Social Media

I have said time and time again that electronic privacy is, at best, quickly slipping out of existence, and at worst, already an illusion. That might be overly cynical, but it makes life easier if you can expect that whatever information you post online could realistically, unexpectedly, and embarrassingly, be published and seen by many people. Same goes for your personal consumer information. Advertisers figure out your consumer preferences, the music you like, the food you eat, etc. and so on.

That said, at least some public officials are not yet ready to let privacy fade quietly into the night. The Attorney General of California has created a new organization — a start-up, if you will — specifically to protect individual citizens from “those who misuse technology to invade the privacy of others.” Ooh, methinks that ain’t a bad idea…

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* Kristen Saban has already moved to dismiss the suit filed by her former sorority sister stemming from their alleged sororitastic catfight. [WSFA]

* Massage parlor busted in prostitution sting: a victory for human rights. Said massage parlor/brothel shares a building AND A SIGN with local law firm: hilarious. Of course there are pics. Do you even need to ask? [KREM]

* Speaking of sex for money, Canada no longer offers visas for foreign strippers, escorts, or massage parlor workers. [Newser via Legal Blog Watch]

* “I lost the Casey Anthony case. Vote for me for State Attorney!” Does the state of Florida realize the rest of the United States only keeps it around for comedic relief? [Daily Beast]

* Missy Elliot is suing a car dealership that, she says, has not delivered her Lamborghini as agreed to. Man, that car dealer might be in trouble, because she’s a b*tch. See, Missy got more cheese. Back on up while she rolls up her sleeves. [Jalopnik]

* I really don’t want to make this joke, but I feel like I have no choice: in San Francisco, two drunk guys walking around naked would not only not get arrested, but no one would even bother giving them a second look. [Legal Juice]

* More praise for the new book from our in-house counsel columnist Mark Herrmann. Nice work! [Class Action Blawg; Law and More]

* Seton Hall Law professors are organizing a mini-golf tournament. It’s called networking, folks. [Lincoln ESQ.]

Alec Baldwin was such a stud.

* Obama’s win for health care reform didn’t result in a polling bump for him, but it did result in an even higher disapproval rating for SCOTUS, at least as far as Republicans are concerned… [POLITCO; CBS News]

* … which may be why Chief Justice John Roberts escaped to “an impregnable island fortress” to avoid the Right’s fury, criticism, and scorn as soon as he could after the ACA opinion dropped. [New York Times]

* “[W]e have learned from the mistakes that were made.” That lesson only cost a few billion dollars. GlaxoSmithKline will pay $3B in the largest health-care fraud settlement in U.S. history. [Wall Street Journal]

* After losing a bid to quash a subpoena, Twitter has to turn over info about an #OWS protester’s tweets. OMG, please respond to that thing in 140 characters or less. [Bloomberg]

* Unlike most recent law school grads, Yale Law’s Vanessa Selbst hasn’t been hedging her bets in bar prep classes. Instead, she went all in, played her cards right, and won $244K at the World Series of Poker. [ESPN]

* Divorce really does bring out the best in people. Alec Baldwin says that if given the chance, he would murder his ex-wife Kim Basinger’s lawyer “with a baseball bat.” Gee, tell us how you really feel. [New York Post]


Paul Ceglia’s lawsuit claiming a major ownership stake in Facebook is heating up again. There has been a flurry of court activity over the last couple of weeks, and it looks like things are getting close (we can only hope) to a thrilling conclusion.

In a new, strongly worded ruling, a federal magistrate judge threatened to impose more sanctions on Ceglia and ordered him to produce a letter written by Kasowitz, one of his (many) former law firms, which Facebook’s attorneys say will blow the doors off whatever remains of his case.

Let’s take a ride on the benchslap express….

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We have covered the lawsuit filed — and tenaciously fought — by Paul Ceglia against Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg for quite some time now. The embattled entrepreneur/businessman/whatever claims he owns 50 percent of Facebook, according to a contract allegedly signed between him and Zuckerberg back in 2003.

To be frank, Ceglia is not the most popular litigant. He has been fined by the court, dropped as a client by several respected firms, and roundly criticized by Facebook’s counsel and by the media (including some writers for this particular publication).

Today, we have some updates in the case. Facebook’s attorneys at Gibson Dunn are not impressed, but Ceglia claims the new developments could be game changers. Oh yeah, and we also have an interview with Paul Ceglia, where he dishes on the Facebook case, his other inventions, and his general opinion of the legal profession…

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Last month, we wrote about another in the increasingly long list of Facebook creation story-related lawsuits. The plaintiff in that story was Aaron Greenspan, a college classmate of Mark Zuckerberg. While Greenspan was in school, he created a similar social network to what eventually became Facebook.

Greenspan alleges that he was unfairly omitted from The Social Network, the 2011 film purportedly telling the history of Facebook. Greenspan felt so jilted at being left out of the movie that he sued the company that published The Accidental Billionaires, on which the hit movie was based (affiliate links).

As of of our last story, Greenspan’s suit alleging “defamation by omission” had just been dismissed by a Massachusetts federal judge.

But he appealed the decision to the First Circuit. Over the weekend, he also emailed us, and gave us more detail about his story. Let’s check in and hear what he has to say, along with a colorful deposition story from the old ConnectU case. There’s more than meets the eye to this tenacious programmer turned Facebook nemesis…

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Yes, Biglaw firms do use Twitter. And apparently some of them use it quite well!

But who is the Biglaw King of 140 characters? We came across an interesting infographic today that pits two of the hottest hitters in the law firm world against each other.

Which firms are they and how do they line up?

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Let’s preface this story with the following: if you accept friendship requests on Facebook from people you don’t know, you might be an idiot.

Okay, now let’s take it a step further. If you’re an alleged gang member who brags about alleged criminal activity on your Facebook page, and you still accept friendships from people you don’t know, you may have had a lobotomy.

That’s what reportedly happened last week in New York, when more than a dozen alleged Brooklyn gang members were arrested after one of them accepted a friend request from — wait for it — a New York police officer.

Oh, goodie, this will be fun…

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Ed. note: Please welcome Eric Turkewitz, a new small law firm columnist at Above the Law. His bio appears after the jump.

For the new ATL readers, let me introduce myself here in my first column. OK, screw that, I know you don’t really give a damn about me, so let’s jump to the meat and potatoes…

You all know that Dewey & LeBoeuf, filing for bankruptcy liquidation yesterday, is the largest law firm ever to go bust. And that means a ton of people are now out of work, either scrambling to hitch their wagons to new firms or looking to start their own practices.

Because having your own firm is, to many, the Holy Grail of a law practice. Sure, some like the consistent fat paycheck, but the ranks of lawyers are filled with Type-A personalities who fantasize about practicing law the way they want to do it, not the way some other Type-A knucklehead has been telling them to do it.

There are only about a gazillion things to think about: office space, support staff, technology, and money to keep you going, to name a few. But today’s topic will be self-promotion and social media. And I don’t mean this in a good way, as in here’s how to go out and be famous on Twitter. No, no, a thousand times no. Instead I’d like to warn you about them, and help you save your soul.

You’re welcome. Pull up a chair, and let’s review some of the more dreadful attorney marketing over the years. We’ll start in the toilet….

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I had mentioned a while ago in my very first ATL post that some of my work involves marketing. Well, some of that marketing involves social media. As the main social media lawyer for my business unit, I work with our strategic teams to figure out how to make the best use of social media technologies (e.g., Facebook, Youtube, blogs, smartphone apps, etc.). All within 140 characters at a time.

What’s it like? As lawyerly work goes, it’s fast-paced and feels kind of risky and cutting-edge. Kind of like Mission Impossible. You know, like if the movie had a lawyer character whose job it was to make sure that the Tom Cruise character signed a waiver every time he got a pack of explosive chewing gum. Really, even non-lawyers think this social media lawyering work is cool. Granted, the non-lawyers I’m talking about are sixty-year-old gamers who live at home with their mothers. But still!

There isn’t really a standalone body of “social media law,” so a lawyer who covers this area ends up being a sort of jack of few trades. Instead, law in social media involves work which falls into the following basic categories….

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