American lawyers have a moral and social obligation to serve the public. Providing free legal information via a blog whether it be to corporate officers, in-house counsel, consumers or small business people serves the public two ways.
One, legal information will be made freely accessible 24/7 at the World's library – the Internet. According to the Pew Foundation, the Internet is now Americans' 'go to' place for information.
Two, the image of our legal profession will be improved. A recent ABA study found our reputation to be at an all time low. In the same study, the public said we lawyers can improve our image by providing legal information to the public via the Internet, of all places.
A moral & social obligation?
Saying someone has a moral obligation to act is like stepping on the third rail these days. Having a license to practice law is a privilege, not right. I hope a lot of us went to law school so we could help a few folks along the way, as opposed to being able to buy big houses and fast cars. Heck, helping people can even feel pretty good.
The American Bar Association Model Rules of Professional Conduct and a number of states have ethical rules & guidelines saying a lawyer has a moral obligation to engage in public interest legal service.
Traditionally this has meant pro bono cases, accepting appointments, membership in legal services organizations, law reform activities or involvement in nonprofit and court-annexed limited legal services programs. But why not providing public education on the law as a way for lawyers to meet their moral and social obligations?
Legal education via blogs serves the public and lawyers
No doubt the public is starved for legal information. That's the case whether a sophisticated corporate client or a consumer. Both distrust lawyers with most only contacting a lawyer as a last resort. Why not give the public what they want? That's free reliable legal information on the Internet – from lawyers, of all people. Americans go to the Internet for everything else.
It's sound marketing to improve the image of the legal profession. The better the reputation of lawyers and the more people see, via a blog, what lawyers offer, the more likely they are to hire lawyers. Anyone that gets out in front in improving the image of our profession by providing legal information on the Internet sticks out like a shining star. Shining stars doing good things for people get work.
LexBlog is going to help lawyers meet their moral and social obligations. LexBlog's mission will include serving the public by making the American lawyer a reliable and trusted authority for free legal information. We'll do this by providing lawyers an easy to use tool to publish free legal information. That way I'll know that I am meeting my moral obligation as a lawyer to serve the public.