I have an Attorney client who was rightfully disturbed by the news of a case before the Virginia State Bar regarding Richmond Lawyer Horace Hunter. Basically the Bar is arguing a complaint that Hunters writing on the firm website blog constitutes advertising and should be accompanied by some sort of disclaimer identifying it as such.
By the way I looked it up and do not find a current link to any blog so apparently Mr. Hunter is seeking a lower profile these days. At first it seemed to me like a case of David and Goliath. A two man law practice in Richmond standing up for their First Amendment right to free speech… Imagine – posting your thoughts as a blog comment and because you are in a certain business “The Man” makes you say it’s advertising because you may get some business out of it… (I use the archaic 60′s term “The Man” because while it’s not actually a demand of Bureaucrats as much as it is a Judicial Branch regulatory agency forcing an action – it’s still well… “The Man”.)
I had a similar issue come up with a client in the financial consultation industry some time back – there the perceived and equally bogus issue was “Insider Information” – in both cases I believe it is too much a burden to determine the merits of each and every comment. In the case of my clients who were senior worker bee level in the local office of a national investment and insurance firm – they decided it was going to be more of a drain on their time with their internal compliance group then the potential PR value to be worth the effort so they canceled plans for an email newsletter. Of course in the case of Horace Hunter and any other Attorney out there it’s an even more slippery slope than regulation compliance. The nature of each comment being evaluated for intent? Who is going to regulate? Big Brother?
That would have been the end of my two cents worth UNTIL I looked old Horace Hunter up on the internet to see if his blog was still active. Amazingly there were 737,000 results in Google under the search phrase “virginia attorney horace hunter”. Horace must really get around! The truth is that a lot of Attorneys are watching this situation closely – and the irony is – a lot of them are blogging about it!
The other truth – and this is just an aside – is that I found thousands of “law blogs” who were just picking up a story originally published in the Washington Post. What I found were a lot of scam sites headlined with some variation of “find an attorney” and automatically posting news items relating to law.
Back to the point – we’ll be watching the Virginia State Bar and let you know what happens.
Originally Published on blog.tomanthony.com and recovered via the Internet Archive Wayback Machine