I just reviewed thirty requests to join LinkedIn’s Legal Blogging Group, approving most of them. The ones not approved were from people with no interest in the law or legal blogging.

As with last week, I was struck by the number of people from countries other than the United States, particularly India, who requested to join. Young people studying the law and practicing law made up the majority of the requests.

There’s a large number of young people interested in the law no matter the country. But why so many law students and young legal practitioners outside the United States expressing an interest in blogging as compared to those in the United States? Especially India.

My first thought is that the United States is sorely lacking when it comes to law schools preparing their students for life in the law today.

Sure, there is the core law that students are learning. And sure, students from the top fifteen or twenty law schools are going to get good jobs in large firms by learning the core law, alone. If a large firm is what they want.

But most law schools in the States don’t expose their students to blogging as a way to learn, as a means of legal scholarship that is more meaningful than law review, and as a way to build a name so as to get hired. Let alone as a valuable business development, networking and learning tool of value to hiring law firms.

There are few deans, professors and administrators who blog. Most academics have not experienced blogging, first hand, as a learning and a professional development tool. There are no role models for law students.

Some schools that have started programs on professional development that covered blogging and social media have stopped the programs, sending the teaching professors on their way to other schools.

Other schools have offered a brief program on blogging here and there and then dismissed blogging. Some law school deans have gone so far to express a strong interest in starting such a program, only to dismiss the idea – in many cases as a result of pressure from professors.

The reason for less interest in the States may also be with the law students and recent grads, themselves.

I have not seen a lot of initiative by law students and grads to be different. To put in the effort to learn something new and to put in the effort to do what it takes to set themselves apart.

Maybe some law students and grads from overseas have not been handed what many U.S. law students have been handed over their lifetimes. Maybe they’re willing to fight.

The LinkedIn Legal Blogging Group is just a small sample of law student and law grad interest in blogging. But the numbers over the last few months have been striking.

The State Bar of Wisconsin is the latest bar associaton to partner with LexBlog to bring a legal blogging community to their state or metropolitan area.

The legal blogging community partnerships are twofold. One to create a hub for all things legal blogging in the jurisdiction. And two, to make it easy and low cost for lawyers to begin to blog or to continue blogging on a better platform than they’re currently using.

From Michelle Newblom, reporting for LexBlog on this partnership, over the past few years, the State Bar of Wisconsin’s Communications Team noticed a steady increase in the number of its 25,000-plus members who are actively blogging as a way to communicate their expertise and build their reputation.

But bloggers were looking for a way to increase readership of their blogs. And for lawyers in general, there was not an easy place to find relevant blogs, subscribe to multiple blogs at once and access a central database of this growing body of secondary law.

The Bar’s answer was the launch of an online blogging community exclusively for Wisconsin legal bloggers—WisLawNOW, using LexBlog’s Portal solution, the same technology platform powering LexBlog’s global legal blogging community at LexBlog.com.

Per Joyce Hastings, communications director for the Bar:

We want WisLawNOW to be the hub for member-generated content in Wisconsin.

WisLawNOW gives our members access to a growing, timely library of legal knowledge that is searchable and responsive to mobile devices.”

Aggregating numerous Wisconsin legal blogs into one hub provides bloggers and their firms with greater visibility. Readers can easily navigate to different subject-matter channels and view profile pages of author biographies and the blogs published by a lawyer or firm.

Peter Kraemer, digital communications coordinator for the Bar, wants to ensure that regardless of a blogger’s location or practice niche, they can widely share their expertise and create connections with a broader audience.

We’re excited about the prospect of really bringing together a whole community within this easy-to-use product. It’s their words that matter to our audience. We just want to bring their insight to everybody.

The WisLawNOW community is not just for lawyers. It’s a resource for the public as well, per Hastings.

There are a lot of people who are interested in the law beyond the legal profession – especially for those whose work requires them to stay on top of change. WisLawNOW also is a potential resource for referrals within the legal community as well as the public.”

COVID-19 is a perfect of example of the public needing legal information overnight and lawyer-bloggers stepping up to the plate to fill the void, per Hastings.

When the pandemic hit, the Communications Team lacked an effective infrastructure to quickly aggregate this new content for the public, per Hastings. The WisLawNow portal takes some of the pressure off the in-house team.

Like other bars, Hastings has a small team, she needed a way to efficiently develop and push content as issues evolved. Leveraging the latest in aggravated publishing technology in the form of a legal blogging community enabled the Bar to readily make information available without diverting resources from other priorities.

Wiscosnin’s a big state with a lot of communities lacking bloggers on various niche subjects. There are also subjects not being covered on statewide niches for wich there are succesful legal bloggers in other states.

To help lawyers get started blogging, and to grow this legal blogging community, the Bar will make LexBlog’s professional turnkey blogging solution available for free, and after six months, at only $39 a month.

That’s the price of a WordPress.com business blog and a solution that LexBlog sells for $200 a month.

LexBlog will walk Wisconsin lawyers through the setting up of their blog and provide them education on how to blog strategically and effectively.

It’s a real honor for me, growing up in Wisconsin and practicing as trial lawyer there for seventeen years, for LexBlog to be part of building Wisconsin’s legal blogging community.

I’m right with Kraemer in hoping that through WisLawNOW, the people of Wisconsin “get a real sense of who the thought-leaders are in Wisconsin,” and that the blogging community grows “to act as a forum for lawyer members.”

When I’m sharing a news story regarding a law firm on Twitter – positive news about the firm – it would be nice to give a shutout to the managing partner/executive chair as well as the firm, generally.

The problem is that most chairs/managing partners are not active on Twitter.

Being as weak as the next law firm when it comes to a simple form of innovation – communication – is a scary place to be.

If you as a leader of a law firm, can’t reach in your purse or pocket and pull out your iPhone and share an engaging Tweet, you’re lacking on the innovative communication front.

I use Twitter a fair amount, not to push information at people, but most importantly to listen to the pulse of what is taking place in my market and to engage my audience of customers, business development partners, fellow tech company leaders and influencers – reporters, bloggers and heavy social media users in my vertical.

If I want to engage a multi-billion publishing software company leader, I reference her or him and something I wrote about them on Twitter. We’re talking by Zoom within a week.

If I want to explore international expansion in a particular country or continent, I start to follow certain organizations and people on Twitter. I’ll strategically engage them.

If I want to to give kudos to our customers and organizations for their work in the access to legal services and social justice arenas, I give them a shutout on Twitter. The world hears it, and others join in the kudos.

There are many more things that for which the leader of a law firm could use Twitter, including the leading of their own people and demonstrating that they are engaged, innovative and care.

The obvious responses are I don’t have the time, we’re a law firm so we have ethical issues preventing the use of Twitter, we have to maintain confidences and so much more.

That’s just telling the world you don’t know how to use innovation.

Not that long ago, law firms dismissed Twitter as a joke. They missed on that one.

The Democratic candidate for President just announced his choice for Vice-President on Twitter. President Obama immediately chimed in on Twitter with a strong endorsement of Senator Harris.

Having an innovation officer at your law firm, whose hiring was pitched to news outlets by your communications’ team is one thing.

It’s a whole nother thing to share with clients, potential clients, business partners and bloggers and the mainstream press who know you, personally, via social media, that a leader in innovation has joined the firm to work with you personally on the the innovation front.

The first is talk. The second is real – and walking the talk.

We’ve moved forward in so many ways on the communication front. Many of us remember working as lawyers without email. Imagine telling someone today that you don’t use email.

Failing to use Twitter may not be quite as bad – but it’s close in some people’s minds and it’s certainly a sign that that you and your law firm are lacking on the innovation front.

I’ve been following stories about industries that are growing as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

My thought is that such sectors may represent an opportunity for lawyers looking to build a name during the pandemic by covering legal issues related to such sectors in a blog.

I read an article earlier this week about industry sectors in Boulder which are adding jobs while unemployment is increasing statewide as a result of the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Such as?

  • A plaque and metal engraver working round the clock now that it has converted to manufacturing laser-cutting face shields and sneeze guards.
  • Life-sciences arena with one Boulder company expanding its workforce in part to to produce lipid excipients to be used in the development of a vaccine for Covid-19.
  • A fabric boutique and sewing shop which started sewing masks to mitigate canceled in-person gatherings. Fabric sales have increased by 30%.
  • Public health agencies hiring students with public health backgrounds, social workers and public health epidemiologists to aid a statewide contact-tracing program.
  • Amazon says there are currently 1,000 positions in Colorado that need to be filled, which include operations, fulfillment, tech and corporate positions.

I’m not suggesting that each of these organizations or industries represent an opportunity for legal work.

I am suggesting it’s worth your while to do what the vast majority of lawyers will not do.

  • To think differently.
  • To look for opportunities, not more of the same.
  • To look for niches others aren’t thinking of.
  • To start reading the news, statewide and nationwide, looking for businesses and sectors that are growing during the pandemic. I use Feedly to monitor the phrases pandemic business development and covid-19 business development.
  • To use the Internet in a strategic way by blogging to a niche that’s not being covered by other lawyers. Is there information and commentary you can share for these industries or the employees in the industry?

When I shared the above article on Twitter a lawyer referenced a growing gaming industry. She referenced new hires as in-house counsel in the the industry.

If not for industries, look at employees. Imagine the growth in workers compensation claims for delivery workers and grocery workers, both being hired in larger numbers and working harder. Same for healthcare workers.

A state workers compensation law for delivery workers blog is not far fetched at all.

Rather than questioning whether blogging to a niche that represents a growing opportunity during the pandemic, as most lawyers will, why not look around and see what’s possible.

Blogging on niches that were not being covered has proven to be successful. Just look at the lawyers who have built careers doing so.

A greater number of lawyers are taking to Twitter during the Covid-19 Pandemic than at probably any other time. Everyday, I’m seeing lawyers from all over the world starting to use Twitter for the first time.


  • Lawyers appreciate the need to network online when they cannot network in person.
  • With less travel, face to face social engagement and time spent on outside interests, lawyers have more time to experiment.
  • Consumers and small businesses are being slammed economically. Lawyers appreciate that the market of available of clients is shrinking.
  • With more available time and a shrinking market, lawyers are looking to develop a reputation in niches, even niches in which they have not practiced before.

Using Twitter for business development is an art. Twitter, itself, is not hard to use, but you need to know what you are doing to accomplish anything.

Here are eleven tips for those of you new to Twitter – and maybe a few veteran Twitter users.

  • Focus on a niche. Doesn’t matter if it’s an area of the law you do work in, you want to do work in or an area outside the law. No one is going to pay much attention to a person without a strong following on Twitter who is tweeting on random subjects. You’ll likely be treated as noise. By being an AP (Associated Press) on a subject, a funnel of news and commentary on a niche, you will become a must have Twitter feed – or least someone of interest. If tweeting on an area outside the law you will at least learn how to use Twitter.
  • Realize it takes time to learn how to use Twitter for business development. Maybe six months, maybe a year. That’s okay. Twitter is a gift that keeps on giving. If you know how to use Twitter strategically, you’ll be ahead of 99.99% of lawyers who have no clue how to use Twitter.
  • Twitter is more about listening (reading) than sharing items. You need to have something to Tweet so you need to be listening to what is being said (written) in your niche.
  • Learn how to use the news aggregator, Feedly. Feedly will serve as a funnel of news and commentary from which you can select stories to share on Twitter. You can receive sources – blogs, news publications and journals having RSS feeds as well as stories from any influential source which include words or phrases you are following.
  • Learn how to use Buffer, which when integrated into Feedly or your browser, will space out your tweets. When you share tweets from items in Feedly once or twice a day, your tweets won’t be one on top of another.
  • Use images. Buffer will give you the option to pull one from your news source (most often, and the easiest) or to pull onefrom your photos.
  • You need to engage others to network via Twitter and to get some of them to follow you. This comes by referencing what others have said or what has been said about them. You do this by including their Twitter handle when attributing the story to them, ie, ℅ @abc or by referencing their Twitter handle in place of their name in the tweet in which they are a subject.
  • Use Twitter lists. Create a Twitter list in the name of your niche. Find the most influential Twitter users in your niche. Add them to your Twitter list. The name of the list is important as the people added will be notified of their addition and Twitter will display your list when people create similar lists. Find list candidates by searching for influencer’s Twitter handles and by seeing who the relevant influencers follow – or if they have lists. Use your list to find stories to tweet or to retweet. The influencers will see you and your followers will like the news you are sharing.
  • Craft a custom tweet from the stories you see. The title of the story, alone, is likely not enough. Share the gist of the story or what you took from it. Taking a money quote from the story works well – and lets the reporter or blogger know you read their story and quoted them, as opposed to the copyeditor who crafted only the title, in the case of a news publication.
  • Retweet and like other’s tweets, others will see you. Retweeting with a comment is the best source of engagement as you can then add your insight and commentary, as opposed to just liking or retweeting.
  • Take engagement beyond Twitter, as appropriate, into requesting a connection on LinkedIn or sending an email.

Understanding how to use Twitter is like anything. It takes time and practice.

When you do master Twitter, you’ll be glad you did. You’ll become known as a trusted source in a niche.

If you’re a blogger, you’ll have a growing audience who will share your blog posts. After all, you are sharing other’s stories, before sharing your own.

Need more help on Twitter, let me know. Maybe we could put together an online program on the strategic use of Twitter for legal bloggers.

I sat down with business development coach and author, Nora Riva Bergman, last week – at least virtually – for an interview for her upcoming book, 50 Lessons for Happy Lawyers: Boost wellness. Build resilience. Yes, you can.

Nora was nice enough to enough share some of what I shared with her in a blog post. I thought I’d share some of that with you.

Lawyers need to think differently during the pandemic, now is not the time to do the same.

“The biggest problem lawyers have is just getting in the way of themselves and being guided by other lawyers. In order to innovate, somebody needs to be an innovator. The greatest challenge I see for lawyers is that they’re going to try to correct the situation by just doing the same things. It doesn’t work.”

Look at how consumers interact with services and products. They don’t interact with them in the same way that legal services are being rendered. So, there’s real opportunity for lawyers who are willing to be different. Now’s the time not to be the same.”

Learn How to Really Use the Internet for Business Development

“99.9999% of lawyers have no clue how to use the internet. It’s built for relationships. It’s built for building a name. Most lawyers don’t know how to use it.

Lawyers have to understand the internet is an opportunity to communicate, to basically build your own room, so you can network with people, engage with people, and other people can see you doing that.”

Be Vulnerable and Have Faith

“Until we’re vulnerable, it’s hard to take a step forward. Lawyers are afraid to be vulnerable, and maybe rightfully so. They think if they let their guard down, other lawyers will think less of them. Vulnerability means letting your guard down and doing something different. And if you don’t know what to do, that’s okay. People will help you along the way. Others have laid down paths that you can follow.

It takes a sense of faith in yourself and in the world that things will work out because they always do.”

Thanks Nora, I look forward to reading your book.

And for those of you not following Nora on social media, she’s a real pro. There’s much to be learned for lawyers from her use of social media for business development.

The opening day of baseball, three months delayed because of the pandemic, is tomorrow.

The New York Yankees will play the World Series Champions, Washington Nationals while the San Francisco Giants visit the Los Angeles Dodgers.

In the O’Keefe house, the night before opening day, Sunday in the old days when baseball always started on Monday, meant watching Field of Dreams – and seeing how long it would be before Dad started crying.

I don’t recall where I first saw Field of Dreams or whom I was with. I do remember the last time – a couple weeks ago on July 4, on the side of a pole barn building parked in a small grass field on Vashon Island, a ferry ride off Seattle.

I made it all the way till Ray’s dad walked out of the corn and asked, “Is this heaven?” before crying this time.

Watching the Field of Dreams on the Fourth I couldn’t help but wonder just how many entrepreneurs were guided and inspired by the movie to go forward with their dreams.

How many companies were founded and built because of the “Field of Dreams?”

I left a law firm to start my own law firm and closed the firm, without any financial backing, to move my family two thousand miles from home to Seattle to start one company, and then my current company, LexBlog.

In each case, no matter how crazy my cause, I knew I would succeed. I was totally guided by “If you build it they will come.”

Look at some of the lines in Field of Dreams, which many of us know by heart. They’re the stuff that legal entrepreneurs eat up.

On the importance of not waiting “for other days” to act on your dreams, look at the exchange between Doc (“Moonlight”) Graham (Burt Lancaster) and Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) about Doc not acting on his dream to be a Major League baseball player.

Doc Graham: It was like coming this close to your dreams and then watch them brush past you like a stranger in a crowd. At the time, you don’t think much of it. You know, we just don’t recognize the most significant moments of our lives while they’re happening. Back then I thought, ‘Well, there’ll be other days.’ I didn’t realize that that was the only day. And now, Ray Kinsella, I want to ask you a question. What’s so interesting about a half an inning that would make you come all the way from Iowa to talk to me about it 50 years after it happened?

Ray Kinsella: I really didn’t know till just now, but I think it’s to ask you if you could do anything you wanted, if you could have a-a wish.

Dr. Graham: And that you’re the kind of a man who could grant me that wish?

Ray Kinsella: I don’t know. I’m just asking.

Dr. Graham: Well, you know, I-I never got to bat in the major leagues. I’d have liked to have had that chance just once, to stare down a big-league pitcher. To stare him down, then just as he goes into his windup, wink. Make him think you know something he doesn’t. That’s what I wish for. The chance to squint at a sky so blue that it hurts your eyes just to look at it. To feel the tingle in your arm as you connect with the ball. To run the bases, stretch a double into a triple, and flop face-first into third, wrap your arms around the bag. That’s my wish, Ray Kinsella. That’s my wish. And is there enough magic out there in the moonlight to make this dream come true?

Ray Kinsella: What would you say if I said yes?

Dr. Graham: I think I’d actually believe you.

On knowing that things will work out, no matter that others can’t see what you can clearly see ahead, look at Terence Mann’s (James Earl Jones) assurance to Ray that people will come to his ball field in the middle of an Iowa corn field.

Terence Mann: People will come, Ray. They’ll come to Iowa for reasons they can’t even fathom. They’ll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they’re doing it. They’ll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past. “Of course, we won’t mind if you look around”, you’ll say. “It’s only $20 per person”. They’ll pass over the money without even thinking about it, for it is money they have and peace they lack. And they’ll walk out to the bleachers; sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon. They’ll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they’ll watch the game and it’ll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they’ll have to brush them away from their faces.

The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game; it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and that could be again. Oh…people will come, Ray. People will most definitely come.

And on knowing when you’ve achieved your dreams, no matter how small or big they may be, check out this exchange between Ray and his dad, John Kinsella, a ghost (Dwyer Brown), while playing the catch they never had while father and son.

Ray Kinsella: You catch a good game.

John Kinsella: Thank you. It’s so beautiful here. For me, well, for me, it’s like a dream come true. Can I ask you something? Is, is this heaven?

Ray Kinsella: It’s — it’s Iowa.

John Kinsella: I could have sworn it was heaven.

Ray: Is there a heaven?

John Kinsella: Oh, yeah. It’s the place where dreams come true.

Ray: Maybe this is heaven.

I’ve not told many people that I chose Seattle as the place to start my first company because the Mariners were building a new baseball park. Meant the team couldn’t move, something regularly threatened by My boyhood team, the Minnesota Twins. A field of dreams that I could take my family to.

Living 140 miles from Minneapolis and the Twins, I didn’t see many games. My dad worked a lot and going to a major league game wasn’t realistic.

So when a Silicon Valley venture capitalist liked my dream of a virtual legal community, but said I’d need to move to there, Austin, Boston, or Seattle to get funding, I chose Seattle, a city where I didn’t know one person.

Looking back, I think I am like a lot of legal entrepreneurs, whether the founder of a legal tech company or their own law firm.

There was the moment in time when I knew it was then or never that I needed to act. No matter that others couldn’t see the dream, I knew that if I built it (hired great people, invested time and money), they would come.

And in the end, knowing I arrived at some place special – the place where dreams come true. I felt blessed in being able to help others and being able to care for my family at the same time – still do.

So when I watch Field of Dreams tonight, it’ll not be just baseball I’ll be thinking about, it’ll be about making my dreams and the dreams of others come true.

If you’re an entrepreneur, or thinking about becoming one, I hope you’ll watch along.

I’m in favor of legal blogs covering a niche.

Niche blogs become must have reading for people. Doesn’t matter if it’s one hundred, one thousand or ten thousand readers. You have the readers that matter.

You also develop a heck of a name in the process. A name not just in the niche subject, but a name as someone who has initiative and who is willing to share helpful information with others.

These are must have traits and skills if you’re looking to get a job in the law or build a book of business.

Want to get followed and get known today?

Publish a blog on what each of the fifty states is doing in regard to their bar exams during the pandemic.

It’s all over the board.

  • Some states are requiring applicants to sit for the bar, in person.
  • Some states are postponing the exam – leading to fewer lawyers when we already have an access to legal services problems.
  • Some states are having online exams, which many lawyers are crying foul over. The Montana Supreme Court even overruled an online exam.
  • And other hybrids of these.

A blog doesn’t require commentary, if you don’t want. Lots of successful legal blogs “report” on the law and legal developments. By covering a niche, you’re the only one doing the reporting.

Here, just look up and follow what the states are doing and keep track of new developments. Start with the top ten states, one post for each, and move on.

You’ll find law students, courts, bar associations, lawyers and the media – traditional, trade, and legal bloggers – following you. They will get to know you very well.

To make it easier, LexBlog will comp the blog for you so you’ll you have a nice looking site with a free domain, free hosting, SEO, visibility, coaching and support. You’ll also be able to have email subscribers.

I’ll personally help you on strategy and the approach.

I see this as a perfect fit for a law student or recent law grad.

How about it? You know where to reach me.

A couple years ago I was sitting in the audience at a legal technology and innovation conference in Amsterdam.

With people from all over the world seated around me, it dawned on me just how myopic we can be in the States.

Like other companies, I realized I’ve always been measuring LexBlog’s market success and penetration against the U.S. market.

But look how shorted this is.

  • The U.S. is not even in the top two countries, by population.
  • The U.S. only represents four percent of the world’s population.
  • 95% of consumers live other than in the United States.
  • Though U.S. purchasing power is higher than other countries, 80% of the purchasing power lies elsewhere.

Add to this the greater opportunity for rapid growth in the legal market in other countries.

The U.S. has had a robust legal system, including courts and published laws and cases for over a hundred years. Not so in other countries.

Technology, where not internationally hindered by governments to curtail social rights and access to the law, can drive new legal systems and access to legal information, worldwide.

Almost all of Facebook’s 139 million users are on mobile.

A continent, without access to the law before now, could reach legal information and access to legal services via a smartphone – assuming legal technology companies with solutions that scale get to work.

Just take a look at the legal tech work already taking place in Africa through the effort of local entrepreneurs.

Certainly there are legal tech companies in the States, which by their very nature, cannot move internationally. They’ve built solutions tied to U.S. laws and procedures.

But that’s not the case for most companies. Their solutions are very portable.

LexBlog’s SaaS publishing solution is being used in multiple countries and in multiple languages.

Just this morning, in our all hands meeting, the success of operating our platform, including its integration with our MailChimp email delivery, in Hebrew for lawyers and legal consumers in Israel was highlighted.

Dan Mintz, our head of sales, and I got together on my patio on Saturday morning to discuss strategic opportunities. Without any prompting on my part, Dan suggested we pursue international markets.

Dan knows we can’t travel overseas, but knows that I can network through Internet to build relationships with potential customers, influencers and referral sources.

For U.S. legal tech companies, networking the Internet is going to be the key.

CEOS and business leaders who know how to shake hands and line up conversations without “selling” are operating at a level others cannot see nor understand.

Also helpful is having a product that’s a good for the pandemic. Cloud solutions and online business development solutions come to mind.

We’ve talked international for quite a while. Now, knowing that border shutdowns are not an impediment, seems the time to test the waters.

Five years ago, sitting out front of a West Hollywood coffee shop, Matt Mullenweg, the co-founder of WordPress and CEO of Automattic, the operator of WordPress.com, asked me if I believed the best employees for LexBlog were located within forty miles of our Seattle offices.

I didn’t think much of the question, and shrugged Mullenweg off. He was serious though. Automattic was operating without an office, and had employees around the world.

Rather than calling employees, remote, Mullenweg called his team a distributed workforce.

I’m old school and had always believed an organization’s employees needed to work onsite, “together,” to build a culture, train new employees and be productive.

Mullenweg showed me that was not the case.

LexBlog has always been partly “distributed.” In addition to our Seattle headquarters, we’ve had full time employees across the country for over a decade. Some we never met before they were hired.

But over the last few years we moved to a pretty much all distributed workforce.

We post our open positions nationwide, heavily screen and hire full-time seasoned professionals with benefits without meeting them face to face.

In the last six months or so, we’ve hired team members from Austin, Los Angeles and Portland. In addition to these teammates, we have teammates in Massachusetts, Portland, Maine, Yakima, Washington, and Cincinnati.

We’d have our accounting manager in the U.K. had she been able to move before the pandemic. She already sold her house, and is now renting before she moves.

Like Mullenweg does, in February, I started to go out and visit my team, where they live and are most comfortable. It felt good, we got work done and I demonstrated that I valued their contribution to the “cause.”

When the pandemic lockdown hit Seattle in March, we let our remaining office space in WeWork, used by teammates who wanted to come in, go. We have no rent expense.

Mullenweg was featured in yesterday’s New York Times’ Corner Office column as an evangelist for remote work who’s now seeing the rest of the world catch on.

“I co-founded WordPress with a gentleman named Mike Little, who lived in the United Kingdom, who I had never met in person. So from the genesis, we were connected by a shared passion and online community, not the fact that we had ever physically been in the same place.

When Automattic started, the first-ever employee was in Ireland, then we had Vermont and Texas. I was in San Francisco. It was just very natural to bring people on from wherever they were, and not move them to San Francisco, which, even in 2005, was an expensive place to be.“

When asked if he ever considered having a main office:

It crossed my mind all the time, because pretty much every investor I talked to, including all the ones that said “no,” said, “You can’t do this. It’s not gonna work.” Or, “It’ll work up to 20 or 25 people, but there’s no other super successful company that’s been built this way.” I thought they might be right. I didn’t know.

Their argument for an office:

There’s a very intangible magic that people imagine happens in an office that’s necessary for innovation or design. Or maybe they think that not being in the same place is fine for engineers, who at that time were perceived as being in closets drinking Mountain Dew and eating pizza, but that it wouldn’t work for designers or finance people or other roles.

So there were a lot of biases and to be honest, it’s hardest to change when you’ve been successful doing something in the past. Prior to the ubiquitous availability of broadband, most companies were built in person.”

Unlike lawyers, for Mullenweg, it’s about productivity, not how many hours you work.

For most roles at Automattic, what you’re accountable for is a result. You could work 60 hours and not do a lot, or you could work 20 hours and do a ton. It’s really about result. And I do believe beyond a certain point, there is a diminishing marginal return to work. I also believe below a certain point, you’re probably not going to be able to keep up with people who are working something around like a 40-hour week. But in the middle of the bell curve, there’s a lot of flexibility.

Like Automattic, LexBlog was founded in the days of broadband (mostly).

I worked out of my garage. We hosted our customer’s sites on servers in Michigan. My designers and developers were in California, Georgia, Oregon and Ohio. We used web-based Salesforce to log all customer and prospective customer matters.

I did my marketing and business development by blogging, sometimes two or three posts a day. All sales and fulfillment were done via phone and the net.

Practicing law seventeen years myself, I’ve come to appreciate that lawyers tend to be Type-A’s, and by nature, look to do what’s harder. That can include going to the office, and asking everyone in the firm to join them.

But the pandemic has shown us that working remotely – with a distributed workforce – can be highly productive.

Those of us who relied on the workplace and travel for work for a lot of our social engagement may go a little crazy working from home, but it can be done – and it can be comfortable.

As Mullenweg says:

This column is called Corner Office, and most people who choose to have offices are usually the bosses. And I’ve been to the offices of billionaire C.E.O.s that have their own private bathroom, beautiful art and couches. But these are all things that you can have in your house. What I love about distributed organizations is every single employee can have a corner office.

Living in a condominium in downtown Seattle, I’m surrounded by office towers and these towers run a couple miles North of me to South Lake Union. They’re all empty now – including the offices of major law firms.

I doubt they’ll ever be fully occupied again. Leases will run and companies like Facebook, with a large office presence here, will give their employees the option of working remote, forever.

Mullenweg has shown us that a company with a valuation of over $3 Billion and twelve hundred employees can work, grow and prosper without a office.

Expect to see many companies follow – including many law firms.