Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Internet Law, Social Media and Litigation - Pennsylvania Bar Institute

Yesterday, I presented a social media for lawyers CLE at the Pennsylvania Bar Institute (on twitter @PBI_CLE) Internet Law Program. I captured the Twitter Stream using wthashtag.com (included below) so you can get a glimpse of some of the tips. What is so fascinating about social media is that it changes daily as does the legal playing field. In fact, I was advised by an attendee that the Library of Congress has acquired the entire Twitter PUBLIC archive since 2006; public being a key word. Here is the @librarycongress Tweet about it:

Library Acquires Entire Twitter Archive: Have you ever sent out a “tweet” on the popular Twitter... http://bit.ly/d0DYZj

One of the things I also confirmed is that lawyers are still reluctant to adopt social media as a means of communication and information gathering. In fact, last week I traveled with a colleague from a large law firm and she told me that her firm continues to block all forms of social media in the office. Although some disagree with me, I believe blocking social media can lead to malpractice. Why? Because there is missed information. Jurors are Tweeting about cases (when they shouldn't), Judges are friending litigants online (which is no longer permitted in Florida), expert witnesses are friending the attorneys who hire them (which could be used to show bias), and parties to lawsuits are sharing information that can be used to get them to settle cases or to discredit their testimony. This is all information attorneys need to discover -- but how can they if social media sites are blocked in their law firms.

I also said is that there is no such thing as a "social media expert." This thought isn't mine alone. Social media changes so rapidly and encompasses so many vehicles of communication, that's it's just impossible. However, there are thought leaders who are leading the conversation like Pete Cashmore (aka) Mashable, Laura Fitton of OneForty, Steve Rubel, John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing, Guy Kawasaki of alltop.com and Rick Klau of Google Buzz. I encourage readers to check these folks out.

So, here is the Twitter transcript from the program yesterday. Enjoy. 

WTHashtag Logo



Transcript from April 19, 2010 to April 20, 2010

All times are Pacific Time
April 19, 2010
12:35 pmPBI_CLE:Attending Internet update? Tweet to #pbiint. Thank you.
12:48 pmPBI_CLE:If you wish to tweet questions to the faculty of PBI's Internet update, you may do so. The hash tag is #pbiint
1:29 pmPBI_CLE:You may view the slides for today's Internet Update seminar at http://bit.ly/9QlyTB. The materials will be up later today. #pbiint
5:26 pmPBI_CLE:Time for @Ginarubel She will be speaking on social networking, so it is a good time to tweet. #pbiint
5:27 pmPBI_CLE:An Introduction to Social Networking and Social Media #pbiint
5:27 pmPBI_CLE:both a legal and participant perspective #pbiint
5:28 pmPBI_CLE:#pbiint talking about how much communication has changed.
5:30 pmPBI_CLE:It is a shame that some firms block social networking, for many reasons. #pbiint
5:31 pmPBI_CLE:Be aware of the relevant rules of Conduct. Be aware of how the social networking tools affect litigation. #pbiint.
5:33 pmPBI_CLE:Example of a case that has a lot of information online: a young man was shot in front of the Fox News building in Philly. #pbiint
5:33 pmPBI_CLE:How much information are you missing, as an attorney, if not checking social media? #pbiint
5:34 pmPBI_CLE:The jury needs to have a social media instruction. #pbiint
5:36 pmPBI_CLE:Many types of social media about which attorneys need to be aware. #pbiint
5:38 pmPBI_CLE:You cannot know what people are saying about you, your clients, your witnesses if you don't know what is on social media. #pbiint.
5:39 pmPBI_CLE:At minimum people who handle discovery should have access with social media policies. Social media policies are imperative #pbiint
5:40 pmPBI_CLE:Be careful what you post about others, judges, clients, etc. #pbiint
5:41 pmPBI_CLE:Common for people to think nobody is going to see it. People will see it. #pbiint
5:41 pmPBI_CLE:Judges should not use social media to discuss cases in which they are involved. #pbiint
5:42 pmPBI_CLE:In Florida judges are not permitted to friend a litigant. This will be the trend across the country. #pbiint
5:44 pmPBI_CLE:Best to know if involved parties are talking about a case. Mediator, Juror, Judge, etc. #pbiint
5:45 pmPBI_CLE:In PA attorney cannot ask a 3rd party to friend a witness on facebook - recent opinion. #pbiint
5:47 pmPBI_CLE:Ohio Defendant charged with stat rape. Able to introduce evidence - victim held herself out on myspace as an 18 yr old. Aqcuitted. #pbiint
5:47 pmPBI_CLE:People are affected by what they read on social media. Can affect a case. #pbiint.
5:48 pmPBI_CLE:Can have an impact on divorce. Mom said no drinking - myspace showed drinking. #pbiint
5:48 pmPBI_CLE:When attorneys don't get info they need, it is malpractice. #pbiint
5:52 pmPBI_CLE:Jurors are influenced by the news online and in social media. #pbiint
5:53 pmPBI_CLE:Courts are barring use of social media during trials, but how do you track it? #pbiint
5:55 pmPBI_CLE:Jurors have access to social media all the time, regardless of whether they are supposed to. Need instruction, need proper voir dire #pbiint
5:55 pmPBI_CLE:Not changing the practice of law. Just have more tools we have to manage. #pbiint
5:57 pmPBI_CLE:A lot of ethics resources out there to help with social media. #pbiint
5:57 pmPBI_CLE:Set up google alert for self, law firm, clients, witnesses, etc. #pbiint
5:59 pmPBI_CLE:What are Google alerts, how do you use? http://bit.ly/6VIQSN #pbiint
6:01 pmPBI_CLE:Tweetbeep.com is useful for currently following twitter #pbiint
6:03 pmPBI_CLE:What is being said online may require strategic alteration to how handle a case. #pbiint
6:05 pmPBI_CLE:Important to stay ahead of the curve #pbiint
6:05 pmPBI_CLE:#pbiint be selective in who you friend.
6:06 pmPBI_CLE:All manageable, discoverable and valuable in many ways. #pbiint
6:10 pmPBI_CLE:There are many benefits, ex business development, etc, to having a presence on social media. #pbiint
6:10 pmPBI_CLE:linkedin is particularly useful #pbiint
6:14 pmPBI_CLE:Be careful what you say online. Lawsuits are coming out of what is posted on twitter. For example:http://bit.ly/fTc3p #pbiint
6:27 pmPBI_CLE:#pbiint make sure you can be found online, at least linkedin if nothing.
6:28 pmPBI_CLE:Thanks @Ginarubel I learned a lot. Wonderful job! #pbiint
7:17 pmPBI_CLE:We tweeted Gina Furia Rubel talk on Social Media at Internet Update. Take a look at Twitter.com at #pbiinthttp://bit.ly/aN3G6o
7:28 pmJLE_CLE:RT @PBI_CLE: Time for @Ginarubel She will be speaking on social networking, so it is a good time to tweet. #pbiint


Lisa Valentine said...

Not surprising that the legal field may be one of the last to adopt the use of social media.

For those whose companies/workplaces are blocking employee access to social media apps, I'd like to share a helpful resource. It's a whitepaper called , “To Block or Not. Is that the question?”


It has lots of insightful and useful information about identifying and controlling Enterprise 2.0 apps (Facebook, Twitter, Skype, SharePoint, etc.)

Pass it along to the IT Dept.

Kara said...

Hi Gina --
It looks as though your forum with the PA Bar Institute covered some great information, and the Hash-Tag transcript adds tremendous value.

I'm so much in alignment with your ideas that I've mentioned your firm and your blog to my readers on the Karasma Media Legal Marketing Blog.


Looking forward!

Just Terrific!