The question frequently arises: Is blogging helpful for a lawyer’s business for someone in BigLaw? And this question pops up because General Counsels at Fortune 500 companies won’t exactly hire someone just because they have a blog.
But will being quoted in the paper as an expert put that lawyer’s name in front of a General Counsel? Today — in the wake of the Supreme Court in Wyeth v. Levine upholding the right of a claimant to bring a state court tort action for mislabeled drugs despite FDA policymakers trying to discourage it — we take a peak at whether a blog will get the blogger in front of the media.
Mark Hermmann of Jones Day in Chicago and Jim Beck at Dechert in Philadelphia write the Drug and Device Law Blog, which has been pretty much all pre-emption all the time for the last two years. And the media did, indeed, turn to them for quotes. (Of course, both were already big shots in their field, with Beck having a drug and device law book on the subject, a copy of which sits on my shelf). But let’s take a look:
From Adam Liptak at the New York Times (No Legal Shield in Drug Labeling, Justices Rule):
“This narrows the playing field,” for implied pre-emption arguments, Mark Herrmann, a corporate defense lawyer in Chicago, said of the decision. “This does not eliminate the playing field.”
From Bloomberg news (Wyeth, Drugmakers Lose as Top U.S. Court Allows Suits): “It’s still leaves open some turf for industry, but it narrows the playing field,” said Mark Herrmann, a Chicago product-liability lawyer who represents companies and co-writes a blog on drug and medical-device law.
From American Lawyer (Supreme Court Rules Against FDA Preemption; Let the Plaintiffs Rejoicing Begin!):
“It is a complete slap in the face to both the FDA and the Bush administration’s position on preemption,” said Dechert’s James Beck (one of the bloggers at Drug and Device Law). The decision limits the preemption defense to cases where the FDA has made an “affirmative decision” on use of a particular drug, Beck told us. Dozens of cases that had been formally or informally frozen pending the Wyeth ruling, he said, will now move ahead at full steam.
And if you search their url in Google you will see the links to their blog and posts piling up fast in high profile joints like Above the Law, Volokh, Overlawyered, meaning they have succeeded in spreading to yet more people the fact that they are leaders in their field. You can bet there will be more stories, and more links.
In an article recently Hermmann wrote about the subject (Is blogging worth it?) noted:
[B]logging raises both your personal and your law firm’s public profile. As a result of two years of blogging, I’ve appeared on television shows on CNBC, Bloomberg and C-SPAN. I’ve been interviewed by, and quoted in, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and countless regional papers. I’ve been invited to speak at academic symposia, continuing legal education programs and state Bar conventions. A major academic press has approached me about a book deal.
Blogging surely causes your name to cross the desks of potential clients, and that might cause clients to think of you when they’re retaining counsel.
When blogs are used as a means of direct solicitation (call me, I know what I’m doing!) they fail badly. When blogs are used to demonstrate knowledge by discussing an interesting issue, they succeed.
As they teach you in trial lawyer school, “show, don’t tell.” And blogging isn’t any different.
Updated: Beck/Herrmann are rounding up the coverage that they have
received earned: Press Coverage of Levine
Previously at my site: