Backtracking from Chubb Insurance’s denial of coverage to a law firm with a blog, the insurer now says law firms publishing blogs will be covered by their malpractice policy so long as lawyers are not answering specific questions in a way that could be construed to be legal advice.

That from James Rhyner, worldwide lawyers professional manager for Chubb Specialty Insurance, in speaking with Lisa Berman, reporting for the New Jersey Law Journal (pdf of story).

Chubb does insure this new form of communication — and will continue to do so within select parameters.

Ninety-eight percent of law firm blogs are purely informational and not interactive. Their exposures are benign. However, with interactive blogs, you have a high potential for an unintended relationship. It’s also hard to perform conflicts checks. Comments are made pseudonymously by people in states where lawyers aren’t licensed to practice.

Ryhner also acknowledged, as reported by Berman, “[T]hat there have been no malpractice suits against blogging lawyers in the United States over bad legal advice. But he cites a U.K. suit involving Lloyd’s of London that he is monitoring.”

What you’re left with from Chubb:

  • There’s never been a lawsuit against a blogging lawyer.
  • 98% of blogs Chubb has seen pose little problem and will be covered.
  • Lawyers should not be answering questions posted in comments to their blog in a way that’s construed as giving legal advice.

Chubb is basically saying ‘Don’t be stupid.’

Looks pretty much like Chubb created a big to do about nothing.

Thanks to Susan Ward and Eric Turkewitz for getting me a copy of the New Jersey Law Journal Story.

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  • This two percent that offers free advice and forms client relationships over the internet has escaped my attention. Is Chubb picturing something like a phone-in radio show? I’d like to see the example of what Chubb says people shouldn’t be doing.