Friday, June 14, 2013
From Litigation News (ABA Section on Litigation):
A divided Virginia Supreme Court upheld the imposition of discipline against an attorney for authoring an Internet blog discussing the results of his client’s case without a disclaimer that case outcomes were not guaranteed. The majority ruled that a partial economic motivation for writing the blog was sufficient to categorize it as commercial speech subject to regulation rather than protected political speech under the First Amendment.
In Hunter v. Virginia State Bar [PDF], a criminal defense lawyer authored and maintained a blog on his firm’s website that mainly discussed concluded cases in which he obtained favorable results. All published information was part of the public record. Other blog posts consisted of the attorney’s critique of the criminal justice system. The blog did not provide any disclaimer that the cases mentioned did not guarantee or predict outcomes in future cases.
The full article is worth reading. It suggests to me that the Virginia court has not kept abreast of electronic communication or the realities of law practice.