More and more people are asking this question. The number of legal bloggers is increasing at a staggering rate. Should the proud bloggers mention their best blogposts in the publication section of their CV?
In the year 2010, when I was still a 5th year student in NUJS, a first year junior dropped by to my room to show me an article he had written. As I started reading it, I realised it was a great article. However, what was more important was that it was written about some intricate questions of gambling law. The author was intending to publish this in a law journal. I advised him to start a gambling law blog instead. In fact, I got the website set up and started writing some articles myself too.
A few days later, near the academic block of NUJS, the junior caught hold of me and told me that it is probably a bad idea to waste good writing by publishing them on the blog. Should he not publish in legal journals instead? That will create better CV points. He doubted that he could mention blog posts in his CV.
I told him that publishing his writing as blog posts is the best thing he could do, and if he sends those articles to journals instead, he may get published but nobody will read his articles. If he publishes on a blog, however, he will be discovered and will never have to look back as a lawyer. I told him blogging regularly will make a huge contribution to his career, and he agreed to trust me.
I discontinued my participation in the blog the following year as I got busy with iPleaders, creating the first version of our first diploma course. However, the stature of this law student grew and grew from there as he continued to blog about gambling laws. Within a couple of years, Times of India, Mint etc. leading newspapers across the country were quoting him as an expert whenever they will write about gambling laws. He was invited to provide consultation to casinos and online gaming ventures. He was invited to conferences. He got to network with the top people in the gambling industry.
By the time he graduated, getting a job at a big law firm was quite easy for him. A big law firm was willing to let him create a gambling law desk if he stayed with them for long enough. He quit to start his own law practice within a few months and has never looked back since. He works with top clients from the gaming industry in India and abroad.
His name is Jay Sayta, founder of GLaws.in, one of the top gambling law websites in the world. Do you think he mentions his blog or his blog posts if he ever writes a CV?
I am such a strong believer in blogging for lawyers, that when I got around to updating the curriculum for our flagship Entrepreneurship Administration and Business Laws diploma course in 2015, I ensured that there is a writing assignment every month for every law student, which if good enough, would be published as blog posts, giving the student a much needed CV boost.
Law firms are launching their official blogs
For a long time some of the progressive partners of law firms have blogged. It was a personal thing. For instance, leading corporate law academician and former partner of AMSS, Umakanth Varottil, started the Indian Corporate Law Blog. When I was working at Trilegal, at least one of the founding partners was a regular contributor to a tech law blog. However, law firms didn't have their official blogs yet. It took them a bit of time, until 2016-17 to realise that they should probably have their own official blogs.
At present, several of the big law firms in India have official blogs. CAM launched a blog last year. NDA has a large database of legal documents and articles on its website which looks pretty much like a blog. Other law firms are contributing to outside blogs to get more visibility. Compared to this, international law firms like Allen & Overy host many different blogs in different areas of law and launches new ones once in a while. Contract law, arbitration, financial investigations - name it and they have an independent blog on it! Skadden Arps run a blog on their website that they call “insights”.
In short, blogs have become mainstream for lawyers. Some of the top lawyers of today are bloggers, and only very few old-timers may discount your blogging experience if they will consider your journal publications.
Which blog is it?
While legal blogging itself is well recognized and appreciated, one must also keep in mind that there are websites that will publish any garbage, even fake news. This is quite similar to the trust problem people have these days with legal journals. A lot of legal journals have cropped up where one can get published even by paying a small amount. While it is useful for academicians who have to increase their UGC score for the next increment, lawyers do not respect such credentials.
Hence, it is important that you publish your articles in high-quality blogs that a lot of lawyers already read and know about. For instance, if you publish IP related articles in Spicy IP, or corporate law-related articles in the Indian Corporate Law Blog, or even any article on iPleader blog or Livelaw.in, the publication will be recognized and respected. As opposed to this, if you publish in your own blog which has 17 articles in total or a student blog started by someone which ran out of steam after 5 months, recruiters may not respect that publication quite at the same level.
It is important for you to notice if the blog where you want to publish has a proper system to weed out bad articles. If the blog do not have editors or editorial process, it is probably not a very good place to publish your article. Also notice if other good law articles are being published. If yes, it's a good idea to publish your article there, and to mention the publication in your CV. If you published your article in some random e-zine, or a student blog that 300 people read in a month, probably you can skip that.
Which of my blog posts should I mention in my CV?
If you are a regular blogger, you may end up writing dozens, or even hundreds of blog posts if you are like me. Which ones are you going to mention in your CV?
Of course, the best 5 or 6. More than that may be an overkill. If you have a lot of empty space to fill up, maybe best 10.
How to decide which are the best ones for your CV? It depends on the job for which you are applying. If you are applying for a media law job please don't mention about your family law or constitutional law articles or even M&A related articles. Stick to articles about media law, IP, IT and other related areas only. The more relevant to the role you are looking at, the better.
How should I mention the blog post on my CV?
Just write the title, name of the blog where you published, date of publication, and if possible (especially when the CV is a softcopy) the link too, but don't include long URLs which clutter your CV and may make it generally ugly to look at. Basically, just write it the way you would have mentioned a journal publication or a newspaper publication. No need to mention separately that you published in a blog, as the distinction between online journals, websites, blogs, e-zines etc is anyway very difficult to make.
We are entering the golden age of legal blogging
We are definitely entering the best time in history to be a legal blogger. You can cultivate a huge audience. Just look at this article an intern at iPleaders (Dhruv Dikshit from Delhi University Law Faculty) once wrote, it has over 94,000 views currently. There are others with lakhs of views. The numbers will keep growing! Here is an article written by an ILS student as a part of coursework that has been read over 18000 times.
Let's say you are a law student very interested in M&A law and is going to appear in job interviews in months to come. What if you write an article about practical challenges of doing cross border merger transactions in India? If it is good enough, contains the right details, will it come up on google searches about cross border merger transactions? If it does, one can predict that in months to come, probably all M&A lawyers would have read your blogpost. If it is good enough, they will remember your name.
That's the opportunity with legal blogging brings to you.
If you are a part of iPleaders Club or you join the Diploma in Entrepreneurship Administration and Business Laws, you will have to regularly write blog posts as a part of curriculum and publish the same if you write well enough. You also get feedback on quality of writing from time to time. Check out the program if you think you can benefit from the same.