Should Blogs Name Names of Non-Public Figures?

I wrote yesterday about the hubbub in the legal blogosphere when an associate at Quinn Emanuel – a large law firm that represents the Washington Redskins in their dispute with American Indian groups – engaged in an email exchange with a partner after another partner wrote one of the big firm standard “We Are the Masters of the Universe” email after a favorable ruling.

Commenters to the blog post have been dying to name the name of the associate and his name kept appearing in the comments section. An Above the Law editor wrote a piece explaining their policy that associates are entitled to privacy. I agree. But apparently Above the Law believes that partners are public figures and should be named. I disagree with that.

My rule is simple: don’t name names unless (1) the person has specifically put themselves out there so deliberately as to warrant mentioning or, (2) they are being recognized in a positive or neutral way related to their profession in a way that would not be embarrassing. This includes individual plaintiffs and defendants who are not putting themselves in the public eye by either enforcing or defending their rights.

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