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State Bar Associations Continue to Lead from Behind

The Virginia State Bar Association took aim at a Richmond, Virginia Attorney engaged in the nefarious pursuit of “blogging.”   An article concerning the decision is posted here.  The Virginia State Bar Association’s misconduct charge can be viewed here.

As usual, my take on this is as follows.  State bar associations, by and large, continue to operate under the premise that it is much better for prospective clients and consumers of legal services to have no information related to lawyers or the legal problem faced as existed before the internet.  There are a lot of vested interests within legal circles who simply don’t want lawyers to have to compete with other lawyers for business. There are many lawyers who do not want clients to have any information concerning alternatives or their legal issues.  Bar associations continue to push back against lawyers who share information online as some sort of “illicit advertising” when the reality is exactly the opposite. 

Before the internet, clients were ripe for abuse by lawyers because of the complete lack of information and lack of real-world competition (clients were lucky to know a single person who knew a lawyer).  Before the internet, a client could not review dozens of potential law firms to handle their matter.  Some clients want their stories told so that other people can benefit.  Because blogging upsets the system under which bar associations and lawyers have existed for decades, there is this sort of inevitable pushback.

When will bar associations embrace the web rather than try and impede it?

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