Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Monday, February 4, 2013

Attorney Faces Possible Disciplinary Action For Her Blog

BlogOn January 8, the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission filed a complaint against Joanne Denison, a patent attorney from Chicago. Denison's blog is the basis of the complaint. The complaint indicates that Denison has described and named people she believes are corrupting the probate process. Denison created the blog because of a Circuit Court judge's denial of Denison's application to be a guardian. According to the National Law Journal, Denison's blog post refers to the probate system in Illinois as the '"sleazy world of probate" and the "garden variety theft, embezzlement, malpractice and malfeasance by attorneys and the court."' In an interview, Denison expressed that she is not planning to remove her blog. The disciplinary commission claims the statements made on the blog are false and allege Denison breached four disciplinary rules. Additionally, the complaint states Denison is interfering with justice and disparaging the legal profession through her blog.

See Leigh Jones, Attorney's Blogging Prompts Ethics Complaint, The National Law Journal, Jan. 31, 2013.


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Thank you for your post! How great is that. Actually, lawyers know that WE HAVE FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS and we can post whatever we want—as long as it’s the truth or substantially the truth.
We don’t in fact have to prove ANYTHING. The reality is, the Supreme Court of the United States has held that the First Amendment is so broad that unless i write something that is patently false or untrue, I have to be left alone. The standard is “true or substantially true” and my opponent must prove that anything I say is false.
So thank you for posting this and letting me explain how wonderful the First Amendment is to the US Constitution. In Illinois we also have Article 1 of the Illinois Constitution of 1970 and we have the Citizen’s Participation Act, 750 ILSC 110 that protects any type of speech, as long as it is not completely made up or completely false.
How wonderful is that?
Write me at joanne@denisonlaw.com if you have any questions.
(actually the article had been corrected. I was disqualified as counsel because I notarized a prior document. What atty gets disqualified from a case because they notarized a document 3 years ago? Answer: no one)

Posted by: JoAnne Denison | Feb 6, 2013 7:58:53 PM

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