Archive for January, 2010

Assisting jurors to NOT tweet about their trial

January 31, 2010

This article examines how judges are adapting to the threat of jurors use of Twitter, Facebook and the like.  Dallas judges say they include the prohibition against the use of social networking in their instructions but one expert doesn’t think that’s enough.  Eric Robinson, an attorney specializing in this area, says that jurors need to understand the rationale behind the prohibition so they get it. 

I agree.  Perhaps examples of the problems and the consequences would help drive the point home.

British criminals & Facebook

January 31, 2010

Earlier I posted about the escaped criminal who taunted police on Facebook and eventually got caught.  Now an incarcerated prisoner has broadcasted creepy threats via Facebook.  It appears his Facebook account has been terminated since then but it does seem like the English criminal has a social networking edge on his/her American cousins.

Dangers of stock photos on your website

January 30, 2010

Here is a post from “Above the Law” discussing the use of stock photos for a criminal defense firm with a sexual crimes practice groups.  As you quickly see, the photos are disturbing because they focus on the pain of the victims when the law firm is seeking to represent the accused perpetrators.

But the bigger problem is the use of stock photos on law firm websites.  A law firm provides specific kinds of legal representation and establishes personal relationships with its clients to do that.  Law firms aren’t providing boilerplate tax preparation or weight-loss programs.  If you are a personal injury firm and show a stock photo of an ambulance, crashed car, sad victims, a wheelchair it give your website a generic look and communicates to clients that your firm provides a cookie-cutter approach to legal representation.  That isn’t the message you want to convey.

Does Facebook comply with itself?

January 29, 2010

At yesterday’s FTC Privacy Roundtable  held at UC Berkeley Boalt Hall, FTC Commissioner, Pamela Jones Harbour, disagreed with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s recent claim that people were much more willing to give up their privacy in exchange for Internet goodies.   In this SF Chronicle article, Tim Sparapani, director of public policy at Facebook, thought that its important to give users clear information and leave privacy decisions up to them. 

This sounds good but I don’t think  that the information Facebook provided about how the company uses people’s personal identification information qualified as clear.

Friday Freebie: Anti-virus software

January 29, 2010

“Online Armor ++ Defeats Threats That Antivirus Apps Miss!

Have you got a virus?

If you ever scanned your PC and find a virus you should asked yourself these three questions”

Link here:

Canada on a Facebook rampage

January 28, 2010

I’m overstating things a wee bit but Canada’s privacy commission is investigating a complaint against Facebook’s changes in privacy settings.  This is the second time this year Canada has gone after the social networking giant.

Law firm mailers – avoid plastic grenades

January 28, 2010

John Browning posts in “Dallas Blog” about Quinn Emmanuel’s mailer introducing the firm to Silicon Valley tech companies in the shape of a plastic grenade.  Unfortunately, many recipients didn’t get the “plastic” part and reported the suspicious items to authorities.  Not quite what the law firm had in mind.

This reminded me of a mailer a law firm developed in the shape of a mountain peak that folded into a long, unusually shaped envelope.  Nothing wrong with that.  This was a flyer that was to stand out and get the law firm much needed attention.  Yes, the envelope size upped the postage and required extra costs but that’s part of the cost of getting more visible.  

The problem was no one looked at the mailing list before sending it out.  Firm personnel received the flyer at their office address, or at their homes, it went to their ex-wives, to competitors, to defunct companies, and finally to folks the postal service couldn’t find.  The firm had sent out thousands of these envelopes and sadly many of these envelopes were returned.  Because of their shape, it was highly visible to everyone that someone had spent a lot of money designing and mailing these flyers and as the stacks accumulated in the mail room and in the marketing center it became equally clear that no one had thought about who would receive these expensive introductions to the firm. 

Lesson?  Think about your mailing list first.

Employees need to look good on Facebook too

January 27, 2010

I’ve been monitoring articles on creating social networking policies in the workplace which often include multiple sections about appropriate employee behavior but these policies skimp on training and never point out an obvious fact: it’s in employees best interest to behave on their social networking sites in order to impress their next potential employer.

This article talks about using social networking for job-hunting and ends with this important statement:
“Google your own name,” she said, “and see what comes up.”
By doing this, you will see exactly what a hiring manager will see.

Florida law firm website gets the UK treatment

January 26, 2010

Recently I’ve heard a couple stories about lawyers who think they should just grab copy from a competitor’s website and post it to their own site.  Not only is this illegal, its stupid from a marketing sense.  You need to convey to potential clients what makes you stand out,  not what makes you the same as your competitors.

But this story is completely a different animal.  A Florida personal injury attorney did a Google search on his firm’s website and pulled up a British law firm website which was identical except for swapping out dollars for pounds and the Florida address for a British one.  The Florida firm is suing and the unknown duplicater.

PR disaster for landlord in Twitter case?

January 26, 2010

Pam Baker on her blog, “Internet Evolution” argues that Horizon Group Management blew it by filing suit against the tenant who tweeted about mold in her apartment.  As this blog post suggests and the several others I’ve devoted to this issue, Horizon managed to disseminate the news that it sued a tenant living in one of its moldy apartment far beyond the courthouse steps.  Even had the landlord won this battle, it lost the war.