Court Struggles to Regulate Attorney Blogging – Commercial vs. Political Speech

Ten weeks ago, the Virginia Supreme Court decided the case of Hunter v. Virginia State Bar. In several respects, Hunter was a case of first impression about lawyer bloggers.

Here’s the case in a nutshell: Richmond, Va., criminal defense attorney Horace Hunter posted a blog on his website called “This Week in Richmond Criminal Defense.” In the blog, Hunter wrote some posts about general criminal defense issues, but mostly — in 22 of 30 posts — he wrote about some of his own cases, all of which had resolved successfully by dismissals, acquittals or what Hunter considered favorable plea bargains. The Virginia State Bar filed disciplinary charges against Hunter in 2011 after Hunter refused to come up with a disclaimer that the VSB thought was sufficient, one that stated that the blog was an advertisement, and also disclaimed that future results would match those in the cases Hunter cited.

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