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Practice Management: Law Practice Management
Ghostwritten Blog Posts — Ethical or Unethical?
Ironically, a blog post about the recent and sudden passing of Finis Price led me to Finis’ blog, on which the final post was entitled “Ghostwriting in Legal Blogs.” Ironic. The topic itself was so controversial and interesting to me, I had to follow the links to additional reading. If you have a blog, Facebook page, or Twitter account, you may have considered hiring a ghostwriter, because these mediums are content hogs. Maybe you’ve been using a ghostwriter for some time. The question is, does it violate ethical rules?
This discussion has been around for a while. Kevin O’Keefe blogged about it in great detail on January 12, 2012, in a post entitled “Are ghostwritten lawyer blogs unethical?“ His opinion is very clear. But I wonder why no one weighed in with comments. There was post about it on ABA Journal Law News Now similarly entitled “Are ghostwritten lawyer blogs unethical?” written by Debra Cassens Weiss on February 4, 2010. Again, no comments are posted, which is pretty unusual. Most controversial posts on ABA news feeds invoke tons of comments.
Not being satisfied, I dug deeper by going onto the main page for ABA Journal Law News, and conducting a search for “ghostwriting”. I found that there was a poll conducted which ended on Tuesday, December 8, 2009. A total of 849 attorneys (presumably) cast their vote. In a blog post redundantly named “Are ghostwritten lawyer blogs unethical?” written by Molly McDonough and published on February 23, 2010, the results of the poll were published:
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.
I’d love to have those of you who have served on your State’s Disciplinary Boards weigh in with your opinions. Post your comments below. I don’t think this topic is dead by any means.
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