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Technology 4 Lives

Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

My advice to people who use Twitter to send automated spam

Go die in a fucking fire.

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Grandpa lawyer doesn’t understand your newfangled technoggoly

I wrote the headline to this post on August 17, 2011, and I saved a draft that only consisted of four URL’s. Honestly, I have no idea exactly where I was going to go with this, but the headline was too, uh, weird not to post. Rather than try to piece together exactly what sort of thesis I was going after almost four months ago, I’ll just link to the articles that so inspired me.

Obviously it was something about older lawyers eschewing newfangled technology.

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see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!

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I rule the world of appellate Twitter haiku!

I have been writing haiku for fun and to annoy my fellow man since I learned of the medium in middle school. A few weeks ago I wrote up a few legal haikus in response to a contest hosted by the Texas Bar Appellate Law Section. I am proud to say that my poetic and legal creative powers have now received their due recognition. I didn’t win anything tangible, but receiving an honorable mention from a group of people I mostly don’t know, in a state bar section to which I don’t belong, in an area of law I have never practiced, is all the victory I need. At least where legal haiku is concerned.

Check me out on page 2:

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Tweeting briefs, haiku edition

The State Bar of Texas Appellate Section is hosting a “Twitter Brief Competition” in preparation for its annual meeting in September. It’s exactly what it sounds like: craft an appellate argument in 140 characters or less.

Be honest, this is the moment the legal profession has been dreaming of. No more verbose jargon! No more impenetrable legalese! An end to “heretofore” and “thereunder”! Short prepositions only!

But seriously, it seems like some lawyers might have an edge in this competition. Section co-chair Anne Johnson seems to agree:

“My initial observations is we may see some generational differences,” Johnson says. She explains: “People who are used to posting on Twitter are going to have an advantage.” There’s another commonality among many competing Tweets so far: They focus on a “theme of waiver,” Johnson says. For example: “Honorable court, the claim has been waived. Respectfully submitted, appellee,” says Johnson, adding: “That’s an argument that is pretty simple and can be said pretty quickly.”

Personally, I would prefer to see an appellate haiku competition. Here are a few of my own:

The appellee lacked

Standing to sue, and venue

Was improper too.

The First Amendment

Dictates dismissal of this

Meritless action.

Appellee tried this

Once before, and did not win:

Res judicata.

This Court can review

Just abuse of discretion.

No de novo here.

I guess we’ll have to wait and see if practicing law by Twitter catches on.

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Social Media Credential Fraud

Photo by www.gaj-it.com

Photo by www.gaj-it.com

I learned a new term: social media credential fraud:

This week, the concept of social media credential fraud went mainstream after presidential candidate Newt Gingrich bragged that his 1.3 million Twitter followers represented six times as many followers as all the other candidates combined. Like the social media expert discussed by Shear, Gingrich sought to boost his professional credibility by pointing to his sheer number of Twitter followers.

According to an article in Gawker, however, only about 10 percent of Gingrich’s followers are “real, sentient people.” The remaining million-plus people, the article says, are just a mirage.

Apparently fake Twitter accounts and Twitter accounts that are really just bots can pump up followers lists and promote tweets or blogs. Spam on Twitter is sadly not a remotely rare occasion. On top of that, the ranks of self-proclaimed social media gurus may continue to swell, and lawyers just can’t seem to get enough apoplexy over the topic.

The problem for lawyers in particular is really part of the age-old problem of how to stand out from the crowd. With a possible opportunity to boast thousands of followers or subscribers without the pesky problem of actually appealing to thousands of people, some lawyers here and there are bound to fall prey to the temptation of “credential fraud.” The key word, of course, is “fraud,” something lawyers are always wise to avoid. This could lead to ethical problems we can’t even imagine yet. Best for lawyers to stick to their natural charm to build a following. If you lack charm, become a tax lawyer (zing!).

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Perhaps I’m just attuned to the question of defamation

Maybe it’s just a sudden onset of perceptual vigilance, but it seems like defamation suits are breaking out all over the place. This is just from today’s ABA Journal update:

It will be interesting to see where this all goes. For those unfamiliar with the concept, defamation is generally defined as follows:

Defamation—also called calumny, vilification, traducement, slander (for transitory statements), and libel (for written, broadcast, or otherwise published words)—is the communication of a statement that makes a claim, expressly stated or implied to be factual, that may give an individual, business, product, group, government, or nation a negative image. It is usually a requirement that this claim be false and that the publication is communicated to someone other than the person defamed (the claimant).

I think I am much more partial to the term calumny. To each their own, I suppose.

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Leaving the practice of law (at least for a while)

Almost nine years ago, I embarked on an adventure. Starting my own law practice straight out of law school, knowing very little substantive law, knowing almost nothing about running a business, armed only with good credit and “fire in the belly,” it has been quite a ride. This was 2002, before most people had heard the word “blog,” when “dot-com” was still a dirty word, when the country was still clawing its way out of the post-9/11 recession, and when Democrats still held a few statewide offices in Texas.

I meant for this to symbolize a new beginning or something

A lot has changed since then. Technology has certainly advanced, but going solo is no longer quite the crazy move it once was. With the bad economy and the rather ridiculous surplus of new lawyers entering the stage every year, it’s getting awful crowded in my sky (h/t Malcolm Reynolds).

Quite frankly, the thrill of the law is not what it once was. The thrill of blogging about the law, or tweeting about it, is still there, but my heart and my passion seems to have moved on. So I’ve decided to leave the practice of law, at least for a while.

This is, of course, not the end for me and law. I’m keeping this website, and this blog. In fact, I intend to keep writing and hopefully entertaining my reader(s), but I have not had the particular drive to write informative, search-engine-optimized posts about collaborative law. I prefer to write about animal welfare, dogs, and my own peculiar theories on the business of law. Writing about my passions, and not writing the interesting-but-not-at-all controversial blog posts common to many law blogs, is what inspires me, so I look forward to feeling perhaps less constrained by industry convention. I was recently mentioned by a complete stranger as one of the few Austin lawyers making good use of social media for my practice. I enjoy the social media, but not so much the practice. It’s time for a new adventure.

I hope, in making this confession, that I do not lose the trust or respect of my reader(s). I have met many amazing people through my work over the past nine years, and none of you have heard the last of me.

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It didn't take long for lawyers to take the fun out of tweeting

As if lawyers don’t have enough stress on their plates, now we have to be mindful of the contents of our tweets, at least according to an attorney in New York: “By answering, in 140 characters or less, the question ‘What are you doing now?’ corporate and professional employees ‘may convey proprietary information, may reveal other privileged or private information and may expose the company to claims of defamation or harassment,’ writes Jones Day partner Steven Bennett in a cover story for the May issue of the New York State Bar Association Journal.”

Admittedly, despite sharing my law firm’s name, my Twitter activity is mostly limited to lame attempts at rhyming couplets and haiku.  I have considered tweeting on more substantive matters, but there always remains a concern over how much is “too much” to say about what I am doing when I’m, say, in court on the Child Protective Services docket.  It’s a good question, and I suppose it was only a matter of time before my profession started dissecting tweeting to determine “best practices.”  Oh well…

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