Thursday, February 23, 2006

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.


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