In the current age of internet marketing, blogging is often seen as an obvious choice for publicizing services. Universities gain students and donations, corporations gain customers, and readers gain information.
However, when the readers are attorneys and the writers are experts, the information shared in blogs can lead to material for impeachment.
"I pray for a blog,” says intellectual property attorney Nancy Delain. “Very public, very quippy, very quickly written, very full of possible ways to hang him out to dry in front of the finder of fact."
Are Blogs All Bad?
"Blogs are informal and quick," notes Jef Henninger, a white-collar criminal defense attorney. "As a result, the expert can say something that can be taken out of context. I always Google my expert and the expert for the other side."
As Henninger suggests, it is always a good idea to search the internet for your expert to see what is revealed.
When experts simply use blogs as another method of getting published, the results can be beneficial to both attorneys and experts. By taking the same amount of time to write a blog post as a peer-reviewed article, experts can make their publications more accessible while maintaining consistency and credibility. It is when blogs become the venue for an expert’s every thought that they cause problems.
Caution is Key
In The Expert Witness Marketing Book, Rosalie Hamilton cautions experts who blog. Her advice is to “Be careful. Be consistent. Investigate, verify, and cross examine your facts. Proofread, proofread and proofread again.”
And when the proofreading fails, be willing to own up to the mistake.
“People don’t always get things 100% right 100% of the time and occasionally blog content can be challenged,” says Martyn Phillips, a business development manager. “Use the comments section to maintain credibility, enable readers to expand on your article and it can only be good. If something does go wrong, then own up, be honest and maintain credibility.”
Most experts who blog consider the advantages to outweigh the risks. Blogging allows an expert to market his services, display his knowledge and is often seen as an enjoyable hobby as well.
In 2008, UCLA Professor Stephen Bainbridge wrote about the price of blogging, recalling how he missed out on two separate expert witness opportunities due to the content of earlier posts. For the professor this was not a huge loss because he would “rather blog than consult most days anyway."
Tell us: Have you ever used an expert’s blog to remove her from a case? Would you retain an expert with a blog?
This article is an updated version of a post written by Robert Ambrogi.