April 3, 2019

Ghostwriting Blogs? Ethics Concerns?

This ABA Journal piece talks about the ethics laws and how they may – or may not – apply to lawyers who write on blogs as ghostwriters. I am certainly not well-versed in the ethics laws – but ghostwriting blogs wouldn’t seem to be much different than the myriad of other writings that junior lawyers do on behalf of senior lawyers, without much recognition? Law firm memos, legal briefs, articles published in print publications. You name it.

I’m not saying that the practice of “not giving credit where perhaps credit is due” is a good one. I am just saying that it’s fairly rampant. And it can be a complex issue. For example, a junior lawyer writes the first draft of something – and then a senior lawyer makes heavy edits. Co-authors, right? Anyway, perhaps it all doesn’t matter that much…

Ghostwriting Blogs? Does It Matter?

I say that perhaps it doesn’t matter because most legal blogs still miss the mark. They read like law firm memos – impersonal & cold. So they don’t connect with readers (meaning they are less likely to be read – and if they are read, quickly forgotten). I’ve been giving advice for years about how to blog – here’s an excerpt from this piece I wrote over a decade ago (see pages 8-9):

A much bigger concern than coming up with stories is whether you can find your blogging “voice.” This is the concept of blogging content that is written in a style far-removed from the style used to draft sterile press releases. I’m not suggesting that you write “unprofessionally” either. Rather, it’s a bit more informal than what you do for official corporate communications.

You may be a good writer, but blogging is a different kind of writing – it requires dynamic content with an active voice and punchy prose, knowing when (and how) to use links, and more. If you can’t do this, I wouldn’t bother blogging because you won’t earn trust if you can’t connect with your audience by making it seem like it’s coming from you and not a soulless company. Look at other blogs and see the ones that you like best. And I think you will know what I mean…

Transcript: “Conduct of the Annual Meeting”

We have posted the transcript for our recent webcast: “Conduct of the Annual Meeting.”

Broc Romanek