Thoughts on construction law from Christopher G. Hill, Virginia construction lawyer, LEED AP, mediator, and member of the Virginia Legal Elite in Construction Law

An Interview with Amy Derby a/k/a/ The Law Firm Blogger

Amy DerbyFor Musings’ second Guest Post Friday, Amy Derby of Law Firm Blogger fame has been kind enough to interview me for her guest post here at my corner of the blogosphere. Amy is a law blog consultant who helps small firms and solos learn to write better blogs and utilize the social web to network and brand. Based in Chicago, IL, she was previously a corporate bankruptcy paralegal at DLA Piper. Amy has been very helpful to me in getting Musings up and running and I recommend her highly to anyone starting a legal blog.

What inspired you to start your blog in December? Did you have any particular goals in mind or any kind of strategy? Or a certain message you wanted to convey?

I had been posting profiles, etc. on LinkedIn, JDSupra, and other business “networking” sites and not seeing much return. I had a Twitter account and was occasionally posting but found no followers until, at the urging of @copelandcasati (aka @greenmodernkits) I just started talking. I quickly found several folks to follow and things just took off.

I then started a Tumblog (if that the right word) and got it set up, and I still use it for links, etc. on construction topics that I find I need to make a quick comment upon. I realized that this was not enough to keep my name out there so I hit Blogger and started my Construction Law Musings blog. I scrambled around seeking followers, trying to get a foothold and with advice from several folks, including you and Anne Reed of the Deliberations blog, I finally found a theme and a reason aside from “I really should be out there.”

My inspiration for doing it? To have some fun and to allow me to get my thoughts out there to clients, lawyers and anyone else interested in a more condensed easy to read format than with a firm newsletter or an attempt to get published in a trade journal (though I have done that too). I quickly realized that Musings is the hub of my informational/marketing output and that having Musings actually saves me time because of the tools to link it to so many other sites and applications. Without Musings, I’d be trying to get the same information cut and pasted to a ton of different sites.

I hope my message is that I care about construction, have expertise in the area, and am a decent guy willing to get this information out there to help people whether they are clients or not.

You’ve told me you enjoy the more leisurely writing style of blogging – and it’s always refreshing to meet lawyers who understand that a blog post shouldn’t look like a Motion for Summary Judgment. Did the casual writing tone come naturally for you, or did you have to work at it?

The casual writing tone comes naturally (sometimes too naturally). I try to engage people on a personal level. I represent construction pros because I enjoy getting to know them and like representing people that I can talk to and enjoy their company.

You seem to really know how to strike up a conversation online and engage folks, both on your blog and on Twitter and LinkedIn etc, which is something I love to see. Did you have lawyer buddies who were blogging and using social media before you started, or have you been building your online network from the ground up?

Thanks Amy, I appreciate the compliment. I have been doing this from the ground up. I really had no idea how to start, I just knew that I needed to do it. I enjoy meeting people and this has been a great way to do that. I now have lawyer buddies that blog, but I met them because I got involved, and not the other way around.

One of my favorite things about Web 2.0 is the ability to connect with folks instantly and get to know them so much better and faster than I would any other way – aside from being trapped in trial prep with them for months on end, perhaps – especially with people I would have otherwise never have met. Have you made any of those fabulous connections that have made you think, “Yes! This online stuff is DEFINITELY worth it?”


I certainly have met many folks that I now consider friends and great resources of information, conversation and humor. I can’t possibly list them all, so I apologize in advance for leaving someone out. I have found a wealth of information and great people through Twitter and comments to Musings.

Do you have any favorite folks you’ve met online? Bloggers you would recommend? Twitterers to follow?


Aside from those that I talked about when answering your other questions, I have truly enjoyed meeting and interacting with @sharishapiro (Green Building Law Blog), @scottwolfejr (Scott Wolfe, of the Wolfe Law Group), @chrischeatham (Green Building Law Update), @advocatesstudio (Martha Sperry) (Advocate’s Studio), and many others that I would have to take days to list (how’s that for ending this like an Oscar acceptance speech?)

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7 Responses to An Interview with Amy Derby a/k/a/ The Law Firm Blogger

  1. Hey Chris!

    Thank you so much for having me over to your blog for Guest Post Friday, and of course for taking the time to answer all my questions.

  2. Amy and Chris,

    Nice interview. Interesting conversation. I was starting to explain who I am, but this comment is not about me, it’s about what I’ve learned and continue to learn about both of you.

    My law specialty is not construction law. My only exposure to a mechanic’s lien is when I was in college the guy who fixed my car said he could keep it until I paid his bill. Never liked mechanic liens.

    Christopher, Amy and I follow each other on twitter. What shines through in this interview is your quiet passion and commitment to using your skill and expertise to genuinely help your clients. Bravo.

    I love the name of your blog. “Musings”. It such a pleasure meeting an expert who is not a self described guru. Using the word “musings” made me want to read more. We’ve all heard the word, but I wanted to see if it meant what I thought it did, and matched your mission.

    It does! “musing” can be a noun, adjective, adverb and cooks a mean chili dinner for Super Bowl Sunday. I think the noun is a match for you and the tone you set.

    Noun: musing myoo-zing
    A calm, lengthy, intent consideration
    – contemplation, reflection, reflexion [Brit], rumination, thoughtfulness

    I never thought anyone could make me want to learn about construction law. You have. Once I gain a little knowledge, I’m going to get my Camaro back.

    Nice job both of you!

  3. Larry,

    Thank you for the thoughtful post. I appreciate the time that it took to put this together. Anyone willing to define musings with a British definition is okay in my book.

    I hope that by having different voices here I will learn something and increase the breadth of this blog beyond what I can contribute on my own.

    I look forward to hearing your thoughts as I continue to muse about construction.

    PS- Let me know if you need help getting the car back.

  4. This was a very good post. I too went through the posting on other sites, and found twitter to be much more conversational and then I got into blogging a little more and posting a few more articles through our firm's website. These blogs and such are great for those lawyers who are specialized as advertising in the yellow pages will not always get you best results and its just fun to actually talk about the things that may interest you that don't normally get brought up in the Bar meetings.

    Having resources on the web such as yourself is a great benefit and I hope to grab a beer or coffee (whatever your taste) when i come through Richmond in the fall.

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