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April 1, 2009

Social Media Best Practices for Law Students

Laura Bergus, an enterprising student at Iowa College of Law, is working with her school's administration to "get real" about social media by revising their black-and-white advice ("don't use social media") to be in line with the reality of being a 21st-century, digitally connected law student. In addition to the usual advice on how to set privacy settings, etc, the guide should also include much more affirmative and proactive suggestions on how to construct an online identity for the sake of job-hunting and future professional practice. This emphasis on what positive steps law students should be taking is, IMHO, a much more effective route than simply telling students not to do things, because these good behaviors not only help give students a leg-up but also "crowd out" stupid / harmful behavior.

Laura is currently surveying students to gather background information on how students already use social networking.

I'm very much looking forward to whatever results from this exciting process!

- Gene Koo

April 1, 2009 in Serving students | Permalink


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It's all in the timing. Yesterday, in Criminal Procedure-Adjudication, I was teaching the Fair Trial unit, and much of the class discussion turned on a question not in the casebook: what relevance do the rules in cases like Powell v Superior Court (trial of the policemen charged w beating Rodney King), and the older US Supreme Court cases (Murphy v Florida and before) have in a world where (mostly) everyone Twitters, is on FB, and, in checking their Yahoo or AOL mail, inadvertantly sees on the splash page, stories about whatever the trial-of-the-century is that they might be sitting on as a juror?

It was as good of a conversation as we have ever had (it's a very lively class, and I love it), but one of the points was how out of touch most judges are with the world of social networking, and how as lawyers of my generation decide it is time to go to Boca or Scottsdale (NB to those who know me; this is just a metaphor!) and *all* lawyers are constantly online, will the courts get it, and will they adjust? How will judges admonish jurors? How will these admonitions be enforced?

Many of you know that I run an online program at New York Law School, so I guess I do have a dog in the race wrt the need for law schools, at least, to "get" the fact that it wasn't it like it was when many of us were in law school. To tell our students to stay away from Facebook strikes me as futile as telling Bob Dylan to stay away from electric rock 'n' roll. The barn door has been open for too long, and ain't closing again... And in the long run, I think that that is a good thing.

Posted by: Michael Perlin | Apr 2, 2009 7:32:53 AM

It should soon become a standard of due care to do total e-discovery on the adverse lawyer looking for improper motive, and on the judge after the first adverse ruling, looking for bias. These are the pitiless, mortal enemy of the innocent defendant. They should live in perpetual doubt about their personal fates. If the judge resists, demand recusal. If refused, demand removal by the administrative judge. If refused, demand a mistrial. If refused, one has a basis for reversible error on appeal and for a complaint to the Judicial Review Board (one parsed utterance at a time, once a month for years).

One should hire a legal malpractice lawyer to terrorize one's own lawyer to force that standard. The defense lawyer owes his job to the other lawyer and not to the client. He will refuse to deter the other lawyer or the judge.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Apr 2, 2009 9:07:52 AM

Thanks for the post! It's very encouraging to see others who recognize that putting up positive, professional information will advance students' aims (particularly of getting hired) more effectively than staying away from social media. I also think students will be glad if they take the time now to familiarize themselves with the benefits/potential of online technologies for easier legal research, finding clients, seeking out advice, etc. I'm only a first-year student and I am very grateful for all the connections I've made online, particularly on Twitter. Seeing what others are doing - and how they survive(d) law school - is great.

Posted by: lbergus | Apr 2, 2009 10:45:46 PM

Evolving standards.

The interviewer shows you a pic of your taking your top off during college Spring break. She says, "We like your record, but do you have an explanation for this behavior?"

"Yes, Ma'am. I sure do. It's the same reason for this behavior," And, you show her a pic of her taking her top off during college Spring break.

Obama's getting stoned did not even come up in the campaign. I demanded to know of Laurence Tribe, campaigning for Obama, if a candidate should be compelled to get a piss test like a trucker. Obama is so calm, could he still be smoking dope everyday, not to mention his goofy ideas? I got booed. No one cares anymore.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Apr 3, 2009 6:50:30 AM

Professional Responsibility question.

Barack and Michelle voluntarily surrendered their lawyer licenses long ago. There will be no reporting them for misconduct.

Should exposing yourself in college, drunken revelry disturbing the peace, smoking dope, speeding on the highway, spitting in the street, failure to report such conduct by self and other licensed lawyers be the subject of an investigation by a Disciplinary Counsel? Should such universal law breaking have been reported on the character evaluation application for admission to the Bar? Assume 100,000 lawyers across the US subscribe to the daily NY Times. In the paper is a story of drunken revelry and disturbing the peace posted on Facebook of a lawyer running for office. Should 100,000 lawyers be investigated for failure to report the published lawbreaking by another law licensee?

The answer is no. Lawyer discipline is a tool limited only to those lawyers who hurt the interests of the criminal cult enterprise hierarchy. You will be sanctioned for lateness to a judge conference. Oppose these cult criminals, and they will find the pretext of your fishing without a license at age 16, and permanently destroy the legal career. The Supreme Court affirmed, there will be no legal recourse against the hierarchy. They will enforce only four rules, and any offense against their interest.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Apr 3, 2009 7:14:44 AM

Thanks for posting this — let’s hope that the session will be as productive as possible! At the same time, I think we should be incremental about this — if we make progress, we can think about something more like a “summit” with law schools represented, perhaps at something like AALS.
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Posted by: mark456 | May 27, 2009 12:04:54 AM

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