Smiley Faces

Do you really want this guy as your boss?

If there is one golden rule in the technological age, it would likely be that you don’t share your electronic passwords with anyone. Tech companies routinely tell their customers that they will never ask for their users’ security information. Common knowledge says you shouldn’t share passwords with friends, lovers, or even family members. Because when you share that information, you might end up getting arrested for selling contraband to Iran, and your iPhone might wind up at the bottom of a canyon.

So what do you do when a prospective employer wants to login to Facebook — as you — during a job interview? Weep and gnash your teeth? Yeah, that’s what I thought…

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Here’s some good news for lawyers who enjoy blogging or instant-messenger services like Gchat. It’s right in the headline of this here National Law Journal story: Smiley face, snark, don’t render law grad unfit to practice.

Many of us get snarky in our personal writing, and many of us employ emoticons in email messages or Gchat exchanges. As litigators well know, sometimes a cold transcript doesn’t adequately convey tone. For this reason, I’ve even seen federal judges use winking smiley-face emoticons in email messages.

But you shouldn’t use smiley faces in documents you file with the court — even the super-icky courts that hear traffic appeals (yes, they exist). This is a lesson that Marilyn Ringstaff, a 2006 graduate of John Marshall Law School, learned the hard way….

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