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Blog entry could ruin lawyer’s career

February 24, 2007

Not the case of a lawyer here, but the case of an outdoor writer ruining his career because of a blog post should serve as a wake up call to lawyers blogging on controversial subjects.

Career outdoorsman and hunter Jim Zumbo recently blogged about the utility of assault rifles in the sport of hunting and the lack thereof – and called them weapons for terrorists. His blog post, as reported by The Washington Post:

As hunters, we don’t need to be lumped into the group of people who terrorize the world with them. . . . I’ll go so far as to call them ‘terrorist’ rifles.

This resulted in a blog swarm and strong backlash against Zumbo. The result as reported by Tony Hung at the Blog Herald, my source for this post:

Mr. Zumbo, who has spent his career writing about the outdoors and hunting, was once the editor of a prominent hunting magazine, the beneficiary of lucrative sponsorship from gun companies, and who has traveled extensively with the NRA to discuss the rights of gun owners has now found himself shut out.

He has resigned from his writing post.  He has lost his sponsorships.  And the NRA has disengaged all professional communications with the man.  Which doesn’t say anything about the blogospheric outcry the post has caused.

Even after some profilic apologizing.

There are some topics which practicing lawyers too are going to have to treat as the third rail. They’ll be off limits for risk of losing existing clients, alienating potential clients, and causing law firms and partners to terminate your relationship with the firm.

Of course taking a stand on certain issues in your blog insight and commentary makes for a good blog. Keep that up. Just recognize that when taking a strong position on controversial issues in your blog word gets around quickly and you’ll have to live with the consequences.

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