Archive for March, 2011

A Jury Facebook Issue That Ends Up in SCOTUS?

March 31, 2011

The defense team in a Sacramento gang case want to review a juror’s Facebook postings after he had posted to friends, “”Can it get any more BORING than going over piles and piles of (cell phone) records.”

The Superior Court judge ordered the juror to release his postings.  It was appealed and upheld by the California Court of Appeals but now the California Supreme Court wants to weigh in on the matter, framing the issues as one between the juror’s right to privacy and the defendant’s fair trial rights.

I’ll be reading the California Supreme Court’s opinion and, if I’m right, the United States Supreme Court opinion after that.

Ct Rules Facebook Tagged Photos Admissible

March 30, 2011

Photo tagging in Facebook allows anyone to identify a photo with someone with a Facebook profile as being their picture.  There are security settings that apply but there the person “tagged” doesn’t have to approve the connection between themselves and the photo.

A party in a divorce dispute, argued that the evidence of this photo was inadmissible because she hadn’t approve or consent to the photo being uploaded to Facebook.  As a result, a Kentucky Court of Appeals ruled that such tagged photos could be used as evidence in a case where they should a party drinking an alcoholic beverage against the health providers recommendations.

Blogging Tips:Find a Niche & Content Stream

March 29, 2011

Adrian Dayton frequently writes about how attorneys can better use social media and this article provides useful tips in getting started.  I would add a couple things to his list of five.

Be Aspirational: think of an aspect of the law that excites you.  Could be something you want learn more about  or something that’s an area expertise but which isn’t the core of your legal practice.  Use that as a blog springboard.

Collect blogs and news sources of interest: Use Google alerts and iGoogle to capture information and resources.  Use those an inspiration for blogging.  It will help you to “have” ideas more frequently.

Using YouTube for Property Damage Claims

March 28, 2011

This article outlines several ways that social media can assist claims adjusters and attorneys in preparing for property damage claims.  One suggestion is to enter the loss date into YouTube and a one word description to see if there is a video of the house fire, car accident, flood damage etc.

The article goes on to make the point that comments can be very useful too in identifying potential witnesses who might fill out the story with eyewitness detail.

Senate Draft of Online Privacy Bill of Rights

March 26, 2011

Senator Kerry has released the “Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights Act of 2011.”  The Act, co-sponsored by Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), directs the FTC to make rules requiring certain entities that handle information covered by the Act to comply with a host of new requirements protecting the security of the information as well as the privacy of the individuals to whom information pertains.

For a useful overview of the various provisions, check out this post from the always excellent Information Law Group blog.

Website Integral to Attorney Marketing

March 25, 2011

The latest blog post for Solo Practice University is focused on the “10 things I hate about being a solo.”  One of the points made is having to your own marketing which means figuring out who your ideal client is, how they look for clients, putting up a website and handing out business cards.

Your Website as a Marketing Hub Makes it Easier

When you develop a website, you should be thinking about your ideal client and about why and how they would come to you on the web.  You should be thinking about making your website interactive by integrating your blog, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook profiles giving people a way to engage you.  When you follow-up with people you’ve networked with, point them to an article on your website or a blog post of interest.  In other words, use your website as a marketing engine that both unifies your efforts and expands them.

Another Jury Misconduct Case on Facebook?

March 24, 2011

A judge will have to decide whether Facebook has served a platform for juror misconduct in a criminal trial.  When will the ABA or a judges group address this issue?

How Are People Finding Lawyers?

March 23, 2011

A new ABA study was released last month that looked at how people find legal services.  Of particular interest to me was the chart that should what resources people used online resources to find a lawyer.

Referrals Still Tops

82% rely on someone they know or attorneys they know when they need legal services and while the yellow pages are down from previous surveys, they are use slightly more than online services for finding lawyers.

Avvo, Yelp or Lawyer’s Website?

An interesting finding was that people were slightly more likely to use an online directory or attorney rating service to find an attorney as they were to checkout the attorney’s website.  However, I think these findings are deceptive.  First, the question is asked as a hypothetical not from experience.  The question is ‘if you needed a lawyer for a personal matter, how likely would you be to use the following resources to find one?’  The survey doesn’t name attorney rating services and from my informal survey, not that many lawyers have heard of Avvo, let alone consumers so I feel like the answers to this question are also hypothetical and not based on people’s experience of using online resources.

Referral model support with a Website

I have always encouraged attorneys to see their website as complimentary to referral marketing.  If someone refers a person to an attorney, its much better to have a website than not and it helps if the website makes the referral more comfortable with the attorney before engaging with them.

Court: Ex-Employee Can Blog About Employer

March 22, 2011

Add Cambridge Who’s Who Publishing Inc v Sethi to the growing list of decisions discussing the workplace policies and social media.  Here a New York State Court justice has ruled that an employee – even when governed by an employment contract to refrain from commenting negatively about the company and its products – has the right to alert the public about a possible data breach because it is a matter of public concern.

Here is a good summary of the case on its implications on employment law.

Twitter Settles Privacy Suit with FTC

March 21, 2011

The FTC has accepted the final settlement agreement with Twitter over its privacy lapses.  It appears the issue was that Twitter promised a higher level of privacy in terms of consumer’s personal data than they could deliver.

Here is the settlement agreement.


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