Last night in my LIS701 class, I presented Web 2.0, Library 2.0 and we had some discussion. A couple of folks mentioned a recent newspaper piece about “blawgs.” I asked for the link and Lauren and Michael followed through! Thanks!
The marketing potential, whether explicit or not, of law-related blogs–or “blawgs” as some attorneys have come to call their online journals–is raising some tricky ethical questions for the profession, which regulates lawyer advertising.
Those issues have come to the forefront in recent months, after ethics monitors in Kentucky found lawyer-written blogs to be advertising and subjected them to increased scrutiny. Regulators in New York have made bloggers nervous by proposing new advertising rules that also include electronic communications.
Blogging has added a 21st Century twist to the broader ongoing debate within the profession about advertising by lawyers. In 1978, the U.S. Supreme Court gave lawyers the 1st Amendment right to advertise. States came up with guidelines to protect consumers from deceptive legal ads, paving the way for late-night TV ads and billboards featuring bankruptcy attorneys.
But, even with the state protections, Warren Burger, former chief justice of the United States, once denounced “the outrageous breach of professional conduct we see in the huckster advertising of some attorneys.”