Roberta M. Gubbins, Esq.
I Write Content--You Practice Law

Draft Three / blog

Thoughts on ethics of blogging for lawyers

Lawyers are bound by a code of ethics. Each state has it's own code and lawyers are advised to check the rules applicable to them when taking up the task of writing for social media. Many states have adopted the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, in particular Rule 1.6, which requires that a lawyer not reveal "information relating to representation."

What is "information relating to representation?" The answer could be broad enough to include information readily available to the public such as events that happen in the court. Clearly, matters discussed in an open forum are not secrets, however, revealing those matters on the broader stage of social media could be a source of embarrassment for your clients.

Lawyering, like social media, is a relationship business and, in my opinion, embarrassing your clients doesn't establish a good relationship and is simply not good business. The purpose of using social media is to keep your name before your clients as someone they respect and trust. Trust is the important word here--trust can be lost more quickly than it is gained--a practical as well as an ethical consideration when writing your blog.

There a number of items to write about in your blog that will not raise the ethics discussion. Discuss the latest legislation in your area of law, give the results of cases that could change how folks look at a problem, comment on news items of recent interest or talk about the latest movie you saw or book you read. None of these blogs mention clients, their names or their problems, they simply give information or entertain. And they keep your name before your clients and future clients, which is probably the best you can expect of your marketing efforts.    
Roberta GubbinsComment