Tech Question

Are Ghostwritten Legal Blogs Unethical?

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When we asked late last year whether you thought it was ethical for lawyers to ghostwrite legal documents, the results were mixed. With more than 800 readers weighing in (PDF), 60 percent answered that ghostwriting is ethical and happens all the time. Only 14 percent thought it was akin to cheating.

Then earlier this month, we reported on a stir in the legal blogosphere over ghostwritten law blogs.

Mark Bennett wrote on his Social Media Tyro blog that, “holding someone else’s resumé, face, or results out as your own in marketing your practice is fraudulent. No ethical lawyer could possibly think that any of that would be OK. So how is it OK for a lawyer to hire a ghostwriter to write his blog?”

But others have pointed out that lawyers have long relied, without disclosure, on marketing experts to come up with strategies and content for advertising campaigns.

This made us wonder what you think. Is ghostblogging unethical? Does it matter what kind of blog is being produced? Is it OK if there’s disclosure?

Answer in the comments below.

Read answers to the previous Tech Question: E-Mail vs. Face-to-Face: What Are Your Rules?

Featured answer:

Posted by David M.: “I’m an attorney for a local government.

Rule #1: Never put anything in an e-mail that you would not want a judge to see.

Rule #2: If you have compatible programs, use e-mails to transmit documents that will eventually become pleadings or public records.

Rule #3: Freely use e-mail too for transitory purposes. My state’s inspection of public records act does not require that transitory e-mails be saved. A transitory e-mail might say: ‘Stop by my office when you get an opportunity.’ A non-transitory e-mail would say: ‘Stop by my office when you get an opportunity to discuss…’

Rule #4: Never use e-mail when a personal meeting is possible.”

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