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Lately, the legal blogosphere has been swamped with upstart practice group blogs touting expertise and focusing on case reviews, summaries and new court rules. Among the legal blogs that have speckled the landscape are Littler Mendelson’s global immigration counsel blog, Jackson Lewis’ OSHA blog, Epstein Becker & Green’s Florida employment and immigration law blog, Bryan Cave’s art law blog, and Akin Gump’s Supreme Court matters and analysis blog. So when senior associate Robert F. Chapski and partner Eileen Burkhalter Smith of Nashville’s Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis decided to join the legal blogosphere, they wanted to offer more than topic summaries and legal analysis for partners. They decided to target an entire demographic with a different kind of content. “We did not see any firm blogs targeted to help and provide information for young lawyers” said Chapski. “Even abovethelaw.com (ATL) is a more gossip- and news-oriented blog. We wanted to do something different and provide entertainment, information, education and a networking vehicle for younger lawyers and law students.” In March 2009, Chapski and Burkhalter Smith launched younglawyersblog.com and, according to their recent statistics, their blog gets approximately 25,000 hits per month. The blog still has a ways to go to reach its audience. By comparison, “ATL gets eight million page views per month,” said David Minkin, publisher of Breaking Media, owner of abovethelaw.com. But Kathleen Pearson, director of professional recruiting at Waller Lansden and a blog editorial board member and contributor, says, “The purpose of the younglawyersblog is to have an open dialogue between the student world and the big law firm world.” Chapski, Burkhalter and Pearson believe that by creating interactive content that appeals to young associates and law students their site will gain in popularity and have staying power. For example, one of the blog’s weekly sections “Good Idea-Bad Idea” (GIBI) highlights poor choices found in legal headlines as the bad idea, and blog contributors post a response to the headline with the good idea as a signpost of where the subject might have gone wrong. Visitors to the blog can comment on both ideas. Recently, GIBI posted “Don’t Stab the Messenger,” a story posted online in the Los Angeles Times in July 2009 about a Santa Ana, Calif. lawyer who was being served with civil court papers and was arrested after trying to stab the messenger with a large hunting knife. Although, the contributors state that they could not come up with a good idea in response to this post, their tongue-in-cheek post was in the lawyer’s defense: “The idiom is ‘Don’t shoot the messenger.’ No one ever told him not to try to stab the messenger.” According to Pearson, GIBI posts get 500 hits a week. “We spend about 15 to 20 hours a week working on the blog,” says Pearson. “And [we] have between five and 10 firm-based contributors.” Currently, the firm is looking for outside contributors with the goal of keeping the blog updated.

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