Social Networking Websites

You’ve got to love lawyers sometimes. If nothing else, they’re a resourceful group of people. If there is information out there that can help win a case, you can count on a lawyer to find it, massage it, and use it to their client’s advantage. What makes a good lawyer? Research, baby, research.

We’ve mentioned before that divorce attorneys have figured out how to use incriminating text messages to their advantage. So it should really come as no surprise that divorce attorneys are also using Facebook to dig up information on the soon-to-be-ex spouses of their clients.

If anything, the only surprising thing is how stupid people are on Facebook even when they are in the midst of active litigation. CNN had a nice story yesterday, documenting this trend:

Before the explosion of social media, Ken Altshuler, a divorce lawyer in Maine, dug up dirt on his client’s spouses the old-fashioned way: with private investigators and subpoenas. Now the first place his team checks for evidence is Facebook…

“Facebook is a great source of evidence,” Altshuler said. “It’s absolutely solid evidence because he’s the author of it. How do you deny that you put that on?”

What kind of idiots put something on Facebook they don’t want their spouse to see? Apparently, the cheating kind….

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There are a number of firms that aren’t up to speed with this whole “social media thing.” But they should be, because their clients are.

American Lawyer Media, Zeughauser Group and communications firm Greentarget surveyed 164 in-house counsel about their social media habits. Lo and behold, they are making use of blogs, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook to get their legal information… and, perhaps more interestingly, to judge law firms.

In-house counsel still primarily rely on “referrals from trusted sources and credentialing activity (i.e., demonstrations of thought leadership)” to choose outside lawyers, but they are increasingly taking brilliant tweets and blog posts into consideration…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Many In-House Counsel Are Social Media Savvy. But Biglaw Firms? Not So Much.

In case you haven’t noticed, Twitter is all the rage right now. Everyone is signing up — including your ATL editors.

Given that bloggers are in the business of taking in and pushing out content, our use of Twitter isn’t surprising. A more interesting development is that lawyers at large law firms, including fairly senior partners, are taking to the social networking site. One notable example is Frank Aquila of Sullivan & Cromwell, the high-powered M&A attorney who was named a Legal Rebel by the ABA Journal in part because of his use of Twitter (where he has over 1,300 followers).

The latest is even more prominent: superstar litigator John Quinn, founding partner of Quinn Emanuel. Over the weekend — because QE lawyers are always working, or at least always checking their email — this firm-wide email went around:

John Quinn is on Twitter. He will be tweeting legal developments, firm victories and events, as well as miscellaneous musings at @jbqlaw.

Firm victories. Like in the Redskins case?

I interviewed John Quinn about his foray into Twitter. What did he have to say?

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ATL Twitter.jpg@OurReaders — we’re on Twitter. You can follow Above the Law at atlblog. There’s been no sign of the “fail whale” at Twitter in recent weeks, but here at ATL, we’re sure you’ve noticed our technical difficulties. We will use our Twitter feed to communicate with you when our site is down.

But it’s not your father’s ATL Twitter feed. We’re doing more than just pushing out our posts via Twitter. Now we’re down there dropping knowledge, 140 characters at a time. We will be signing our tweets individually, so you’ll know whom to get mad at.
Your three editors also have personal Twitter accounts, as Gawker recently noted. You can find (and follow) us at davidlat, elieNYC, and kashhill.

As for our tech issues, we apologize once again. They frustrate us, as writers, as much as they frustrate you, as readers. Our servers can’t handle our popularity, so we’re exploring other options. Please bear with us over the next few weeks.

In addition, you can use Twitter to follow our sister sites — Dealbreaker, Fashionista, and Going Concern — and our parent company, Breaking Media.

To those of you who decide to follow us, thanks!

Above the Law [Twitter]

Google Buzz.jpgGoogle launched its version of a social networking site last week with Buzz. Many people were royally pissed dismayed by the privacy flaws in the initial launch. Google took the list of people that users emailed most frequently and created a public “friend list.”
As TechCrunch pointed out, “merging something designed for public broadcasting (Buzz) with something inherently private (Gmail) was just looking for trouble.”
The trouble has arrived. The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has filed a privacy complaint with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. And today, Harvard Law 2L Eva Hibnick filed a class action lawsuit in California, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

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Flat fee is the way of the future.


– Mark Howitson, deputy general counsel for Facebook, in his keynote address at LegalTech New York.

lolita with lollipop.jpgA high school principal in Indiana doesn’t want slutty-seeming students playing sports, reports Courthouse News Service.
Two sophomores attended a summer slumber party with other girls from Churubusco High School. They did what all high school girls do at slumber parties (at least in the imagination of high school boys). From their complaint [PDF]:

During the sleepover the girls took pictures of themselves pretending to kiss or lick a large multi-colored novelty lollipop shaped phallus that they had purchased as well as pictures of themselves in lingerie with dollar bills stuck in their clothes as well as other pictures.

Ed. note: See this comment. Should that read “phallus-shaped lollipop”?

The girls later posted these photos on MySpace. Someone among their MySpace “friends” printed the pics and gave them to the principal. The principal decided the girls had violated the school’s code of conduct and suspended them from all extracurricular activities, including athletics, for the entire school year.
The ACLU thinks the principal is a sucker, and has stepped in to help the girls sue their school.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Supplemental Lawsuit of the Day: Principal’s ‘Phallusy’?”

San Francisco small Golden Gate bridge.jpgAlthough Above the Law is based in New York, we adore our West Coast readers. We try to post stories that would be of special interest to them as often as possible, typically later in the day to account for the time difference. (We have one such post coming out after this one; we’re not done for the day.)
And we regularly visit the Left Coast. For information about two upcoming events that we’ll be participating in later this week — a talk at King Hall on Thursday, and a social networking conference at Boalt Hall on Friday — check out the links below.

P.S. As previously explained, we generally don’t do event plugs on the ATL main page, unless we or one of our advertisers is involved. But if your event is free / non-commercial, you can promote it in ATL’s Community section. If your event is not free, you can advertise it with us. E.g., the Legal Reform Summit in D.C. (October 28), or the ABA Law Firm Marketing Strategies Conference in Philadelphia (November 12-13). Thanks!

businessman laptop computer online impersonation online impersonator.jpgWe’re getting mixed messages from the mainstream media. Just last week, Bloomberg told us Facebook and social networks are good for lawyers:

“Online networks are a fantastic tool for identifying expertise in the fields in which general counsel are looking to rein in outside counsel,” Eugene Weitz, an in-house attorney at Paris-based Alcatel Lucent, said in an interview. “Experts bubble up who have the ability to show their knowledge online.”

Some lawyers show a little too much online, though. That can get them into trouble. It can get them reprimanded by the bar, fined, or fired. This weekend, John Schwartz of the New York TImes did a nice round-up of lawyers’ Facebook fiascos.
Some “no-nos” when it comes to online behavior, after the jump.

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Social Networking Director monitors.JPGAre you a laid-off lawyer who has been spending way too much time on Facebook? Here’s a way to turn that “résumé gap” into job experience:

Director of Social Media
Medium-sized Atlanta law firm seeks candidates interested in a part-time or full-time social media position. The primary responsibility of the Social Media Director will be to actively promote our growing law firm using a variety of social media such as Twitter, Facebook and our existing web-site. Projects include: managing the firm’s Twitter, Facebook and web-site account, research current and relevant legal stories in the news and republish to social networks and firm web-site on a daily basis, communicate through social web-sites about all specific practice groups and their developments, update marketing team on a weekly basis with web-site content.

Managing a professional presence on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites felt like a full-time job to me. But I didn’t know you could draw a salary for it.
So what are the qualifications for this position — and, more importantly, the salary?

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