Thursday, February 23, 2006

Back to Arnie & Oversized Posts

I just found out that when you post an oversized blog entry, just eats it. I lost about six paragraphs of material - Arnie Herz's wisdom. Sorry everyone. I'm not rewriting it.

To sum up my last post - blogging has raised Arnie's profile, improved his practice, made him money, and makes him happy. He says that blogging really is for everyone and that all lawyers should add this tool to their practice.

Partnertrack & Legal Sanity & Biz-Media-Law Blog

Last night I attended Partnertrack, a monthly cocktail organized by superstar lawyer Olivera Medenica, Co-Chair of the Entertainment Media Intellectual Property & Sports Law Section of the New York County Lawyers' Association. Olivera always picks a cool new place - this time Gstaad Restaurant on 26th Street. I was running late and the NYCLA website didn't have the details on the party location, so I called Marty Novar, Olivera's Co-Chair to get directions. The place was packed with good-looking professionals - not just lawyers - and everyone was having a good time. Name tags are always geeky, but they make people friendlier and in such great surroundings they almost looked kinda hip. I apologized to Olivera for missing what I hear was her spectacular piano recital at the National Arts Club, given in honor of Judge Buckley, Chief Judge of the Appellate Division, First Department.

With my column deadline looming, I grabbed the opportunity to interview Kaiser Wahab, of Wahab & Medenica. Kaiser said that practically all his new clients come from his blog - that the business he'd gotten was amazing. He said that the clients tended to be younger and tech oriented, and he'd gotten a lot of film business that way. Kaiser built his blog himself and said that his tech-oriented clients would expect that he'd do it that way. He recommended combining the blog with the firm website. I asked him how to do it and he said the fastest and cheapest way would be to hire a tech person, have the person next to you, and to spend a couple of hours learning how to do it yourself. Since that's how my partner and I put together the Dowd & Marotta website, I was very much in tune with that approach.

Kaiser said he would prefer to post weekly, but does it only about twice a month. He says he spends very little time on it. Olivera said that she'd gotten a speaking invitation and some interesting leads from a post she'd blogged on cultural property.

This afternoon I called Arnie Herz. I'm looking at two pages of scratch notes containing information Arnie downloaded on me. Yes, Arnie, you were talking too fast! The first scribble on my legal pad says "tremendous fun" - so I'll rely on my contemporaneous notation to sum up Arnie's reaction to my question of "why blog".

The remaining two pages of notes reflect my brutal cross-examination, during which I teased out the truth: not only is Arnie having fun, but he's got a tremendous audience, is making money, and he loves what he's doing! Arnie and his wife Lori (disclosure - we were all classmates at Fordham Law, Class of '91) - collaborate on the blog and Arnie credits Lori for much of the blogwork.

Legal Sanity posts every other day. They started at zero and over a period of 20 months have built a readership of 18,000. You'll note that the links for Legal Sanity and Arnie Herz take you to the same website/blog combination favored by Kaiser Wahab.

Arnie hired his own web designer. To pull in traffic and host the blog infrastructure, Arnie used Kevin O'Keefe of LexBlog. He was very happy with the result. O'Keefe was also recommended by Marty Schwimmer (see my earlier post interviewing Marty of The Trademark Blog). Arnie said that O'Keefe is very busy these days, but that he really knew the legal market. Lexblog listed Legal Sanity in its blogroll, submitted Legal Sanity to search engines, and otherwise made Arnie feel that he got terrific service for an ongoing monthly fee.

Arnie helped me understand some of the Sitemeter (see my earlier post) statistics. If 3,000 people visit your blog 3x per month, you have 9,000 visitors. "Hits" are meaningless, but always the biggest number. Page views are the most important because they tell you how much people actually read.

I asked Arnie whether people could subscribe to Legal Sanity by submitting their email. He said yes, but that very few people used it - most used RSS (see my earlier post on Real Simple Syndication). [[[ Hmm - can I link back to myself?? ]].

Arnie explained the netiquette of blogging: "give props". (Me: Could you spell that?) (Arnie: P-R-O-P-S). Props means crediting people constantly for having come up with ideas. Arnie's a positive guy, so he means thanks, but even the anger bloggers give props to their enemies: it increases their hits.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Sitemeter & Copyright & Park City Utah

I am sitting in a hotel in in Park City Utah. I just attended the Copyright Society's annual winter meeting. I got to shake hands with Senator Orrin Hatch and hobnob with the Register of Copyrights. Since I'm not a particularly good skier, my entire body feels as if it's been beaten by a rubber hose. Luckily, the outdoor jacuzzi is available for sore muscles.

My column on blogging is due on 2/24. I get back to the office on 2/22. So here are a couple of more observations:

Blogging from a remote location is easy. To log onto my hotel's wireless connection from my laptop, I paid $5.00 for the day. They gave me a password, very simple to get on and check my email. Logging on to was very easy. I entered my user ID and password, clicked on "Small Firm Life" and then clicked on "create post". I'm now entering this information.

I also checked my email and found out that I'd received an email from sitemeter. They emailed me with the number of page views - a detailed day-by-day report. I just gave it a quick glance, but it looked like 15 people checked out 33 pages of content. Since no one left a comment, I suppose I neither offended nor impressed anyone too terribly.

I'll try to set down the bulk of my observations when I return to the office on Wednesday.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Dead Links & Feedburner RSS & Borders Books

Ok, as you can see, or investigate from my last post, I managed to make a few errors. One, I found a picture of the book Trumpnation on Amazon. I right-clicked, and copied the URL into my Blogger post. I didn't do "preview". I hit "post" and voila, a blank box. The place where the image should have been was blank. Did not have the mojo to figure out how to fix it. Also, one of my links was dead. It was a www spelled out link to the site itself, so I don't know why. Anyway, I did not take the time to figure that out yet. I'm suspecting that hitting the "edit posts" function will help me with that, but that's for another day.

What I did sleuth down in the meantime? Well, if you recall, I tried to get listed in They asked me for a "feed url". I typed in the address to this blog and hoped for the best. Since my blog has been up for ages (several days) and I have no hits, no visitors, no comments and not even any spam, I figured that I did something wrong.

My suspicions were correct. There is something called RSS. This stands for really simple syndication. I couldn't figure out what this meant from searching the web, so I bought another book by Biz Stone called Blogging at Borders bookstore on Lower Broadway. They had the Stone Blogging book and another title called something like Blogging for Teens.

The Biz Stone chapter on RSS was completely unhelpful, since it discussed Blogger Pro, a service that no longer exists. There are two ways of making this work for you, each of which I somehow figured out. First, you can install an RSS reader on your own computer. I chose WINRSS. You download it, then it installs an icon on your computer. You then subscribe to various blogs by going to the blogs and clicking on what's usually a colorful little icon.

The other way to use RSS is to "syndicate" your blog. I had my "aha" moment (all this time I have been waiting for something NOT to be free). When going through Blogger, trying to figure out RSS, it will refer you to FeedBurner Feedburner will make up to three blogs attractive to blog search engines (in some way I haven't figured out). I subscribed my two blogs and received feed URLS in return. It will also help to publicize your blog. Let's see if any readers pour in! The cost is $4.99 per month, after a 15 day free trial.

I will try resubmitting my blogs to and see what happens. They named it Really Simple Syndication just to baffle people like me.

PS While I was trying to figure feedburner out, I sent an email that a real human being responded to intelligently within 5 minutes. WOW!

PPS I also figured out how to put a very cool button on my blogs so that people can subscribe. I will explain and talk about pinging.

Monday, February 13, 2006

The Trademark Blog, Google's Adsense & Sitemeter

I mentioned that yesterday I read Biz Stone's Who Let the Blogs Out? and saw a mention of Marty Schwimmer and The Trademark Blog. The book was really good and very exciting to someone like myself who writes a lot and would not mind writing a lot more on broader topics. I called Marty, who I knew from meeting at a couple of annual dinners for the Fordham International Law Journal and attending a CLE that he gave years ago at the New York New Media Association.

Marty didn't know who Biz Stone was or that he was in the book. I had already visited Marty's blog and got a sense of it. Short, interesting posts. It's clear he's having fun and not trying to impress anyone by showing off legal knowledge. He seems to keep his content a little racy by including pictures of Perfect 10 Models. Since I stole one of Marty's pictures in my last post, you'll have to search to find it. Marty recommended Mark Partridge's Guiding Rights blog, Susan Scafidi's Counterfeit Chic, and Kevin O'Keefe's Real Lawyers Have Blogs. Partridge's seems like a great inside baseball site for IP folks, Scafidi's is sexy and tantalizing with tons of fashion and intellectual stuff if you're hip on post-post-modernism-post-feminist breathless coverage of the latest fashion stuff. I'm hooked.

O'Keefe seems to be the real deal for any lawyer wanting to get moving on a blog and get a primo practice development tool up and running. Checkout his blogroll (the margin of his blog that lists other blogs) for a list of "real lawyers" and you'll find a lot of examples of what lawyers can do with blogs.

Schwimmer had lots to say - we both stuck on the phone way too long for a blog post to do him justice. He thinks the days of broad topics like The Trademark Blog may be done (I'm crushed, since I just launched a blog called Copyright Litigation on blogger). Marty noted that the blogs O'Keefe touts on his site are very specialized he thinks that the future will be blogs broken down by county and highly specialized practice area.

When I mentioned my Copyright Litigation blog (just launched this past weekend with one three-sentence post!), he told me that there is always room for sharing practical wisdom and specifically mentioned Arnie Herz's Legal Sanity. He said, and I agreed, that there are not enough lawyers sharing the tactics of Getting To Yes in general. Marty mentioned that when he put a practice tip on his blog, the traffic to him increased dramatically.

Marty warned against a few pitfalls. 1. Clear your activities with your law firm. Is your blog YOU or your FIRM. 2. if you speak, watch out that you are not creating conflicts with your clients. We both discussed a prominent blogger who proclaims how judges are WRONG. That can be dangerous. 3. the informality and immediacy of blogging can lead to sloppy thinking. 4. a blog that is not updated is a sign of someone who may underestimate the commitment involved in keeping a blog: not a good sign in a trusted legal advisor.

In terms of getting business, he said that his blog functioned more as an extended social network, that friendships formed, and that was where the real value was. He said that there was no question that it is an extremely cost-effective means of broadcasting your expertise, but that unsolicited inquiries were not a major component of the response, particularly since most of his clients are larger companies.

From my experience, Marty Schwimmer is a real trademark expert. The fact that people are writing books about his blog without him even knowing - is just a sign of how effective the medium can be. Unlike a certain (maybe) billionaire.

Law Related Blogs - Blawgs & Technical Updates

Yesterday I went to the Strand Bookstore on Fulton Street (it was open, despite the blizzard). I bought a copy of Who Let the Blogs Out? by Biz Stone, a book about blogs and blogging. It helped me figure out some things. There are a lot of blogs out there. Stone works for Google and believes that blogs will take over the world. He may be right and there may be many uses for them that are not immediately apparent.

I tried signing my blog up with They said they'd get back to me with an email if I was accepted. I'm on tenterhooks right now. They have lists of law-related blogs. You can submit a link to your own blog or check out the many others that they have listed. Will I make the cut?

I set up "word verification" so that someone would have to type in those goofy letters in order to comment on my posts. This is supposed to avoid spam.

You can create a list of people who will automatically receive your posts. Some sites to investigate: . Technorati and Squidoo also sound interesting. I also signed up for a blogroll and heard nothing back from that site. I tried to sign up for a service called "Hello" that makes it easier to put photos on a blog, but the service kept rejecting me.

To find law-related blogs, I used the search function on and looked for "copyright law" - a topic of interest to me. Lots of interesting posts.

I managed to learn enough HTML code to modfiy my template. I put links in to the New York County Lawyers' Association, to the Federal Bar Association to the Copyright Society of the USA.

I figured out how to put a photograph of myself in the profile. I put the file on my first post by hitting the "Add Image" button that appears at the top of the Create Post template. Then, on the image, I right-clicked and hit properties, which gave me the URL of where my photo is on the web. I then cut and pasted the link into my profile section and the photograph appeared.

This system can be used to take photographs from anywhere on the web. Just now, I went to The Trademark Blog and took an image from Marty Schwimmer's blog without asking.
It appears above. Serendipitously, New York Magazine came out with a cover story titled Blogs to Riches

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Posting an Audio Recording To a Blog & Testing Links

To create the previous audiopost, I went to and it took only a few minutes to set up my account. To make an audio post, I had to call a number in San Francisco (415) area code, then enter a PIN that I had preselected. It was so easy to do that I thought I'd made an error.

It doesn't appear that you can select an audio file the way that you can just select a photograph from your computer (unless I am missing something). I don't know why not.

For my audiopost (made late last night during a New York City blizzard) I chose to read a motion that I made on behalf of the Federal Bar Association, the New York County Lawyers' Association the New York City Bar to the Second Circuit on November 15, 2005 to admit over a hundred new members to the court. It was the first time that the court ever had a swearing in ceremony.

Reading the document over the telephone was a bit awkward. Like an answering machine, I was given the opportunity to rerecord it, review it or delete it before posting it. I would think that you'd in most instances prefer to post a better quality audio file that you had a chance to edit. It's an interesting novelty, but I'm not sure of the use for lawyers. Perhaps in a future column on podcasting, I'll figure out why posting pre-recorded audio files is not possible.

In trying to test the links in the earlier paragraph, I found that what you should do first is to hit "Save as Draft". Then hit "preview" in the upper right hand corner. To create the links: highlight the name of the organization: "New York City Bar". Then click the links button. Then enter the URL of the organization. That way the URL does not appear in the text.

I found that when I jumped out and tested my links, the program threw me out and I lost the sentences I'd written in this post. Hence the importance of hitting the "Save as Draft" button.

It is still snowing, and I can hear the snowplows scraping the streets 13 stories below as I look into the snow-blanked Hudson River from my office at Broadway & Chambers Street in Lower Manhattan.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Column on Creating Blogs for Lawyers

I thought that I would write a column for lawyers in small and solo practices on how to create a blog. It took me four minutes to sign into and actually creat the blog. During the four minutes, I picked a password, picked a URL for my blog, and picked a template named "minima". I didn't pay anything. No credit cards, nothing.

After the four minute intro, I'm faced with a screen that looks just like an email. Down bottom, there are two buttons. One says "Save as Draft" and the other says "Publish Post". Below are listed "Post and Comment Options". I may change the time and date, or permit or deny new comment on the post that I am about to make.

There is a button that looks like a photograph. When I place the cursor over it, it says "Add Image". I tried adding an Adobe file of my website that I had put comments on, using Adobe's commenting tools. For some reason, would not let me do it. I tried again, and easily put up a photograph of myself taken in 1999, which reminds me that it's time for a fresh professional headshot.

The toolbar contains such options as "blockquote" which indented the text by a tab. Bulleted lists, numbered lists, justification. There is a button called "link". When you hit it, you can type in any webpage, and a hyperlink immediately appears.

I can also change the text color at the click of a button, as well as italicize, or bold. Huge fonts are available, as well as tiny.

It was so easy to start, that I quickly ran out of material for my column. I am going to post this, then see how I can promote this miniblog.

Audioblogger - My Motion Before The Second Circuit

this is an audio post - click to play