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David Mittleman
David Mittleman
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Where Do We Draw The Boundaries To Blogging?

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On Thursday, Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan, filed lawsuits against two New York attorneys, their law firm, and four as-yet-unnamed bloggers. The law school is alleging that the defendants published false information about the salary and employment rates of graduates and harmed the school’s reputation. David Anziska and Jesse Stauss, the lawyers named in the complaint, claim that their actions are legal and that the suit is a blatant attempt by the law school to silence bad press. Thursday’s legal action comes at a time when law schools and for-profit colleges are facing intense criticism for avidly recruiting students and cashing their tuition checks while allegedly misrepresenting their likelihood of success after graduation.

Blogging continues to engender a great deal of controversy. How far can the content go, and what protections should bloggers have? Of course, the First Amendment offers a great deal of protection for many bloggers, but lawyers hold themselves to higher ethical standards. Attorneys who publish false information or advertise through unscrupulous means (another of the allegations in Cooley Law School case) can face sanctions or even be disbarred.

I graduated from Cooley Law School in 1985, and I am an avid blogger. The InjuryBoard blog network has over 100 member firms that promote consumer safety in a positive manner, build networks, develop relationships, and use the power and vastness of the internet to provide information to people. While marketing myself is part of the process, I use my blog to distinguish myself from the “been in a crash, get some cash” advertisers in the profession.

I see blogging as a powerful tool to educate people. Most people don’t fully grasp how the law works in their lives, or how simple changes in their daily routine can help keep them safe. Attorneys can and should harness the rapidly developing web to get this information out to the public. Although occasional criticism might cause some hurt feelings, the end result is a more informed decision-making process. As long as the information is truthful and accurate, blog on!

3 Comments

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  1. Cooley 3L says:
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    I know firsthand that Cooley graduates some of the most intelligent and capable lawyers and professors in the state, but there is so much misguided and misinformed negativity toward the school in the academic and blogging circles, highlighted by the recent suit. How have you dealt with the criticisms over the years? Does it come up in your practice?

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    i deal with it the way i deal with any type of prejudice i have encountered….persistence….all i do and all i have ever done now over 25 years is represent injured people…..i am a trial lawyer and the way to distinguish yourself in any position is by working harder and smarter than ur opposition….good luck Cooley 3L

  3. Mark Bello says:
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    David: I don’t know whether you are aware of this or not, but I am a graduate of Cooley’s 1977 Felch Class. Your blog is the first I have heard of this. Do you have access to the alleged offending blog post? What was the “bad press”?