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!
recently named in the 2009 edition of Best Lawyer's In America, David Mittleman has been representing seriously injured people since 1985. A partner with Church Wyble PC—a division of Grewal Law PLLC—Mr. Mittleman and his partners focus on medical malpractice, wrongful death, car accidents, slip and falls, nursing home injury, pharmacy/pharmacist negligence and disability claims.