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China Law Blog: An Interview With Dan Harris

By The Editors

How do successful lawyer bloggers find the time? And does blogging really bring them new clients? We’ll be speaking with a few high-profile legal bloggers to get the inside scoop. Today, we interview Dan Harris, who co-authors the China Law Blog with Steve Dickinson.

Dan Harris

Harris & Moure PLLC
Based in Seattle, with lawyers in Beijing, Chicago and Qingdao

Dan Harris of ChinaLawBlog

How long have you been blogging at China Law Blog?
Since 2006.

How frequently do you publish a new blog post?
Pretty much every day.

Do you have help writing the posts?
Yes. Other lawyers in the firm frequently contribute and we sometimes get guest posts. Our staff also assists.

How do you discipline yourself? 
“Just do it.”

Why did you start blogging? 
To let the world know that we were out there with lawyers in the United States and in China and handling China legal matters every single day.

Is your blog sponsored by anyone other than your law firm?
We have always been the only people behind it.

Do you accept advertising?
We have never accepted advertising.

Do you find that your blog is an effective marketing tool?
Absolutely yes. It has led to countless articles on our firm, constant requests that we speak on China, and many excellent connections.

How do you track the effectiveness of your blog? 
In the first year, I would check readership numbers with some cheesy device I added to the blog. I tired of that after I realized that the number of readers didn’t really matter. Since then we have done absolutely nothing to track any aspect of the blog. I know it works because:

  1. We have won just about every award in the book.
  2. We are always ranked in the top 10 of everything that is relevant to our blog.
  3. Just about every week, a potential client contacts us and says that they read such and such on the blog and now they want to talk about hiring us to assist them on the exact same thing.

What is the most effective thing you have ever done with your blog?
Start it and keep it going.

What is the most surprising thing that has happened because you blog?
I have learned a ton from our readers and I have met and become friends with a whole host of them, both in China and in the United States. I never expected either of these things when I started.

What is your best advice for other lawyers who are interested in starting a blog for marketing purposes?
Don’t write for “marketing purposes.” Write because you are fascinated by your topic and because you want to start a conversation with your readers. Blogs written for “marketing purposes” virtually always fail. It will take you at least a year of pretty much daily postings to build up a readership, and if you are not prepared to stick it out for at least that long, don’t even bother.

Dan Harris practices with 17-lawyer Seattle firm Harris & Moure, PLLC. He is internationally regarded as a leading authority on legal matters related to doing business in China and in other emerging economies in Asia. The China Law Blog is co-authored by HM lawyer Steve Dickinson and the ABA Journal recently named it to the Journal’s Blawg Hall of Fame (a designation so far given to only 20 law blogs).

Photo courtesy of Harris & Moure PLLC.

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