Blogs and Professionalism
A letter from Houston attorney Jeff Murphrey recently made the rounds on several law blogs. Murphrey, who was recently hit by Hurricane Ike, missed a deposition because he was dealing with the aftermath of the hurricane, and wrote angrily to another lawyer on the case who was not, he felt, sufficiently sympathetic. The letter is funny and awful at the same time, and it inspired a fair amount of ill will toward its recipient in the blogging community. The recipient, one Dale Markland, has recently responded with his side of the story.
As with all such stories, they truth is almost certainly somewhere between the two sides of the story. It is an entertaining read, but it should also serve as a reminder of the importance of professionalism in blogging. Markland could probably have been more understanding of Murphrey. But, even if Markland is in every way as bad as painted was plastering that letter all over the online legal community really the appropriate action? It is probable that some people now think of Markland as uncaring and obsessed only with financial details. But there are also people who are going to remember Murphrey as the guy who made a bitter public spectacle of a private dispute.
Remember, whenever you get in a flame war with fellow law students, these people are going to be your colleagues for years to come. The legal community is surprisingly small. And similarly, when you are writing a blog, even just a personal one, remember that your employers and coworkers are likely to stumble across it at one point or another.