Today’s my Grandpa’s birthday. He would’ve been 86 today.

I always feel a little torn on the days of milestones for the people I’ve lost. Do I celebrate the day? Do I mourn? I think the obvious answer is both – and though I error on the side of celebration for the light those people brought into the world, I mourn the hole they left behind as well.

A hole that only time can fill. A hole where empathy and joy and kindness once occupied. A space that will remain vacant so long as I live. Continue Reading The world really is darker without some people. Happy birthday, pops.

Last night was my family’s traditional “year in review: Christmas reflection” night. After unwinding from an intense dance-off to “old town road” with our seven-year-old nephew, we composed ourselves around a 200 sq. ft kitchen. Dad finally posed the question for us to converse about and take turns answering, “What are a few of the ways the pandemic changed you this year?”

The sirens in my mind went off. Here we are, a middle-class, healthy, white family in our matching flannel pajamas, full off salmon and asparagus. The room got silent for a few minutes. I figured we were all trying to find the words that adequately acknowledged how privileged we felt in that moment of reflection. There was something ironic about this scene to me: reflecting on a disease that millions have lost loved ones to or been isolated from, while we were celebrating our reunion as a family. Reflecting on a year where the impoverished were hit hardest, jobs left hundreds and thousands unemployed, and basic human necessities were stripped from an unfathomable amount of people while we hunkered down with a 5-month old baby, a reunited mom with her seven-year-old-son, and grandparents who were able to take it all in.

Continue Reading Can 2021 be about humanizing the human experience?

I went on a walk with a friend last night and discussed the ways 2020 changed us

We made the hot chocolate our upstairs neighbors gifted us before they flew back home to New York. We watched them pack up their lives and bring trash bags full of half-used cooking supplies down to our apartment. If I could sum up 2020 in a nutshell, it’s leftover hot chocolate moments, the things people leave behind when there isn’t enough space to take it all.

Like the doors we closed with old loves and the layers we shed when we continued on with life. The traditional ways of thinking we got stretched out of. The ways we learned to navigate letting go of silence and comfort in return for understanding and correction.

Continue Reading The things we leave behind

My partner and I have been playing tennis after work at the local Pacific Beach courts two blocks from our home here in San Diego. It’s a hobby we picked up when visiting friends in Milwaukee a few months ago, and have stuck with it ever since. We’re actually getting quite decent.

If you know anything about tennis or have spent any amount of time playing, you know how dang frustrating it gets. You under-hit and get the net – you overhit and find yourself down a ball (either interrupting the players next to you or chasing the ball somewhere on the other side of the fence). Both scenarios suck, but at least with under-hitting, you’re guaranteed the luxury of not having to run far nor interfere with another’s game.

Continue Reading Swing hard and miss, but don’t swing soft

One of the hardest elements to building out a department in a company will always be the seemingly easiest ask: What are the goals? What are the problems, and how are you going to fix them? 

In community, I’m constantly reminded to assess the goals of all projects and to measure the why before I measure the scalability or scope of something. Tactics get placed on the back burner if the intention isn’t explicitly clear. Why talk about the execution of a project if you don’t know the point of the project? Seems like a waste of time, right?

As I’m closing in on six months at this role of building out a community department, I have some clear reflection points I’d like to touch on. I knew this role would take a while to get into the grove of, but I had no idea what an uphill battle it would be, nor did I prepare for how isolating it would feel in the beginning months. I haven’t talked much on that, because well if you haven’t heard, we’re in a pandemic… and just about everyone and their dog feels more isolated than normal currently.

Continue Reading Whatever you do, do it with intention.

Finding the thought leaders.

Those are the goals of this community leader program. Going through the list of practice areas, identifying legal topics currently being covered in LexBlog’s network, identify the thought leaders in each, and marching onward to get more lawyers blogging and more firms syndicating. There are thousands of legal bloggers, both inside LexBlog’s network and outside it. But despite the volume of legal bloggers and intake forms, are connections being shared? Do lawyers really know one another, share one another’s content, and help each other out? Furthermore, are people on the internet seeking information and help, getting what they need from lawyers? What would it look like to form communities among practices areas of the law, where people would know one another and collaborate on a deeper level?

I had a thought this morning on my walk pre-work. “How can I most easily explain portals in a way that makes sense and is captivating for people to want to partake?” I thought, as I was shuffling through my discover weekly playlist on Spotify.

A lightbulb went off – this is it! Portals are exactly like Spotify playlists. Curated songs based on all the genres of music I subscribed too at the beginning of my Spotify journey. I have both playlists that I have built, playlists I have collaborated with others on, and playlists broken up by genre of music or mood I am feeling. I contribute to these playlists, I share them with friends and other Spotify listeners, I open them up for others to add to, and I am adding new music on a daily basis to keep up with the relevant music in the scene.

I subscribe to other playlists that I know contain music I wouldn’t otherwise find on my own or have been recommended to me from a friend. I don’t add to these playlists because I don’t suppose to know much about all genres of music – mainly just R&B, but I do appreciate having access to them for circumstantial reasons. The point is, even if I’m not an expert in one area of music, I know where I can find people who are, and how to access their playlists. Since I am keen on R&B and have an ear that’s been tuning itself to R&B for years, I am confident creating curated playlists of R&B artists, sharing these playlists with others, and allowing others who also love R&B to collaborate with me on these playlists because I trust they know what I’d want added.

same goes for the law.

Why have syndication portals by practice area? Because right now, people need trusted lawyers, easily found and accessed online. Portals will allow lawyers, by practice area to be aggregated in one centralized hub and easily searchable — information will be curated with the most timely and relevant legal news each day.

The roadmap for establishing community leaders by practice area:

Week 1: November 2-November 6 – take inventory 

  • of the topics that are currently syndicated on, which communities are thriving? which communities have the most amount of blogs, and which communities have clearly identifiable leaders?
  • who is covering which area of the law?
  • identify which areas of the law do we need more coverage in?
  • create a list of potential community leaders, broken down by practice area (selecting from those we currently have in network).

Week 2: November 9-13 identify the leaders and begin community building with current lexblog members

  • outreach to the potential community leaders begins, telling said leaders about the community leader program.
  • from the completed spreadsheet of inventory  in the lexblog community, I will begin outreach to invite lawyers  into their respective slack channel
  • continue inviting lexblog members based on practice area into the channels

Week 3: November 16-20 creating syndication portals based on practice area

  • create 5 syndication portals for the top five practice areas in the lexblog community
  • start to take current rss feeds and blogs from lexblog members, syndicating them into portals on a practice area basis, broken down by channels as show in portals like this.
  • the community leaders will be in charge of updating syndication portals and fostering conversation on slack channels with LexBlog’s community manager

Week 4: November 23-27 continue building out syndication portals and vibrant conversations

  • create the second 5 syndication portals for the next batch of practice areas – the second 5 practice areas with vibrant communities and established leaders
  • continue appointing slack channels to the leaders, monitoring the slack channels with them and spotlighting new members to the community

Week 5: begin outreach to legal bloggers not currently in lexblog’s network 

  • after establishing in-network leaders, start researching + finding the top law firms in each key metropolitan city. after finding the most vibrant bloggers and those covering niche areas of the law and those who are seeing great success in their blogging career, begin contacting those firms and telling them about lexblog syndication and the communities that are being built for their practice area
  • after taking inventory of the areas of the law lexblog has covered well, and what we’re in need of, i will go state by state and begin recruiting legal blogs by locale, practice and expertise.

The community leader program will take thoughtful research of understanding who we’re currently working with, what areas of the law we’re currently covering, then transition to recruitment of who we want to be working with, and what areas of the law we want to expand in our network and which thought leaders we want to bring into our community. It’s important because there are too many people out there with good content – content that can help others. We need to bring that work to the surface and shine a spotlight on it for innovators to see and replicate in their own practice area or topic. Join the movement, together we can expand legal services online like never before.

community leader program

what will be covered in this blog post: 

  • goals of the community leader program
  • why you?
  • what’s the benefit?
  • how will it work?

looking for the helpers

Community leaders and role models are in every industry. They are the ones who stand out, the ‘go-to’ experts, the leaders who you can rely on for honest, timely information that is relevant to their reader/ client.

What would it mean to let leaders lead; distributing ownership between those on the forefront of the community blueprint. Alongside community leaders, LexBlog – equipping and empowering lawyers at a larger reach. We’re looking for quality, genuine, impactful lawyers that are speaking up often, looking for ways to help, expanding legal access to all, and passionately engaged in their jurisdiction.

“It’s time to rebuild companies not from the top down or even the bottom up but from the middle out—through groups of middle managers who bond together and drive key changes in their organization.” – Henry Mintzbeerg
The community leaders we’re looking for are the ones currently driving change and advancements in their practice areas. We’re simply recognizing them and utilizing them to pull others up, too.

these will be our guiding pillars for outlining the leaders we reach out to in these efforts.

1. Community leaders see themselves as being in the center, reaching out rather than down. They facilitate change, recognizing that much of it must be driven by others.

2. Community leaders are personally engaged in order to engage others, so that anyone and everyone can exercise initiative.

3. Community leaders benefit and get benefitted, too. Commitment becomes contagious when people realize its immense benefits not only to the organization but to themselves. healthy organizations take corporate social responsibility seriously and gain significant benefits in return.

We’re looking for the leaders who take the corporate social responsibility seriously – those who contagiously infect others to do the same because they recognize the value in the results.

goals of the community leader program: what we’re looking to accomplish

  • identify the model bloggers in each practice area in key metro cities in each state
  • empower, equip, and partner with leaders in key industries who are covering niche areas of the law and blogging/ providing publications online
  • shine the spotlight on bloggers in each jurisdiction in each state who are publishing good content, often
  • shine the spotlight on bloggers who are passionate and motivated to see growth in the legal blogging community in each state, and to identify the areas of the law in each state that are lacking open, accessible information.
  • identify the lawyers who are creating meaningful relationships on the internet and cementing their reputation through word of mouth connections via their blog and see more mentorship from these lawyers
  • shine the spotlight on the lawyers who care about their clients in a real and authentic way, and who are already helping to expand legal access services to those who need it
  • partner with thought leaders who are creating already offering resources and other relevant legal/social commentary for their clients and other lawyers in the industry
  • through partnership and mentorship, we will push recruitment efforts of law students at top law schools to syndicate their content onto LexBlog’s platform
  • foster conversation and engagement


who we’re going after: those we think are doing a really good job.

The heart behind the community leader program, in a nutshell, is to shine the light on people who are doing good work for others. Our goal is to build a community that functions sustainably and grows consistently. First, we must lay the foundation with sturdy, trusted pillars –this is where community leaders come in.

Our approach to helping legal bloggers in each industry thrive: identify the model leaders in each practice area, state, and bar association. Once we’ve identified the top industry leaders and bloggers, it will be our responsibility to elevate the work of said key leaders, give them ownership of online engagement with their community, and bridge the gap between connections.

In return, it will be the community leaders responsibility to be the trusted source of guidance for which other lawyers can measure excellence and success. It will be their responsibility to elevate the standards of a strong online presence, timely and insightful reporting on a niche area of the law, and to create real, authentic relationships with other lawyers and clients.

By partnering with leading lawyers, we will continue the mission of teaching our communities how to also become the go-to lawyers in their practice area. Together, we will be empowering the voices of our communities and generating the most timely legal information on the internet.

This community will be passionate about the pursuit to expand legal services for good. We will be dedicated to measuring success through relationship building and advancing digital publications of the law, accessible for all. Our goal is to equip and empower a global network built around LexBlog’s mission to provide real-time news and insights powered by the legal community.

what will this look like?

What we’re hoping to accomplish, through mediums such as state-based-portals, slack channels and open forum discussion, is building authentic relationships. What we’re hoping to see come from those relationships is business success, advancement of the law, and a sense of belonging in a community bigger than yourself.

Via syndication portals of each state, searchable databases of information by jurisdiction will become a searchable database in one centralized hub. Portals (like Illinois, Texas, Arizona, Wisconsin, New York, and more) will aggregate all legal blog content into a quasi digital magazine featuring the best and most relevant blog posts on a constant basis. Each portal includes profiles of the contributing lawyers, their blog, and their firm.

In each portal, channels will break down facets of the law that the firms in each state (with legal blogs) are covering.

LexBlog admin would partner with the community leader to keep their community up to date with timely news and information, keeping portals up-to-date each day, inviting in other firms or lawyers in the state with legal blogs, and create open forum discussions via slack to generate real conversation.

Through slack channels broken down by state. The community leaders of key areas of the law in each state, alongside myself (the community manager of lexblog), will help facilitate connections between other lawyers in the industry, provoke thoughtful conversation and dialogue, and share resources with the community.

Since we believe everyone should have access to the law, we are confident LexBlog has the ability to help others by providing the most timely, relevant legal news in all facets of the law, written by thought leaders like yourself.

Through communities on social platforms, as well as syndication of blogs broken down by state, the legal community will have access to information like never before. Additionally, people seeking help can find the lawyers who are experts in each area of the law.

Lawyers now, more than ever, will have a chance to help those seeking it and showcase their expertise through LexBlog’s turnkey solution and free support.

The community manager at LexBlog will be working closely with each community leader to develop content, conversation, and spaces for the community within each practice area to build lasting relationships.


closing note

“Getting talented people to work effectively with one another takes trust and respect, which we as managers can’t mandate; they must be earned over time. What we can do is construct an environment that nurtures trusting and respectful relationships and unleashes everyone’s creativity. If we get that right, the result is a vibrant community where talented people are loyal to one another and their collective work, everyone feels that they are part of something extraordinary, and their passion and accomplishments make the community a magnet for talented people coming out of schools or working at other places. I know what I’m describing is the antithesis of the free-agency practices that prevail in the movie industry, but that’s the point: I believe that community matters.”

Remember 2-a-day practice days when you were in high school sports? Generally a workout or practice in the morning before classes start, and again after the day was over. After 4 weeks of 2-a-day practices and workouts the result is clear: mistakes lessen, teamwork increases, grit gets built, and avoidable mishaps get more easily avoidable.

Take that concept, and integrate it over to building out an FAQ on blogging – what does it look like? Stick with me here.

So, I started doing 2-a-day FAQ questions that would come into our support queue from clients for two reasons. 1). So that I could quickly learn the questions that arise often from a user-perspective on our platform or with the medium of blogging and 2). So that I can begin to answer these questions in a cohesive doc or blog for people to reference down the road, when the same question arises time and time again with new bloggers. Rather than answering 1,000 different tickets for 1,000 different people, it seemed to make more sense if there was one place for 1,000 people to read the same, consistent answer from. Efficiency is key, right?

Though each question is a bit different and circumstantial, the underlying ask and curiosity stems from (and could be boiled down to) a handful of larger questions. I started flagging these questions as they came into our queue, bookmarking the ones I found fitting for a “commonly asked question.” Though we often have at least 5-10 tickets with questions a day, I thought it would be helpful to start documenting just two of them a day as a way to gnaw away at them. As I begin to answer these, they will be placed in the resource center so people can have access to evergreen answers and refer back to them as questions continue to arise with existing bloggers as well as new bloggers.

The resource center, if you haven’t checked it out yet, is a one-stop shop that will equip legal bloggers with the tools they need to succeed the practice. From blogging fundamentals, to blogging strategy and best practices, to social media presence, the resource center was built to help good lawyers do good work. Eventually, I envision the resource center being a place for people to ask questions, to receive guidance from peers in the same practice or struggling with the same issues, and a space to build community with legal bloggers in all industries – all because they share a single commonality: being a legal blogger who wants to advance access to the law and build authentic relationships. 

When I began dreaming up this resource center, I asked my team if they saw the same necessity for it. It was clear in the first week – every person on the LexBlog team was for it. Here are a few of the comments from the team – the comments that fueled the goals and the hopes for this center…

Our customers and community need more guidance on blogging best practices and writing for the web. This will help us own our blogging philosophies in a more proactive way instead of jumping in to help after our customers/community members are already stuck. If this were coordinated with the topics we cover in our strategy calls that would be awesome…it could allow our customers a place to continue building on the concepts they learned in their strategy calls.” – Kira Wilson 

“I would really like to see a forum section where bloggers can talk to each other and ask questions about blogging to get ideas or just moral support. I think this would be especially helpful.” Wendy Nickolay 

It should facilitate relationships and demonstrate our expertise to customers.” Garry Vander Voort 

“We can definitely use more resources, and not support articles such as, ‘This is how you add an image’, but resources that really assist in blogging best practices. They can be fun, inspiring, creative, and less a step by step documentation.” Russell Knot

“Having a place where legitimate, regularly updated, and useful location for blogging advice would be great. If you buy a product straight from the manufacturer, you’d expect them to have info on the product. We have the technical side, but not the creatives.” Chris Grim 

But we have a support center – how does this differ? Well, like I mentioned, I envision this tool being used as a space for conversation, and open forum dialogue, and inspiration between legal bloggers to spread.

Aimee, our head of support a few months back, said this

The support center serves its purpose for learning step by step instructions for specific tasks, but it doesn’t go much deeper than that. I think we need something like a resource center so our members have more ways to engage directly with each other to ask questions, share knowledge, and network. The value members or LexBlog gets really depends on how many people are engaged, the quality of the content, our ability to highlight good content, and organizing content so it is easily readable + searchable. I envision something that nods to a searchable community message board with moderators, questions+ topics presented in threads that members can reply to, and a homepage that highlights member voted or moderator pinned conversations to highlight. Moderators can be LexBlog employees or even community experts that LexBlog promotes to a moderator – I think promoting community moderators is a very important step with driving engagement when we give community members more ownership in the community.

**Queue the community leader program I’ve been doing research for** I think Aimee nailed the hammer on the head. To give ownership to those in the community, those who are hoping to succeed in this blogging practice and see results for their business – they are the ones we want to be supporting. Leadership sometimes means stepping down and stepping aside to listen, to let others lead too, and to give voice to those who speak differently than us, think differently than us. At LexBlog, it is our responsibility to work with legal bloggers, for legal bloggers, and everything in-between.

All this to say, 2-a-day question-answer formatted posts are going to start coming out + added to the resource center, as well as a community-driven aspect. Big things ahead. Back to the drawing board we go.


I swear every time I read a new article about community building in the new virtual world we’re living it, I get different information and read contrasting tactics/ arguments from community managers trying to figure it out. Remember when COVID first hit back in February, and the information coming out changed on the daily? “You can get this virus in the air…” “you can only get this virus in droplets on surfaces”….”this virus is only effecting older populations”…”we’re now seeing children and youth infected with this virus as well…” “it should only last through the summer, the high temperatures will kill the virus…” “this virus isn’t going away any time soon…” You get the point.

Researching community building and successful community-driven companies has unraveled the same issue. “Measure success by engagement and replies to posts/ track website traffic and click-throughs often”…”quantity of replies doesn’t matter, focus on the quality of engagement for true successful community building” …”healthy communities are always growing and deepening their reach”…”healthy communities are tight knit and drive high quality experiences” “size doesn’t matter actually” the list could go on. Here’s a few examples, just from the last few days.



The topic is often subjective to what the community driver/ motivator is looking to get out of the community  (ie. a strong business reputation, networking opportunities, ROI of community) rather than building the framework with the community for the community (thanks Bailey for being the pioneer of this concept). While all those things listed are important and worthwhile to dive into as well, community builders must start at ground level and work their way up, rather than visa versa. I learned this the hard way.

I started this role by focusing on “How do we get more members in the network? How do we get people to interact more frequently with one another? How do we measure success of connections between people? How do we offer value to clients/ members?” rather than “What are we trying to achieve here? What are these clients telling us they need through support tickets and questions each day? Where are we lacking the resources? What are the goals of this community? Why do we think it’s important?” Measuring and implementing tactics before assessing and brainstorming motives is like trying to build a four story building with only nails and a hammer.

Slow down, go back to the drawing board, and pretend you’re back in the 5th grade outlining an essay. Who, what, when, where, why – just start there. Who? Legal Bloggers. What? Building a community of authentic and real connections. Why? Because relationships are the foundation of this industry, and our product is the medium of building these relationships. Because we believe authentic community changes everything. Dive into these goals and what the value of these goals will add to this community this year, 5 years from now, 20 years from now, and as long as online legal blogs are used. Lay a firm foundation before you try to hang the drywall. Hang the drywall before you begin buying decor to fill the home.

I suggest that community managers are placing more emphasis on how to measure and how to achieve rather than why it matters and what value it adds. Don’t get me wrong – this is crucially important as well (I’ve read every one of those articles and bookmarked them for when we begin the execution and implementation phase of this building), but it also muddies the water for leaders trying to understand what the goals of community are, who community is for (who it’s with), and why it matters at all.

There are a million ways to approach community, but there are few ways to measure its health. I’ve joined countless slack channels for community gurus, innovators, and consultants. It seems that quite literally everyone is spending their days trying to measure engagement, track success, and quantify community. I’m sure that works for many companies, especially those who have a standard or competition to compare their results with. But what about in legal tech, where community is highly unchartered yet desperately needed.  In an industry where individualism is valued and a book of business is built on a lawyer to lawyer basis, or at best a firm by firm basis. Lawyers can respect, refer, and build their network with other lawyers their whole career – but do they really know reputations and character of the lawyers out there? Do they trust one another and feel confident collaborating with them when crafting content for clients or curating information for their blog posts? What does community look like in the age of digital publications?

What I’m looking for are a few things. Community within various legal industries. Community within states, locale, or key metropolitan cities. Community within bar associations. Community between clients and lawyers. Community between seasoned lawyers, community between new lawyers, community between law students. All of these smaller, broken down communities will make up one larger community – a community bigger than ourselves.

These communities will have their own goals, their own purpose, and their own functionalities, but will be serving the same cause for the same people. Expanding legal services to all people, for good. Hunter Walk, previous director of product management at Google and now partner of Homebrew VC, articulated it best in his article “‘Coming for the Content, Staying for the Community’ Started With Video Games (Or Maybe Religion?) But Will Define Media This Decade” He writes,

Over the last year I’ve started paying more indie creators directly for their work — heavily biased towards podcasts and newsletters/blogs. The other night I was wondering which ones I’d likely still be subscribing to a year or two from now. The “absolutely yes” category was dominated by creators who had branched beyond their initial piece of content and created some persistent space for the community to aggregate. What they’ve done is use their content to assemble an audience and then create a space for that audience to create content with each other — aka community. In some cases the space is an extension of the content, talking about that week’s newsletter or podcast. But the most interesting ones broaden to envelop the general common interest areas of the group.

Queue a legal directory broken up by the criteria listed above – practice area, state, locale, key cities, bar associations, niche, etc. Lawyers will use their blogs to create content with one another, share resources with one another, refer one another, and build deep, authentic relationships with one another through their online publications. Portals will be built based on shared interest over a topic or state and will form communities around targeted, relevant, timely information for readers on the internet.

The legal blogging industry is void of a strong community with endless possibilities for change – we’re just getting started, dipping our toes into the unknown. LexBlog is ready to dive headfirst.

Rebuilding companies as communities

I found an article written over 10 years ago that re-surfaced itself as the top hit when I typed into google search, “companies that utilize community leaders to grow.” This article, written by the Harvard Business Review author Henry Mintzberg, introduces the idea of rebuilding companies as communities rather than hierarchies . Though he starts out by touching on the benefits of individualism for developmental and promotional advancements, he dismantles old systems of top-down leadership and shines the spotlight on “communityship” – a “modest form of leadership that might be called engaged and distributed management.”

Before we begin unpacking this article, it’s important to provide some contextual incentives behind my decision to deep dive into this topic:

Growing our community at LexBlog and what a community leader program might look like for us

When Kevin hired my back in June, he made it abundantly clear this path was unchartered territory – each time I would ask him what community would look like in the legal blogging community, he would turn the tables back on me and ask what I envisioned it to look like. Since community seems to be a buzz word yet everyone seems to approach it differently these days, I’ve spent the majority of my months in this new role straight up researching. Studying what other companies are doing, studying how community management and engagement even became a commodity, and trying to unpack what goals it would achieve for our clients + members of LexBlog. What value it would add for our clients + members?

As a starting point, laying our foundation, Henry says this about community,

We are social animals who cannot function effectively without a social system that is larger than ourselves. This is what is meant by ‘community’—the social glue that binds us together for the greater good.

Continue Reading Show me a leader, and I’ll show you a bunch of followers.