David Canton: Blogging was “a chance to become my own publisher”

We’re excited to present the first installment of our Original Clawbies Winners Interview Series with these blogging insights from David Canton. Canton is a trademark and technology lawyer at Harrison Pensa in London, Ontario and started his blog, eLegal, in November 2004. He’s also been blogging regularly at Slaw.ca since 2008.

David Canton blogs at eLegal.

David Canton blogs at eLegal.

You’ve been blogging for more than a decade. Do you remember what prompted you to start blogging in the first place?

There were a number of things that came together. I have an interest in new tech in general. At the time I was writing a regular newspaper column on tech law. And you could probably count the number of lawyers with blogs in North America on two hands. So having my own blog was a way to write, to promote, and get on the ground floor of something that I saw at the time as being a game changer. It was a chance to become my own publisher. To put it in perspective, at that time there was no social media – no twitter, no LinkedIn, and Facebook was just a college ploy.

Has blogging changed your professional or personal life? Can you share an anecdote or two?

It generally takes a certain number of times to meet with an individual before they are comfortable enough to do business with you or treat you as a peer. Blogging and social media in general can act as those first meetings. There have been times when I’ve met people in person for the first time where it seems like we have already met several times.

Where does your blogging inspiration come from? Do you use an RSS reader or social media to be alerted to topics of interest?

Since I practice in the tech and IP area, there is always something new and changing in both the tech and the law. I find inspiration for most topics on social media – which is what I use generally to keep on top of both tech and legal changes. The topics I write about are a combination of what I think my clients and client influencers would be interested in, spins on tech topics that are different than I see being expressed in the press, and sometimes just things I find interesting.

Has blogging helped you become a better lawyer/librarian/etc? In what way?

After blogging for a while, one builds up a fair repository of posts. I often find that when a new topic comes up with an existing client, or a new client comes to me with an issue, I’ve already written something about it that I can immediately send to them. That helps inform the client and adds to credibility.

Writing also makes one think about the topics in a way that often adds clarity and simplicity, as blog posts have to be expressed in a clear, easy to understand way.

How do you spread the word about a new blog post? Through social media or other channels?

I have my blog set up to automatically send out notices via twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Harrison Pensa also cross posts them on the Harrison Pensa website blog.

Thanks, David, for sharing with us! Coming up next Wednesday: Michael Geist.

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