Criminal defense lawyers who maintain a blog are already ahead of their peers who do not. A blog is an excellent way to establish yourself as an authority in a particular area of law and to build a community of readers who turn to your blog for keen legal analysis.
We have previously provided tips to personal injury lawyers about what to write about on their blogs, and many of these tips apply to criminal defense blogs, as well. We recommend that all lawyers who blog, regardless of their practice areas, take a look at those tips. However, there are also some topics and issues that are unique to criminal defense, which we address here.
Highlight the Vulnerable Aspects of the Prosecution’s Case
If you are discussing a recent event and providing your own legal analysis of what transpired and what might result, hone in on the specific elements that you think are key to the defendant’s case. This should be easy for you, as it is exactly what you would do if you were handling the case yourself. It is also a quick way to include the substantive legal discussion that is crucial from an SEO perspective.
For example, if you are discussing a recent drug trafficking arrest that made local news, you might discuss whether the law enforcement officers had a proper warrant, or whether the evidence was properly handled. Even if you don’t know the exact facts of the case, you can still describe what are typically the vulnerable areas in prosecuting similar cases.
Discuss Constitutional Rights
Most lay people have only a vague understanding of constitutional rights, particularly the rights of criminal defendants. If you can explain clearly what these rights are and what they mean in practical terms, you can not only help prospective clients from unnecessarily incriminating themselves before they hire you as counsel, but also inform the general public about the law. For example, you might discuss the meaning of the Confrontation Clause and give concrete examples of how that might play a role in a case like those you handle.
Even complex concepts like the Exclusionary Rule can lead to an interesting series of blog posts; you might even learn something you didn’t know before!
Focus on Case Law
As we emphasized to personal injury lawyers, your blog posts can also focus on case law. Unlike with news articles, judicial opinions contain most or all of the legal analysis you need to write a blog post, so it usually straightforward to explain the facts of the case and the judge’s analysis. You can even add discussion of whether you think the decision is correct, although it is wise to use deferential language when discussing a judge or a judge’s opinion, even if you disagree.
If you need ideas for case law to write about, consider these resources:
- Google Alerts: Google Alerts will allow you to set up notifications anytime a particular search string appears. For example, you could set up an alert for the phrase “Miranda warning.”
- Justia Opinion Summaries: Justia offers a free email newsletter with summaries of recent opinions. You can sign up for newsletters by court (daily) or by practice area (weekly).
- Courthouse News Service: You can use this website to keep up with what’s happening in trial courts (state and federal).
Another resource that can be more helpful for criminal law bloggers than for bloggers in other areas are other blogs. Although the following blogs are often very academic, they often discuss issues that affect basic rights and common scenarios:
You may wonder how these types of blog posts will help you get clients. After all, your clients might not care about the legal nuances of their case; they may just want charges to be dropped or an acquittal. But these types of posts are essential for their SEO value. They help you establish yourself as an authority on the subjects you are writing about, which means your blog will improve in search results rankings. Higher rankings mean more visitors, and more visitors mean more clients.