Georgia Law Review, Vol. 39, No. 1 (Fall 2004), pp. 83-149


This Article explores the depths of the ethical issues presented when lawyers zealously advocate on behalf of their clients to the media, as well as the negative public policy ramifications that such behavior generates. The latter effect most seriously signals the need for reform in this area. Part II of the Article provides insight into the principal source of the problem--the ineffectiveness of the existing regulatory devices. This section traces the evolution of the ethical rules that pertain to public commentary by lawyers from the early days of steadfast condemnation to the modern appraoch of cautious equivocation. It also considers court-imposed gag orders and highlights various inadequacies from which they suffer. Part III then examines the consequences of the present regulatory scheme by demonstrating how prevalent and problematic extrajudicial advocacy has become. It also reveals the widespread disdain with which such conduct is viewed and the destructive impact extrajudicial advocacy has on the image of the profession and the public's perception of the justice system in general. In Part IV, I suggest that a logical solution would be to equate the court of public opinion with courts of law for purposes of professional regulation.