It’s My Thirteenth Birthday!

February 20, 2023 K.O. Herston 3 Comments

Thirteen years ago, I published my first blawg post right here on February 18, 2010. Thirteen years and 2,012 posts later, I’m still at it. Between then and now, this blawg has twice been recognized by the American Bar Association as one of the top 100 legal blogs, and both times it was the only state-specific blawg to receive that recognition.

So now that the blawg is officially a teenager, I figured I’d answer the most common questions I hear from lawyers about the blawg.

Why did you start blogging?

The short answer is I’m cheap frugal careful with money.

Here’s what happened.

In 2000, I couldn’t comfortably afford a Yellow Pages ad. However, I knew the Internet was rapidly growing as a marketing resource, so I made this terrible website myself with a program called Microsoft FrontPage.

To no one’s surprise, that didn’t do much. So years later, I started paying to be listed on This worked—as long as I paid.

In the summer of 2009, my assistant commented that she hadn’t received any calls from prospective clients in three weeks when we used to receive calls almost every day. I checked Findlaw and discovered I was no longer listed. I called them, and they discovered that my listing had been removed for three weeks even though I paid to be listed. They apologized, credited me for three weeks, and restored my listing.

The phone started ringing again.

This was a wake-up call (literally).

First, I realized I wholly depended on a third party for my online presence. Second, I understood that this third party had a gun to my head regarding pricing. They could increase my cost by any amount they wanted. If I wanted my phone to ring, I’d have no choice but to pay for it. I knew this was not a workable long-term solution.

So I started investigating my options, and after much deliberation and thought, I decided to start blogging about Tennessee family law. My research revealed that a blawg required a long-term commitment if it was to have any chance of building an audience. I committed to producing content for a minimum of one year—possibly two—before deciding whether it was worth continuing. Then and now, the Internet was littered with blawgs abandoned after a few months when they did not produce instant results. I committed to keeping at it for a set time even if no one read it.

With the commitment made, I hired a designer to build the site, and this is what it looked like at the beginning:

I had already been reading the appellate opinions in family-law cases for several years, so I decided to write summaries of the noteworthy opinions and comment on them.

I kept at it, and it eventually developed a loyal audience—first lawyers and judges, then laypeople seeking detailed information and analysis of Tennessee family law.

So, that’s why I started.

After a year or two, I no longer depended on Findlaw to make my phone ring. So I canceled my Findlaw account and never looked back.

Maintaining this blog only costs about $300 a year, but the main “cost” is in the many hours spent reading the cases and commenting on them. All of this provides an online presence that is not dependent on others and makes me a better lawyer. It’s a win-win.

Why do you still do it?

Me at 13

Because it has succeeded beyond my expectations!

The blawg establishes my presence on the Internet as a knowledgeable source of specialized knowledge and expertise. It also establishes trust because I give the reader specialized information while asking nothing in return. Thus, it provides the holy grail of marketing, i.e., expertise you can trust. And it does so with an ideal audience—educated people seeking information about family law, whether they are judges, lawyers, or laypeople.

It also forces me to keep up with the constant changes in Tennessee family law, which makes me a much more effective lawyer than I would be otherwise.

How many hours do you spend on blogging each week?

It varies. Each day I download the family-law opinions issued that day and add them to the list of unread opinions. Then I review them and mark them up whenever I can, often while sitting on the couch at night with the television on, on weekend mornings, etc. If there’s a case that I consider “blogworthy,” it gets moved from the “to read” list to the “ready to blog” list.

Writing the actual post usually takes about 30 minutes, depending on the issues and whether I want to add a “K.O.’s Comment” at the end. However, writing so many posts has made my process far more efficient than it used to be.

I’ll add that I’m a poor typist, so most of my posts are dictated using speech-to-text software. This speeds up the process but results in more typographical errors, e.g., “he went threw the house,” “the marital residence is value,” etc. My paralegal often reviews my posts before they are published and alerts me to those errors or when she sees something that doesn’t make sense. Without her review, readers may reasonably question my literacy.

Would you recommend legal blogging to others?


Candidly, I’m amazed that so few lawyers do it. I realize it requires time—but the benefits eventually make that time commitment worthwhile. There are lawyers and judges across the state (and elsewhere) who know me as a knowledgeable authority on Tennessee family law, even though we’ve never met. For example, the largest marital estate I’ve ever handled was referred to me by a reader/judge I’ve never met. When I appear in court in outlying counties, I’m often greeted by local lawyers and judges who recognize me from the blawg and thank me for doing it. In ways large and small, the blawg helps my readers, creating goodwill that money can’t buy.

If you’ve been thinking about starting a blawg, I’m happy to hear your ideas (preferably over a beer) and provide guidance and feedback. There’s a lot of room on the Internet for others.

If you found this helpful, please share it using the buttons below.

It’s My Thirteenth Birthday! was last modified: February 20th, 2023 by K.O. Herston

3 People reacted on this

  1. Happy Birthday!!! As one of the “laypeople” that regularly follows your blawg, I’ve been amazed with your knowledge and how you breakdown complex legal concepts in a way that even non-attorneys can easily comprehend. You have always been kind enough to patiently answer my questions and even recommend other cases that relate to the material. Thank you so much for all you do here. I have learned so much from you.

  2. K.O, you are providing a tremendous service with the blog. I don’t always have time to read cases or other developments in the law so it’s comforting to know I can rely upon the accuracy of your summaries. Thank you.

Leave a Comment