Top law blog list sparks debate

Mark Herrmann, whose blog Drug and Device Law got selected as a top 100 legal blog in the Third Annual ABA Journal Blaw 100, wonders why Amlaw 200 firms aren’t well represented on this list.  Read his post here but to summarize, he thinks a key factor is that attorneys have difficulty writing in an engaging and funny voice.  As a result, their blogs tend to be boring.

In response, Kevin O’Keefe, whose company Lexblog produces many of the Amlaw 200’s blogs, provides a list of promenient law blogs his company has developed

One of those blogs includes the following headline: “Chancery court appoints receiver of dissolved corporation pursuant to DGCL section 279 despite three year period in section 278”

Two problems: the headline is too long to read at a glance and too technical.  I get that most legal blogs are written for other attorneys and even other attorneys with an interest in this particular area of law.   But really, do you want your audience limited to those folks who immediately recognize the difference between DGCL section 278 and 279?  If the answer is “yes” then this is a fine headline if not, then why not lead with a teaser?

For example, “Chancery’s new ruling could change old law.”  I have no idea if this headline is flat out wrong but “could” provides cover and if I’m someone just interested in new corporate legal developments generally, I might go ahead and click on this headline to investigate.  I may know nothing about DGCL 278 but the headline could be enough to spark my interested. 

And maybe I look at the post and decide its way over my head but I’ve had a chance to see the name of the attorney and to be impressed that he or she knows far more than I do about this area of law.  I will file away that information should I decide to hire an attorney in this field later.  Also the headline has generated a hit on the blog.  But if I see this headline and my eyes glaze over, then I’ll never take that next step.

Back to the question of how law blogs get selected for the top 100 list.   Mark Herrman is on to something about tone and engagement but remember that starts with the headline.  Also remember the statistic that far more people glance at a webpage than read it so if your nineteen word headline can’t be comprehended at a glance, then you’ve lost a lot of potentail readers.

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