Virginia State Bar to decide on blog regulation
Virginia: Lawyers who are quite experienced with the world wide web and what it has to offer will be interested to hear the outcome of a hearing involving the rights of attorney Horace F. Hunter and his trademarked blog, This Week in Richmond Criminal Defense. Hunter wants to be able to blog about his cases without having to post an advertising disclaimer on the blog.
Virginia State Bar regulators affirm that the "mandated disclaimer is required to avoid misleading the public about specific case results." Thus, the disclaimer will state that the outcome of any case depends on many factors and cannot be used to foretell the outcome of other future cases.
Horace F. Hunter, who is a lawyer from Richmond, will be facing the Virginia State Bar to argue that the bar is overextending its reach in trying to regulate what lawyers say and do about their work. He is arguing that comments on his cases through his blog are not advertisements, and that he could post a disclaimer stating that his writings should not be considered advertising.
The Virginia State Bar rejected this disclaimer and said that Hunter's disclaimer, “actually created the possibility of greater confusion.”
Hunter then accused Virginia State Bar officials of violating his First Amendment rights, but the federal lawsuit was dismissed by District Judge John A. Gibney who wrote that “Allowing Hunter to utilize the federal courts to circumvent the state bar disciplinary process would intrude upon the province of the state court.”
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