When I say “stumbled,” I mean I had absolutely zero strategy, or purpose in mind.
There was a free 30 day trial with the blog software, and I was curious about how blogs worked.
The experiment led to some interesting things, which motivated me to keep blogging.
A lot of readers were attracted to my blog because of the name. How did I pick the name “Ernie the Attorney”?
One of my early mentors, U.S. Magistrate Michaelle Wynne, used to call me ‘Ernie the Attorney,’ which everyone always found amusing. It was in memory of her that I gave it the name.
Serendipitously, since there weren’t many lawyers blogging back in 2002 when I started, I got a lot of attention pretty easily.
In 2004, the American Bar Association invited me to speak at their annual technology conference in Chicago. The topic? How to market successfully on the Internet.
My advice was honest but useless: if your name rhymes with your profession use that for your website name.
My marketing strategy back then was modeled on the cartoon character Mr. Magoo (i.e. blindly stumble around and rely on Karma).
So, even though I was blind to how marketing actually worked, I managed to achieve pretty amazing success simply by being curious (and having a mentor who gave me the idea for what turned out to be a great blog name).
Okay, there was actually one other important thing: I was one of a small group of lawyers who were open-minded about using technology to practice law.
My dabbling in the world of blogs and then getting introduced to lawyers who shared my curiosity about the power of technology wound up helping me transform my law practice.
I had been practicing commercial litigation for almost 20 years, working on complex business lawsuits.
Those kinds of lawsuits involve lots of paper, and typically required a lot of secretary and paralegal time to organize those documents. I was really interested the idea of scanning paper to digital files, specifically PDFs.
Learning how to work with PDFs instead of paper turned out to have a profound effect on my work life.
In 2006, after Hurricane Katrina devastated my city, I gave up my partnership at 50-lawyer firm to start a low-overhead, paperless solo practice.
Through my website PaperlessChase.com, and as a speaker, author, and blogger, I help other lawyers in small firms learn how to leverage technology to boost profits, cut overhead, and outmatch big firm lawyers.
Small firms are poised to leverage technology in amazing ways, but they need help figuring out how to use technology in a way that’s useful, not stressful.
My mission now is to help those small firm lawyers transform their practices, the same way that I transformed my law practice.
I’ve written two books that have been published by the American Bar Association:
I also self-published an e-book to show lawyers how to harness the power of PDFs in their daily law practice: