Law Firm's Blog Makes It Uninsurable

from the what-are-these-crazy-things-called-blogs? dept

A New Jersey law firm has been told by its insurance carrier that publishing a blog on the firm's website makes it uninsurable. Basically, the concern is that anything posted on the blog could be construed as legal advice, and thus open up the firm to a lawsuit should a reader act on this "advice". Despite the possibility of something like this happening, the refusal to insure the company seems a bit odd. It's not clear why the carrier, Chubb, couldn't have just adjusted its model and charged the firm a higher price for the added risk. Also, as one person who sets up blogs for law firms points out, it doesn't make sense to view a blog as separate from other forms of public communications. Lawyers, for example, frequently give speeches to various groups, and one could imagine that that could be seen as advice as well. Furthermore, law blogs (of which there are many), typically have strong disclaimers, which can help inoculate the author against lawsuits. The only thing that makes sense is that Chubb just had no idea how to think of a blog, and so it decided to just give up on the whole deal. It's Chubb's loss, since the law firm should be able to find an insurance carrier that has underwritten policies at one of the many the other law firms that have blogs on their sites.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Trickyny, Mar 21st, 2007 @ 8:36am

    Typo

    Chubb just had no idea how - idea how - to think of a blog

     

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    Nipsey Russell, yo, Mar 21st, 2007 @ 8:50am

    ha-ha!

    insert sound of nelson from Simpsons saying "ha ha" here.

    as far as I'm concerned, this is the type of world the lawyers have been imposing on us for years...one where technicalities and stupid details prevent people form doing what makes sense. now, they get to feel the sting. chickens, home, roost.

     

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    Fission, Mar 21st, 2007 @ 8:58am

    Chubb's decision was smart on their part. It is no that they don't understand what a blog is, it's that the COURTS, other lawyers, and the ignorant public either don't understand it, or don't care.

    I can easily see the law firm being sued over what is stated in the blog. It's not the law firm or insurance carrier being stupid, it's just a fault in the system.

     

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    TheDock22, Mar 21st, 2007 @ 8:58am

    Makes sense to me

    No disclaimer in the world could keep them from getting sued if a lawyer posted advice on their blog. Disclaimers are pretty useless in court if the company profits from using the blog. And offering advice on a blog where people will visit the law firm generates hits on their website which could lead to a new customer deciding to use the firm.

    I kind of side with the insurance company on this one. There are way to many stupid people in this country, I could see dozens of them following the advice on a blog and then suing the law firm when it doesn't work or they lose money by following that advice. It's a big risk, so I think the insurance company understands blogs more than you think.

    Besides, lawyer blogging? Who would care to read that?

     

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      Quantum John, Mar 21st, 2007 @ 10:23am

      Re: Makes sense to me

      Hmm. I wonder if an insurance company could write a contract that would exclude specific issues? Anyone know if they've ever done that? Slightly more seriously, has there ever been an insurance contract that didn't exclude a long list of issues?

       

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    Apennismightier, Mar 21st, 2007 @ 9:00am

    Disclaimer

    Why couldn't they just put a disclaimer like every other thing that isn't meant to be considered legal advice? They're both stupid.

     

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    DCX2, Mar 21st, 2007 @ 9:20am

    Who reads lawyer blogging?

    Oh...I dunno...this guy's pretty good....

    http://recordingindustryvspeople.blogspot.com/

     

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    Wizard Prang, Mar 21st, 2007 @ 9:35am

    How can you tell if a Lawyer is giving legal advic

    His mouth is moving.

     

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    john, Mar 21st, 2007 @ 9:38am

    I wonder...

    I wonder if the Bob Loblaw Law Blog is affected by this?

     

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    Some Nobody Up North, Mar 21st, 2007 @ 9:39am

    Awwww..

    ... something to keep lawyers quiet for once, and the hell out of our lives. Sounds good to me.

     

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    Overcast, Mar 21st, 2007 @ 10:04am

    ROFL, well - lawyers bring this type of defensive posturing upon themselves.

    I find it hilarious.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2007 @ 10:35am

    I can see where they'd be liable for what was posted on the blog.

    If someone can be charged by the bar for "practicing law without a license" even when they never claimed to be and clearly aren't (helping someone fill in the blanks of a will writing software program) then it should also cover legal advice whether there's a disclaimer or not.

     

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    G-Man, Mar 21st, 2007 @ 6:17pm

    Fission

    Chubb only wants to make money, and blogging lawfirms are no worse than lawfirms with web sites or lawfirms that advertise. But I'm not giving anyone any advice with anything I say, whether its legal or not.

     

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    Sean Murphy, Mar 22nd, 2007 @ 3:41pm

    s/Blog/Web-Content-Management-System/

    If you substituted "Web Content Management System" for Blog (which is certainly one perspective on what a blog is) it doesn't make sense that Chubb would allow them to have a website but draw a line at a Blog. Also, you normally have to pay an attorney to establish a relationship, if each post came with a disclaimer how can this be any different than any time an attorney would offer a "free consultation" hour as part of a get acquainted session. This sounds to me more like a publicity stunt on the part of the law firm or a slow news day at law.com

     

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    robin, Apr 2nd, 2007 @ 7:49am

    insurance

    this is not good.

     

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    robin, Apr 2nd, 2007 @ 7:49am

    travel insurance

    this is not good.

     

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    Kevin OKeefe, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 5:24pm

    Chubb did a 'never mind'

    Joe, Chubb figured out what blogs were and issued a press release in reponse to my prodding that 98% of lawyer blogs posed no problem as far as coverage for the blogging firm.

    It's only those blogs where lawyers give specific advice by replying to comments on their blog in such a way that an lawyer-client releationship could be construed where Chubb would not cover the firm. Not suprising that no one has been able to find of those blogs.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Insurance Australia, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 12:53am

    Insurance

    Compare leading insurance offers with Australia’s leading
    financial comparison web site, Credit world.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Mister Thorne, Oct 25th, 2008 @ 11:42am

    Manipulating Technorati Rankings

    You might be interested in this series that examines how Technorati rankings can be manipulated:

    On Getting Noticed -- Part I

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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