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New Ethics Opinion on Confidentiality in Lawyer Blogs Changes Nothing

By George Khoury, Esq. on March 08, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

For many small firm and solo practitioners, blogging is part of the job. In order to keep those search rankings up, and keep potential clients impressed by the freshness of your content, maintaining a blogging habit is good for any firm's SEO.

However, lawyers and law firms need to be a little bit careful when it comes to the subjects they blog about. Though there may be a natural instinct to write about current, or former, cases, according to a recent (probably unnecessary) ethics opinion, doing so raises ethical considerations that shouldn't be ignored.

Don't Write About Your Clients or Cases

Generally, unless you've obtained the specific, express authorization to write about a client's legal matter, you probably want to avoid doing so. Most states' ethical rules prohibit disclosing information protected by the attorney client privilege, even after the full and final conclusion of the client's matter, without an express waiver from the client.

In addition to the concerns about confidentiality, if the case is ongoing, there could be concerns regarding improper conduct. Making public statements about an active case could potentially be seen as an attempt to improperly influence the court or jurors. While you may be tempted to capitalize on the marketing potential of writing blog posts about a high profile matter you're handling, doing so is like walking an ethics minefield. Your

The Write Idea

While lawyers are perhaps most widely known for arguing, on a whole, most of us do quite a bit of writing too. In fact, for many attorneys, the majority of our arguments are actually crafted in writing. Further, attorneys need to be talented writers as there's a big difference between writing to the court and to a client, a colleague, the internet, or your spouse, and using the wrong tone or revealing the wrong information, can result in real trouble.

Generally, if attorneys are going to blog, particularly for marketing and SEO purposes, the best practice would involve sticking to common topics that your particular legal consumer would be interested in, as well as writing up relevant legal takes on topics that are trending or hot in the popular media.

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