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The War Against Legal Blogging: Popular Opinion

This is the fourth installment in a series of posts by Myers Freelance about the movement against ghostwritten legal blogs. Earlier posts in this series include:

  1. An overview of the movement against ghostwritten legal blogs,
  2. Model Rule 7.1 and author bylines, and
  3. Model Rule 8.4(c) and authorship.

In this post, however, we’re going to move away from how ghostwritten legal blogs don’t violate the ethical rules of the legal profession, and focus on how they’re a perfectly acceptable practice in the world of legal marketing.

Ghostwritten legal blogs are a surprisingly contentious topic. One of the claims levied against them is that, while they don’t violate any ethical rules, they’re still an underhanded practice. This argument, however, is grossly misleading.

Critics of Ghostwritten Legal Blogs: It’s Unpopular

People in the legal field have long been saying that ghostwritten legal blogs are somehow wrong. Despite the claim’s longevity, however, it has always suffered from a dearth of support. Instead, opponents of ghostwriting have constantly claimed to have “popular opinion” on their side of the equation. For example, according to Kevin O’Keefe:

Lawyers and many other professionals are coming close to a consensus that ghost-blogging is unethical. The most recent discussion took place on Facebook and Twitter this week

Of course, even if there was a growing consensus that ghostwritten legal blogs were unethical, it does not make it a fact. The sun didn’t spontaneously become the center of the solar system once half of the people in the world decided that Copernicus had it right.

Logic aside, though, O’Keefe’s claim is misleading. His “consensus” involved less than a half-dozen like-minded attorneys on Twitter in a couple of conversation threads. Hardly a legitimate sample size. What did have a legitimate sample size, though, was a survey conducted by the American Bar Association four years before O’Keefe wrote. That survey asked over 800 readers whether they thought ghostwritten legal documents were ethical. 60% said that it was not only ethical, but it happened all the time. That was back in 2010, and ghostwritten legal blogs have become even more widespread, since.

Reality: Legal Blogs Are Necessary for Online Prominence

If you are trying to find new business for your law firm and have done any investigating into where your clients come from, you’ve realized the importance of the internet for marketing your firm. That realization probably led you to reading about search engines and, from there, into search engine optimization (SEO) as a way of getting your firm’s website to the top of the search listings. After that, you probably learned that legal blogs are one of the best ways to boost your law firm website’s ranking online, and that there are legal marketing professionals out there, like at Myers Freelance, who can do the work for you.

Ghostwritten legal blogs aren’t unpopular. They’re just a loaded term that others use for bringing in the professionals to do your online marketing for you. You went to law school and became a lawyer so you could practice the law, not toil over a legal blog post that will help hike your search rankings. Delegating your online marketing efforts to the pros isn’t unpopular – it’s savvy.