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Bloggers Have BigLaw Watching Its Back

"Anything you say can and will be used against you." The Miranda warning is familiar to anyone who has ever watched a TV crime drama. But a variation of the warning is now being recited in a much-different context -- the BigLaw management committee. Fearing that anything they write in an internal memorandum may make its way to the blogosphere, large law firms are carefully vetting their internal communiques. Writing at the ABA Journal, Terry Carter explains it this way:

Big law firms are being more careful with staff-wide memos these days. They ought to. Anything that might prove juicy if stuck with a fork is likely to be leaked -- as a matter of fact, Above The Law has fast become the venue of choice for lawyers whose loyalties don’t run as deep as their self-interest.

Carter's comment came after he attended this week's panel discussion on "The Media and the Legal Profession" at Georgetown Law School's Center for the Study of the Legal Profession. The panel featured Aric Press, editor-in-chief of The American Lawyer, David Lat, founding editor of the blog Above The Law, Susan Jacobsen, director of communication and public relations for the Association of Corporate Counsel, and José Cunningham, chief marketing and business development officer of Crowell & Moring. It was moderated by Bruce MacEwen of the blog Adam Smith, Esq.

In his report on the panel, Carter drew the contrast between the two types of media represented there. "Where American Lawyer long has offered lengthy, inside stories of law firms and law as a business, Lat’s ATL is the go-to source for leaking and for learning the most immediate inside skinny -- often with pertinent documents and e-mails."

It is that leaking that has law firm leaders exercising caution. One who attended the panel discussion said that firms are well aware their private e-mails may end up in the public spotlight, Carter reports. Carol A. Clayton, assistant managing partner at WilmerHale, said her firm's management committee now vets all firmwide memos. "It could be on a blog," she said. "It makes us careful." Firms should be careful about what they say, of course. But from some of what I see, not every firm has given itself the blogosphere equivalent of the Miranda warning.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on March 5, 2009 at 03:48 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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