We have previously blogged about our golden rule for social media: do not post anything you would not want seen blown up as an exhibit at trial. A couple of states have recently weighed in with some other “advice.” The California State Bar Standing Committee on Professional Responsibility, in its opinion 10-00001, has stated that social media posts which could be construed as advertising (ie. “Won another personal injury case. Call me for a free consultation.”) are subject to the state’s ethics rules on advertising, including the necessity of a disclaimer.
Meanwhile, in Virginia, a Circuit Judge panel has reversed an admonishment against attorney Horace Hunter for blogging about his clients’ cases without their permission. The case which created significant buzz in legal blogging circles after the admonishment last October, was apparently reversed on first amendment grounds. The case is interesting to contrast with the California ethics opinion, as the rational for the initial discipline was that the posts were advertising without proper disclaimers.