Jack Greiner shares some nice observations over at Jack Out of the Box about a recent matter involving a Virginia criminal defense attorney who is facing disciplinary actions from the state bar for allegedly posting confidential information about a client.
This is an interesting question, and it’s likely that bars in other states will be watching to see what happens with attorney Horace Hunter’s appeal. Hunter contends that the names of his clients are not “confidential information” within the meaning of Virginia Rule of Professional Conduct 1.6, and he said that the blog posts with clients’ names are based entirely on open court proceedings and other matters of public record, which he said include clients’ names.
So what’s the takeaway for attorneys? Regardless of how this plays out, it can never hurt to err on the side of caution and ask permission first. A lot of clients (especially in IP, nonprofit, and business counseling settings) would be flattered to have you blog about them. And the ones who wouldn’t be so flattered, I’m sure, would let you know.