From trial lawyer to CEO: McGeorge alumnus builds a thriving platform for legal blogging community
Kevin O’Keefe, ’82, the CEO and founder of LexBlog, the world’s largest community of legal bloggers, views blogging as a platform for lawyers to utilize and build a reputation within the legal community.
“Blogging makes a difference,” O’Keefe said. “Lawyers who blog and make a difference in other people's lives is what gets me out of bed each morning.”
“When I first discovered blogging in the mid ‘90s, I thought that it would be a good fit for lawyers because lawyers get their work by reputation and relationships,” O’Keefe said.
Initially, he answered legal questions on AOL message boards and led AOL’s legal community.
“I said, ‘Well if I went to law school to help people and I can't answer these people's questions, then I’m in the wrong career,’” O’Keefe said. “My assistant would help me pick four to seven questions every day to answer, and the people loved it.”
O’Keefe started LexBlog in 2004 out of his garage in Seattle to empower lawyers to connect with people and build reputations as trusted and reliable authorities.
“When I could not find someone to help me with my own blog, I started a company to provide what I needed,” O’Keefe said.
During the company’s first year, seven blogs were hosted on the LexBlog platform. “During the second year, we had 30 blogs and then it kept doubling every year after that,” O’Keefe said.
Over the past 17 years, LexBlog has grown to a community of 30,000 legal professionals worldwide. LexBlog is also used on a subscription basis by 18,000 legal professionals, including the largest law firm in India, China, and the U.S.
O’Keefe’s son, Colin, is a publisher and vice president at LexBlog. His son, Conner, does business development for the company.
Before founding LexBlog, O’Keefe clerked for a law firm in rural Ireland. He was a trial lawyer in La Crosse, Wisconsin for 17 years. He also founded a virtual law community called PrairieLaw.com, which was later sold to LexisNexis. After selling PrairieLaw, O’Keefe served as the vice president of business development for LexisNexis’ Martindale-Hubbell division.
O’Keefe earned a degree in finance from the University of Notre Dame. He also received a JD and an International Certificate of Concentration from the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law. O’Keefe said he was drawn to McGeorge because of the institution’s location in Sacramento, the weather and the school’s bar exam passage rate.
“McGeorge gave me the opportunity to meet new different people and get licensed to practice law in California,” he said. “Having a law degree opened so many doors for me.”
O’Keefe advises students to take time to form friendships with classmates and make connections. He said he met one of his lifelong friends on his first day of law school at McGeorge. That friend now serves as General Counsel for LexBlog.
“Take the opportunity to just reach out and shake hands with people you don't know,” he said. “They might turn out to be some of your some of your best friends ever.”