Social Networking Websites

Over the 13 years I ran Shepherd Law Group, I employed lawyers of varying ages. I had fortysomethings (full disclosure: I’m 43, although I really don’t look a day over 42), I had thirtysomethings, and I had twentysomethings. This last group, the so-called Millennials, were almost a completely different species. For example, in law school, these newbies click-clacked on laptops in the classroom — even during exams. They communicated with law professors using the email. And they had no idea what a mix tape was.

In practice, it turns out that they work differently, too. I remember walking into the office of one of my newer Millennials when she was working on a summary-judgment brief. Her desk looked like the desk of any brief-writing lawyer, with files and cases and books all over it. But what really struck me was her computer desktop. It must have had 20 windows open, many with tabs hiding other screens.

But at least one of the screens was Facebook, and another was an instant-messaging client. I could see that the IM screen was showing an active conversation. Another screen showed Pandora, which was streaming music I didn’t recognize (it was Portishead) at a reasonably low volume.

I was stunned. How could she get the brief done with all these distractions?

So what did I do about it?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Small Firms, Big Lawyers: Don’t Trust Your Young Associates!”

I always assumed that my youth (or quasi-youth) would guarantee me superstar status in connection with social media. I am not sure why I thought this, because my first foray into Facebook was a bit of a disaster. I was quite late to the party, joining years after I realized that everyone was doing it. To compensate, I went on a mad dash to accumulate as many friends as possible. I sent out friend requests to people that I had barely known, mistreated, been mistreated by and would not acknowledge if I saw them on the street. I would also accept anyone’s friend request. I recall that about a month after I joined, a man with no common friends sent me a request. His name was “Summertime,” he had no last name, and his picture was him without a shirt and holding what appeared to be an ax. I gladly accepted his request. Looking back, I shudder to think what a social media expert would have concluded was my personal brand based on viewing my profile.

Years later, when I became @ValerieLKatz, I forgot my Facebook failure and assumed that I would be a Twitter phenomenon. I believed, as with Facebook, that the only thing that mattered was to have a lot of tweeps.

So how do you get the tweeps, I wondered?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Size Matters: I Need A Hero”

There’s not much I can add to this Weinergate thing that hasn’t already been covered on these pages and everywhere else. Congressman Anthony Weiner has said that he’s not going to resign over the scandal that he tweeted various body parts to women other than his wife. I believe that he will have to resign, although not because of the tweeting, but because of the lying about it afterward. (Previously, he claimed that his social-media accounts had been hacked. He then admitted that that wasn’t strictly true. Or even a little bit true. He also conceded that the dog had actually not eaten his homework.)

This online imbroglio has made many wonder why he would even consider posting compromising photos and language on Twitter. Or for that matter, why he would even be on Twitter in the first place. Or why anyone would be.

Lawyers in particular often have trouble understanding why they should be on Twitter. Even my esteemed colleague Mark Herrmann has “proved” that Twitter doesn’t work. Well, I’ve got news for people who doubt that they should be tweeting:

Many of them probably shouldn’t be.

In fact, I’ve tried to identify the types of people (in addition to shirtless politicians in various degrees of arousal) who should stay away from Twitter. Here, then, are five people who should never tweet….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Small Firms, Big Lawyers: Five People Who Should Never Tweet”

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg attends a joi...

Facebook goes on the offensive to protect its founder from a man it says is a scammer

When Facebook called Paul Ceglia, the man who claims to have a contract with Mark Zuckerberg for half of Facebook, an “inveterate scam artist,” Ceglia’s lawyers at DLA Piper replied that the company had no facts to back that claim up. “We are prepared to move the case forward into discovery and our client looks forward to his day in court,” said DLA.

Facebook is ready for discovery too: their lawyers at Gibson Dunn have filed to expedite it. Their attached memorandum of law makes a strong case against Ceglia. Facebook’s hoping to give Ceglia his day in court, but it’s hoping that it’s a criminal court.

Facebook wants the original version of the contract that Ceglia claims Mark Zuckerberg signed and the emails that Ceglia said were exchanged regarding that contract. Facebook says they’re as fake as that app that claims to let you see who your Facebook stalkers are. To support their claims, they’ve dug into the dark corners of Ceglia’s past, mentioning again his drug and fraud convictions as well as disclosing a land scam that Ceglia has allegedly been running for years, that had not previously been discovered. Note to self: do not sue huge corporation with any potential skeletons in the closet.

If the allegations Facebook’s lawyers make are true, Ceglia could end up with prison time instead of a hefty chunk of Facebook stock.

Read on at Forbes.com….

PALO ALTO, CA - AUGUST 18:  Facebook founder a...

Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg respond to Paul Ceglia, the wood chipper who claims to own half of Facebook

Now that the Winklevoss twins have been sent packing by Chief Judge Alex Kozinski (with a kick in the ass on the way out the door from the rest of the Ninth Circuit), with a 0.00% chance of the Supreme Court taking their case, Facebook’s lawyers can focus on the latest “Actually, I Own Facebook” lawsuit.

Paul Ceglia claims to have a contract with Mark Zuckerberg that entitles him to half of the company. Zuck supposedly signed away a stake in Facebook in 2003 while a Harvard undergrad in exchange for $2,000 in seed money from Ceglia.

In an amended complaint filed in April (with the help of DLA Piper), Ceglia claimed to have some damning emails from Zuckerberg where they discussed “the face book” project at length. Ceglia said the emails showed that Zuck deceived him, allegedly telling him the site was not very popular with the Harvard kids, and asking him if he would like his $2,000 back — at the same time as Zuckerberg was moving out to California to ramp up operations.

Lawyers at Gibson Dunn filed Facebook’s response to Ceglia’s lawsuit this week, calling him a scam artist and saying that the contract he claims to have is “doctored” and that the evidence he has produced is “fabricated.” Here’s the scorching opener to the answer, which was certainly written as much for the media as for the judge….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Gibson Dunn Goes Medieval on Facebook Plaintiff”

File this one under “Disappointing, but not really surprising.”

According to a new study, it turns out that quite a few law students not only break the law, but also post the evidence on Facebook. We’ve already covered why this is a bad idea.

For some reason I keep hoping Facebook has been around long enough that people –- at least those of us older than 16 –- would stop doing stuff like this and this. But I guess I’m just naive.

Let’s look at the study results….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Do Your Facebook Pictures Prove You’re A Criminal?”

On the other side of the pond, the principles of the First Amendment often take second place to the right to privacy. Britain, for example, has a smashing little thing called a “superinjunction,” which citizens can get from a court to keep the media from writing stories about them. They also have regular injunctions, which people — usually rich people, since injunctive relief can be expensive — can get to keep their names out of scandalous scoops. This results in lots of tabloid stories that read like Gawker’s blind items, or simply don’t run at all.

A married soccer player (for Manchester United, in case you care — though you probably don’t) got himself one of the latter, when the Big Brother star/model he was balling told him she was selling her story to the press. Unfortunately for him, a Twitter user crusading against muzzling the press with superinjunctions somehow got his tweepy hands on the information and published the rumor about the player’s adulterous scoring, along with a bunch of other supposedly superinjuncted gossip.

It caused an uproar in Britain initially, but the fire died down fairly quickly — until the soccer player’s lawyers decided to give it some more fuel….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “‘Ryan Giggs’ Is British for the ‘Streisand Effect’”

Lawyers love to talk about how technology always moves faster than the law. Nowhere is that tension more apparent (and sadistically fun to observe) than within the mean streets of Facebook. We’ve covered legal standards surrounding Facebook before — and it never gets old.

This week, a defense attorney in a personal injury case learns that just because you ask to be someone’s Facebook pal, that doesn’t mean they have to say yes. Even if you ask through the court system and your would-be “friend” happens to be suing your client for car-crash injuries.

A shocking revelation, right? Details after the ol’ jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “I’m Suing You, So No, We Can’t Be Facebook Friends”

A tipster asked: “How is giving a potential future employer your Twitter ID a good idea?” Well, what if you’re getting free food?

The massive law firm of Skadden Arps is doing a fun little recruitment event at NYU Law School, during finals. They’re feeding the masses! New Yorkers have an affinity for eating food that is sold out of a truck because… well, only civilized people live with millions of strangers right on top of each other, on a rock infested with roaches and mice.

So, yeah, throwing pizza and hungry NYU students from a moving vehicle makes a lot of sense from a New York state of mind.

But would you be willing to give Skadden your Twitter handle? For a slice of pizza?

Let’s look at the promotional flier…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Skadden Wants Your Twitter Handle — And Will Give You Food From A Truck In Exchange”

Image representing MySpace as depicted in Crun...

Proving your case requires more than a screenshot.

The practice of “oversharing” on social networks has been a boon for law enforcement. Investigations regularly involve checking out people’s Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn profiles. Thus, it’s probably unwise to post about your involvement in a crime. Or about threatening a witness set to testify against your boyfriend.

While investigating Antoine Griffin, a murder suspect in Maryland, police checked out his girlfriend’s MySpace wall, where she had unwisely written (note that “Boozy” is Griffin’s nickname): “FREE BOOZY!!!! JUST REMEMBER SNITCHES GET STITCHES!! U KNOW WHO YOU ARE!!”

The “veiled” message was a little too transparent. During the trial, prosecutors used this as evidence that Boozy’s girlfriend, Jessica Barber, had intimidated one of their key “snitches” witnesses, affecting his testimony. They introduced a print-out of Barber’s MySpace wall into evidence. Boozy was busted and found guilty of the 2005 shooting. Seems like an open and shut case, right?

But Griffin appealed, in part because the prosecution had not proven that it was really his girlfriend’s MySpace profile, or that it was really something she had written. The Maryland Court of Appeals was sympathetic….

Read on at Forbes.com….

Page 16 of 251...121314151617181920...25