The Conflict Between Attorneys & Bloggers

In God we trust

Seven years ago a dear friend told me that if I was his client he would advise me to be very cautious in what I blogged about because anything I posted on the ‘Net could lead to some sort of legal problem.

I told him I appreciated the free legal advice and wondered if there really would ever an occasion upon which I would need an attorney because of what I had blogged about.

Before he answered I told him I understood there were numerous ways it could happen and suggested that it was unlikely that any of them would come to pass. I wasn’t about to share proprietary secrets, engage in libel or do anything other than just write.

The Last Seven Years

This isn’t going to the be the time where I tell you he was prescient and that I was sued because of something I blogged about.  Got a few stories because of the trolls I encountered online, some of whom threatened me but trolls are not unique.

If you share your opinion on almost anything you can guarantee that you’ll be visited by a few, sometimes many. Just mention politics, religion, sports, fashion, food and entertainment.

In other words write something and be assured that someone somewhere is going to not only disagree but be willing to tell you why you are an idiot for loving/hating/liking/despising whatever it is.

Anyway, I remember my friend telling me that he thought blogging was a passing fad and that if I quit doing it I would be better off because it would minimize my risk.

Well, take a look at the last seven years through any number of perspectives and you can see he was wrong.  Blogging is far from dead and I am willing to say will never die because stories are critical parts of how people communicate.

Content Marketing Is Storytelling Is Blogging

Confession, I included content marketing in the subhead in large part because it is a useful keyword but I hate the term.

I dislike it because it reads like marketing jargon or authentic frontier gibberish. Simple works best and the better expression is story telling because that is what content marketers do, they tell stories.

Actually it is what the most successful businesses do, they tell stories about how their products/services solve problems for their customers.

Here is where the conflict between attorneys and bloggers sometimes comes into play. Attorneys work hard to protect their clients against risks that can hurt them.

Marketers/corporate bloggers sometimes make them crazy because any time they publish posts about the business they create risk for the business.

They would much prefer that those of in the field not make any sort of promise that can be legally challenged.

Vanilla Flavored Content Doesn’t Protect You

In concept it is a nice idea but vanilla flavored content doesn’t protect you from lawsuits or prevent them from happening.  Someone with money to spend can always find opportunity to present you with some legal challenges. Sometimes it happens even when they know they will lose.

The reasons why may vary and this really isn’t focused on the how and why.

It is more of a commentary saying you always assume risk when you go into business and while you should be cautious about how much you taken on you should also be aware that you can’t avoid it.

And if you can’t avoid it and are going to provide a corporate blog you ought to be willing to do more than provide the same plain Jane content out that so many of your competitors do.

It doesn’t mean you court trouble by making ridiculous remarks but it does mean that if you are going to play the game, you play to win.

What do you think?

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4 Comments

  1. Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes August 12, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    Danny Brown I agree to a point, but I have seen people use attorneys to try to bleed others even though they knew they couldn’t win the intent was to force the other side to give in because they didn’t have enough cash to fight the battle.
    But overall I agree with you about the value and importance of having truth/facts on your side. Goes a long way.

  2. Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes August 12, 2013 at 9:59 pm

    wonderoftech Carolyn, you made me laugh out loud and I am grateful for that. Common sense is sometimes uncommonly found. 😉

  3. wonderoftech August 12, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    I am a lawyer, Josh, and I advise that you not drive a car as you are risking liability. Don’t have anyone over to your house either. Too risky. Don’t speak to anyone either, for fear of a slander lawsuit. Don’t write anything down either in case of libel.
    Pretty much anything you do carries risk. The best way of dealing with many types of risk is to minimize risk rather than avoiding it.

  4. Danny Brown August 12, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    I remember a couple of years back, when I received a Cease and Desist from Melrose Jewellers in L.A. I had written a blog post, lambasting them for their cheap use of an attempted suicide by a celebrity, only to be pulled back from the bring by looking at the awesome watch he’d bought from Melrose.
    I refused to take down the post, and instead wrote another one sharing the C&D, and countering with about 10 reasons why U wouldn’t remove. The company never followed up. 
    While the web can be a weird place, I’m a firm believer if you have truth and facts on your side – and are willing to fight because of that – then legal issues normally take care of themselves.
    Then again, I’m no lawyer, so don’t quote me! 😉

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