On February 20, 2014, the Grievance Committee of the North Carolina State Bar reprimanded Stephanie L. Villaver (“Villaver”) after determining that her Internet conduct violated several provisions of the North Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct.
Villaver posted an Internet advertisement through which she claimed to be “Jacksonville’s best auto injury attorney.” Such a claim violates Rule 7.1(a)(3) because it constitutes a comparison of services that cannot be factually substantiated. Additionally, the advertisement’s guarantee to get “the settlement you deserve!” violated Rule 7.1(a)(2).
Villaver’s website further violated Rule 7.4(b)due to incorrect usage of the descriptors “specialize” and “specialist.” The website indicated that Villaver was “Jacksonville, North Carolina’s Personal Injury Specialist!”, although she was not actually a board-certified specialist in personal injury law. The website further misrepresented that Villaver’s “legal team also specializes in traffic ticket matters.”
The Grievance Committee additionally found that Villaver either intentionally or recklessly misled the Committee in her initial response to the allegations, a violation of Rule 8.4(d).
View the full disciplinary order below.
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