I recently read a post on SLAW (a legal website I read often and would encourage others to read as well) which was titled "Ghostwriting of Law Firm Blogs - Unethical? Maybe. Bad Marketing? Definitely." The author questioned whether ghostwritten blogs were "misleading" and whether they undermine a lawyer's duty to "act with integrity" in marketing their services. I clearly disagree.
I take my clients' ideas and opinions and turn them into persuasive, reader-friendly, written marketing pieces. My clients are directly involved in the process. If my execution of their idea is not perfect we discuss any revisions required. My clients put their name on the posts or articles because they are products grown from my clients' ideas and opinions, not mine. I am like a seamstress. I take someone else's design and their fabric, and use my experience and skills to sew the cloth into a wearable garment.
The SLAW author's criticism appears to be directed at lawyers who purchase blog posts from content mills (companies that sell the same blog post - often written by a non-lawyer - to multiple firms). I too would question the actions of a lawyer who purchases a pre-written blog post on a topic the lawyer may not be familiar with and then publishes it under her own name. This behaviour, however, must be distinguished from legitimate legal ghostwriting by experienced lawyers. You cannot lump all legal ghostwriters into the "unethical" category. As an ethical person, I take offence to that.
Erin C. Cowling is a freelance litigator, researcher & writer at Cowling Legal Freelance and President and Founder of FLEX LEGAL, a network of freelance lawyers.