Tag Archives: Twitter

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Twitter’s Tweets Can Create Legal Issues

lawglobeThe 140 characters or less answer to the question, “What are you doing now? has the potential to create a litigation minefield for attorneys, their employers and  other businesses states Marthat Neil in the May 15, 2009  ABA Bar Journal.

Accordingly , lawyers and professional employees must   be careful  not to convey proprietary information or reveal privileged or private information  which could potentially expose the company to  a lawsuit.

Twitter “tweets”  are so new that the best practices for addressing the social networking phenomenon are still being developed. Therefore, attorneys should be wary of  providing confidential information that  could be considered solicitations for clients. Furthermore, on the corporate side employers should establish standards for business related Tweets.

Yes, lawyers of all makes are beginning to engage in this fast g rowing social network. Jim Calloway, a Oklahoma legal technology guru , explains how Twitter is not just a passing fad and that lawyers need to be aware of the legal implications of  Twitter or any social media. This social media will have an impact on a lawyer’s practice because  of  a “business client who wants to discuss a policy on employees using social media at work or a family law client who believes that there is valuable evidence lurking in Twitter posts”, expounds Calloway. Therefore, remember “tweets” can become valuable evidence.

Some  cautionary advice that Calloway (@jimcalloway) provides is :

1.  Be careful about overuse of Twitter. You don’t want your followers and clients to believe you have nothing else to do.

2. If you ‘re using Twitter for practice development, watch how often you stray  from your  primary topic. Keep some professional distance in the attorney-client relationship.

3. Don’t expect that your tweets are to be kept private.

Now I don’t “tweet”. However, I believe that those who engage in this practice in their business should proceed with caution. The chatter about Twitter in the legal profession is growing.

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The Chatter About Twitter in the Legal Profession

legal booksI must admit , as stated earlier in  a post in this blog , I have been  slow to engage in  social networking.  Not just slow,  but reluctant and I have not engaged in the process for many reasons. Although a professional, I didn’t get what the “craze ” was all about. I have received  email notices that  so and so would like for you to be their friend on Facebook, Linked-In and others  social networks . I have gone to the location and when I am asked to complete the information, I exit the site. It  was a challenge for me to start blogging until Pam Perry ,the Christian Marketing guru ( pamperry@ministrymarketingsolutions.com, http://www.ministrymarketingsolutions.com/blog)  challenged  the group attending the American Christians Writers meeting to set up a blog for a book review. ( read my April blog post). This blog is the result. I must admit earlier this year my attitude was why blog?

I indicated in my last blog that I had no interest at all in Twitter.  However,while reviewing the American Bar Journal (ABA)I begin seeing articles on the impact of  social networking on the legal profession. I was curious to know  why an attorney would be interested in Twitter.  

                                                          lawglobe Interest in Twitter in the legal profession is increasing  as having business value. In the article in the ABA Journal, April 2009,entitled “Much Chatter About Twitter” by Barbara Rose, it discusses the influence of Twitter in the legal profession. The articles tells  how one young attorney started following a local mover and shaker with interests  that matched his own. Within four months  “of gathering in real space of people connected through Twitter” the attorney picked up four new clients. The young  attorney stated that one uses this tool to “seek out a community you know would be beneficial to you”.

However, the article in the bar journal contrasted this experience with another attorney who felt that Twitter was a distraction, a source of stress and did not help him build relationships because “the process depersonalized communication by speeding it up through group conversations”. The article quoted him as saying ” It just doesn’t provide the bang for the buck  that technology needs to deliever before I use it every day”.

Now its true that twittering lawyers are few in comparison to the number of users. But it is not  lost on the profession that Twitter or another similar technology  will have a “growing influence over buisness communication”. The Interent based service has estimated that of the “3 million users about 560 of them are lawyers and legal professionsals according to  a list by Adrian Lurssen on the JD Scoop blog at JDSupra.com” states the ABA article. The profession uses it as a marketing tool and others find it helpful to  getting questions answered and staying abreast of what is happening in the legal and technological world. Philadelphia courts post news and announcements.

While this is seen as a great new social networking tool,  there is no doubt that a Twitter message will be involved in litigation . These messages can leave digital traces that are subject to discovery if a legal dispute arises, just like e-mail and text messaging as we have seen in the city of Detroit involving the former mayor.

More lawyers are recognizing that  Twitter has potential for  building their practices . Some even find that its fun and interesting . One Philadelphia based tax attorney, Kelly Phillips Erb, blogs at taxgirl.com and tweets about her life as a mom as well as her law practice. Another chief executive in Seattle, who is a social media expert for a law firm marketing, initally thought that Twitter, as I do , was  a silly thing . However, he began to use it to pass along useful links and to post interesting “tweets”. To his surprise the number following him grew from 300 to more than 1,500. He realized he could not have developed that big of a following in a matter of weeks even if he had hired a top public relations firm. Now Kevin O’Keefe ,chief executive of LexBlog Inc, the article reports, tweets about 40 times a day. 

Yes, there is much chatter about Twitter ,that I will share in the future, but I still have yet to try  to engage in this form of social networking. Pam Perry  will have to find some engaging method to push me to do so.

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