, you can assign multiple categories to a particular post. On my commercial site for my law firm, I created a bunch of keyword categories that were very similar and targeted specific key words. That meant that because my blawg was being archived by category as well as by perma-link, I was essentially creating three to six identical posts across my website.

            I wonder if this explains the penalty my site most certainly received under the Google algorithm.

My Dad was an Insurance Defense Attorney

My Dad was a very successful insurance defense attorney who spent his entire career billing by the hour. I wonder how much of that is responsible for his difficulty in relaxing and his otherwise sarcastic and cynical demeanor. My parents just spent the weekend with us. When you only see your parents a couple of times a year, those events are always challenging. I am trying to make mine more insightful these days. So I wonder again. What kind of psychological damage does billing by the hour do to a person?

The Frenzy of Law Firm Start-Up is Intoxicating

      But, that intoxication eventually wares off, in looking back at my start-up, I can only thank the stars above that I acted as fearlessly as I did across all issues. I don’t think that I am still the same way now.  After eight months of business I fell like I have taken a step back to get my bearings and strategize about where I want to go with this firm. I stopped my rapid expansion and have stopped marketing my services to stem the flow of clients. I think that I need a couple of months just to see where I want this to go.

Duty To Comment

I posted previously on a lawyer’s duty to comment. I noted that one of the benefits of making comments on other people’s blogs is that you get that extremely valuable link back.  As we all know, Google rates websites, in substantial part, by the number of incoming links to that site.<

Why don’t people take more advantage of the comment function on other people’s blogs to improve their website traffic?  As long as you are saying something intelligent and relevant, the blog host will be very happy and you will get a link back to your site.

Digital Presence

Kyle’s digital presence is still felt.  I have a cell phone message on my phone from Kyle a few days before he passed away.  We were looking at pictures and video of our big summer party, and Kyle was there laughing and smiling.  Kyle lives digitally, one of the many benefits of the technology age.

Independent Practitioner:

I make decisions with my time in ways that are virtually impossible within the context of a partnership.  I remember at my old firm having friends with legal questions or basic legal needs, and having to feel guilty about spending time helping them when I could have been billing either them or other clients.  It has never stopped me per say.  However, it left me with a dirty feeling somehow.  Somehow, I felt I was not doing enough for either of my friends or my partners.

Kyle’s wife, Barb, has documents which need to be reviewed, property that needs to be sold.  I am able to help with those things without even a moment’s hesitation or intrusion of interest.  Tonight, I am the happiest, smiling, attorney who is satisfied with what I do, how I do it and who I do it for.

Dictation is Equal to Efficiency

I know I am working hard, accomplishing tasks and really making it happen when I am aggressively dictating.  I dictate not only letters, but tasks and general information.  When I am dictating, I know I am also delegating well.

I have dictation resources available to me 24 by 7.  I use a Phillips 9350 Digital Recorder when I am mobile.  I use Quickscribe dictation system from my laptop.

There is no competition in the law

Great post at Anything Under The Sun made By Man blog....

None of the attorneys I know talk or think in the terms of operating a business in the same way these entrepreneurs do. “Pricing Strategy” in a law firm means “my billable rate is higher/lower than X attorney at another firm.” Not “my value proposition is…” There may be talk about cashflow, but not about surveying the industry served by the law firm and developing new products, services, or methods of delivery to address their needs.

What does this mean? For me, it means that it is potentially a lot easier to compete in the patent law marketplace, with a little ingenuity and business sense. But it also means that the lawyers that are serving these clients do not understand what is making the client tick. How can the attorney do a good job of serving the client when they don’t have even a cursory understanding of how their client thinks?

Don't tell many law firms to start thinking like businesses.  It might just create real competition.

"Least Cost" Attorney Fee Option

One of the more interesting blogs on the web is  While the name suggests billing more hours, this blog often posts on alternative billing options.  Check out this great post on Law Firm Pricing Model to Win Business where they offer up this novel pricing model.

NEXTRA’s pricing model appears to be designed to overcome that buyer resistance. Under the NEXTRA pricing model, the buyer pays the lowest of three values:

    1. A guaranteed capped amount;
    2. An agreed upon blended rate times actual hours;
    3. The amount of hours at the hourly rate of each timekeeper.


Task Management Software Is Important

      One of my early challenges was finding a way to manage the tasks to my internal staff as well as my virtual paralegals and law clerks. Recently, I came across a product called base camp which provides an extranet service. The purpose of base camp appears to be focused on software development. However, it is easily customized to meet to my case management needs. Base camp has an option which allows for encryption. Thus part of the product is that it allows each client with an internet connection to see exactly what the benchmarks are in the case, what the budget is in the case, the tasks assigned and the goals which are sought to be achieved. Yes, even an independent practitioner such as myself can have an extranet in today’s technology world.