Richmond lawyer Horace Hunter is fighting the Virginia State Bar on the issue of website disclaimers. Unfortunately, I’ll bet he’s going to lose. (Thanks to Carolyn Elefant for pointing the story out!)
According to a Washington Post article, the Bar has taken issue with the lawyer’s lack of a disclaimer on his website. It sounds like Horace is claiming the Bar is trampling his First Amendment rights.
Disclaimers are clearly required by Rule 7.2(a) under several circumstances. It’s not a gray area, and it’s not a best practice. It’s a black-and-white rule.
Disclaimers are required in three instances: endorsements by celebrities or public figures, actors portraying clients, and cumulative or specific case results.
Just a quick browse of Horace’s website shows a CLEAR violation of Rule 7.2(a)(3) – specific case results.
If he had just put a one-sentence disclaimer at the top of that page and any other similar ones, I’ll bet everything would be fine.
Personally, I think this was a stupid move on his part. It’s not a First Amendment issue. The Bar isn’t saying he can’t blog about cases in general, legal news, or his own case results. He can do ALL of that. But if he blogs about his results, he has to precede the results with the appropriate disclaimer.
Good luck Horace. You’re going to need it.
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