The Virginia State Bar was right in disciplining Hunter for violating his duty of confidentiality to his clients, even though he disclosed the information only after the cases were over. The duty is to protect not just direct communications but "secrets." Those "secrets" include anything embarrassing or likely to be detrimental to the client. The fact that the information is available to the public doesn't mean it is known by the public. And it is there that an attorney's duty lies and continues, both before and after the end of the case. When the high court overturned the bar, it misapplied its own rule.The point about information available to the public but not necessarily known by the public is one that grows in importance in an age of information overload, and is one that our legal system clearly hasn't fully digested yet.
HT: Legal Ethics Forum