Post whatever written work showcases your expertise; undoubtedly you have much to choose from sitting on your hard drive: filings, decisions, alerts, briefs, newsletters, articles, presentations, blog posts, forms, and the like.
That, above, is our short answer when lawyers and legal professionals ask for guidance regarding what to upload to JD Supra.
For a longer answer, look at what some of your colleagues are sharing. The mix is wonderfully diverse – and serves to remind that a JD Supra portfolio can help you to cast a wide net as you work to connect with prospective clients, colleagues, and the media online…
What Should I Post on JD Supra?
1. Court Filings
See for example attorney Ron Coleman’s portfolio. A partner at Goetz Fitzpatrick LLP, Coleman tries "civil cases in all courts and ADR venues … focusing on trademarks, copyrights and unfair competition, especially with respect to the use of intellectual property on the Internet." His ever-growing repository of documents is comprised almost-entirely of his own filings: decisions, pleadings, motions, memoranda, and other related work.
We’ve quoted Coleman elsewhere: "The most important thing – the most valuable – I have to sell is my work. It’s something I take pride in and something I do very well and I have a whole career worth of it to put out there." And that’s exactly what he is doing on JD Supra.
2. Legal Analysis
Many law firms publish legal analysis on JD Supra in the form of regular newsletters, articles, and alerts covering all subjects and industries. See for example Lane Powell’s portfolio of articles and newsletters making sense of legislative developments in sectors as wide-ranging as Transportation, Securities, Environment and Energy, Immigration, Labor and Employment, and others. Other terrific and growing portfolios of articles, newsletters, and alerts: Manatt, Williams Kastner, Allen Matkins, Fenwick & West, Morrison & Foerster, and Gregory Siskind, among others.
Articles and alerts are not solely the domain of larger firms on JD Supra. We see many solo practitioners and smaller firms sharing their legal insights on all matters – everything from the implications of the recent Stimulus Bill on COBRA health plans, to smart tax saving plans, to privacy issues, to IP considerations in business strategy, and beyond. (Keep in mind: we distribute this work on your behalf to numerous targeted and growing audiences.)
3. Legal Forms
Attorney Amy Becerra’s portfolio includes numerous legal forms from her particular practice field: immigration. It’s a smart online strategy built upon the understanding that substantive, useful legal documents don’t replace attorneys – rather, they make for good connections with informed clients.
If your practice includes the regular completion of legal forms on behalf of clients, we recommend posting your templates online along with filings, articles, and other written material. All of this work is indexed by the search engines – and every document connects the reader to your portfolio. Use this opportunity to show a prospective client looking online for Instructions for USCIS Form N-400 that you also have much to say about the latest implications of immigration legislation coming out of Washington. Time well spent.
Are these forms popular? Indeed they are. For example, one of the most downloaded documents on JD Supra: Jim Bowman’s Sample Family Trust.
4. Legal Documents of Interest
Besides posting his own writing on social networking and Web 2.0 in the legal space, attorney Doug Cornelius also uses his portfolio to collect legal documents not written by him but either related to his practice field or of interest to readers of his blog. In this way his JD Supra presence also serves as something like a social bookmarking site, where he is building a repository of material for future reference in any way that makes sense to him (emailing links to colleagues and friends, linking to/referencing documents from his blog, collecting interesting material in one place, and so forth.)
Cornelius’ deep portfolio, which receives a considerable amount of traffic because of its size and content, includes many of the SEC filings in the Madoff case, including Madoff’s plea allocution and his list of victims.
Bankruptcy attorney Carl Starrett understands this strategy of sharing high-profile, newsworthy documents related to his practice (he posted the Tribune Company’s petition for Chapter 11 last December) – as does entertainment trademark attorney Tamera Bennett. Bennett has posted numerous related filings from high profile cases (including Jackson Browne v. John McCain).
Most recently, Bennett posted copies of the trademark applications in the OCTOMOM case, in order to reference the documents in a blog post on the matter. [Update – this strategy paid off for Bennett: her JD Supra docs were linked from ABA Journal coverage of the OCTOMOM story, and she was interviewed about the case by legal news source Law360.]
5. Repurposed Blog Posts (and Subject-Specific PDF e-Books)
Some of our contributors post articles that first saw the light of day as blog posts. See for example law firm Barger & Wolen and legal coach Ed Poll among numerous others. Many of the legal professionals who employ this strategy tell us that they appreciate the distribution reach and SEO value offered by JD Supra (again: we syndicate the work widely across the Web on Twitter, by email digest, and via third-party news services).
Lawyer, author, and blogger Carolyn Elefant organizes various posts and pieces she has written over time into PDF e-books (see for example her Social Networking for Lawyers and Motherhood, Law Practice, and the 21st Century books). Such a terrific re-use of occasional writings and excerpts on specific subjects!
Each post, covering a different aspect of a specific theme, becomes a chapter in the book. It’s a terrific idea – and one that translates across the spectrum of legal practice(s).
Do you often return to particular themes or subjects in your blog posts? Do you have a treasure trove of truly substantive email discussions (on listservs, with colleagues, etc.) Do you have longer articles, even books, that might offer up on-topic excerpted material? Re-purpose the work! Include each piece as a chapter in an e-book complete with title page, table of contents, and bio.
In short: collect pertinent material from your body of work in ways that matter to your audience(s). Use your writings to expand reach and reinforce expertise in your field.
6. Press Mentions, Law School Papers, Print Publications, Law Practice Articles, Other Docs
Attorney Pamela Woldow, principal and general counsel at Altman Weil, uploads third-party press pieces mentioning/quoting her and the firm. In this way, Woldow’s JD Supra portfolio is a repository of media coverage that helps to tell the story of her particular legal expertise. Law students Michael Gumprecht and Bradley Schaufenbuel are building repositories of work written during their time at school (includes case work, articles, and more). Nicole Black regularly posts the law practice articles she writes for The Daily Record. Indeed, many law practice consultants and professionals archive on JD Supra their articles first published elsewhere (on blogs, in magazines, at conferences). We’ve even noticed a growing trend to post presentations and slide decks (converted to PDF) used in various lectures or seminars.
The point: legal professionals are prolific generators of written material – and so much of it can be put to use for you online. Everything you share on JD Supra is indexed by the search engines (it becomes very findable) and we distribute it (we take it to your audiences). Equally important, everything you post links back to your professional profile. The more you post, the greater your exposure.
What are you waiting for?
How do you use JD Supra? What are you posting to your portfolio? Please tell us in the comments – with a link to your profile. Let’s learn from the people who are doing it.
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