Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Reading Tea Leaves Becomes “Lawyers Get Social”

June 4, 2011

I will no longer be updating Reading Tea Leaves and soon there will be a re-direct to “LawyersGetSocial”.

The purpose of the change is to reflect the change in the emphasis of what I am blogging about and also to further brand “DSD Law Site Solutions” as a “go to” resource for issues that attorneys face with marketing online with websites, blogs, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the like.

So from now on go to:

Lawyers Get Social

CA Social Media Privacy Bill Fails

May 28, 2011

This article explains that SB 242 deadlocked in the California Senate with a vote of 16-16.  There was a big push by Google, Facebook and others in the emerging social networking industry lobby who were successful in killing the bill that would have made it harder for these companies to collect and retain all the personally identifiable information they use to build their successful ad businesses.

There was no mention in the article about the Federal efforts and the fact that they could preempt this California level effort from the get go.

More NLRB Facebook News

May 27, 2011

Yesterday I posted about how Jessica Braverman is doubtful about the NLRB’s aggressive stance regarding private employers ability to fire workers for what they say about the workplace on Facebook.  She is particularly doubtful about how this will play out in California.  So far, she has been right as the latest complaint the NLRB filed concerned a BMW dealership and their sales team in Chicago.

But Are Private Employers Treated Differently than those with Union Workers?

It doesn’t look like it as these employees were commissioned sales professionals.  The more interesting question to me is where the line is in terms of disparaging your employer versus discussing working terms and conditions.  For example, if employees go to Facebook and complain about personal aspects of their boss – that he is fat or ugly or never laughs, that probably won’t qualify as discussing working terms and conditions but the worker add that he never smiles or says anything nice, that could be creating a hostile working environment.  This seems like a slippery slope and what if the intent of the workers is clearly to complain but they include issues that impact the workplace – is that enough to trigger Section 7?

Google Search Algorithm – Quality 1st

May 8, 2011

Since the beginning of the commercial Internet, businesses have been looking to push their way to the top of search rankings.  Over the years there have been many trends and most of them involve “gaming” the system.  Initially, Google’s approach was to reward quality sites – those that people returned to again and again as witnesses by linking to those sites.  However, businesses focused on secretive ways to game Google and Google doesn’t like that.

This post to their official webmaster site lists out what they want to promote in high ranking websites.  Quality is number one and rather than paying lots of money to create link farms or generate lots of dubious content, here are some things Google will be looking for in ranking your website:

  • Authority of Author
  • Are these topics of Interest or Driven by Keyword Popularity?
  • Quality of Copyediting
  • Originality of the Content
  • Is the Content Substantial or Superficial?

Social Media Conflicts at the Workplace

April 24, 2011

When is it okay for employees to take to Facebook and the like to complain about their workplace and isn’t it?  This isn’t an easy question to answer though more clarity should be coming down the road.  Here is a good article that does a good job of laying out the issues .

Why Your Company Should Have a Social Media Policy

Checkout this program which I will presenting on along with Jessica Braverman an employment attorney.  We will be addressing these issues in greater detail this Thursday, April 28th at Jack London Square in Oakland.

Jurors Asked about Facebook Friends

April 14, 2011

According to this article, in a West Virginia case a juror had befriended the defendant  only through but that connection resulted in the case being overturned.  As a result jurors in another high profile West Virginia case are being asked whether they are “friends” with the defendant on Facebook or other social networking websites.

Is that Enough?

There is a slippery slope here as there are all kinds of ways people could be “connected” on the Internet.  They could be friends of a third party.  They could have both commented on a blog and even referenced each other with their comments.  For purposes of serving on a jury, what is the minimum connection to constitute an online relationship?

NY Bar Leads Way With Law Industry Report

April 12, 2011

This report entitled, “Report of the Task Force on the Future of the Legal Profession” covers a wide range of topics in its 100 plus pages including, alternative billing, structure of law firms, legal technology, work life balance and more.

Acceptance of Social Media and Online Visibility

This is the section that most interested me and the report strikes a balance between the reality of lawyer websites, online visibility and social networking use with clients and prospective clients on one side and the need for thoughtful, ethical use on the other.  The task force suggest the Bar association continue to study social media and come up with recommendations for attorneys in this arena.

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?

Managing Your Reputation Online – Unavoidable

March 19, 2011

Carolyn Elefant, who writes the Nolo’s Legal Marketing blog has an excellent post on how attorneys can handle negative posts on Avvo, Yelp etc.  She points out the need to respond publicly but not defensively to criticism.  Carolyn reassures attorneys that negative criticism is not the norm, only 17% of Yelp ratings are one or two stars. She also makes the point that there is no point in attempting to bury your head in the sand.  If you are practicing law, you are subject to online criticism whether or not you are active online.

Additional Steps

  • I would add to her suggestions by encouraging attorneys to utilize social networking and providing content either from their website or blog and disseminate through LinkedIn, Twitter and the like because that give you control of your message and will help drown out the negative comments on Yelp etc.
  • Also, I would recommend setting up a Google alert on your name and law firm.  That way anytime your name or firm name are mentioned, you will know and then you can craft your response.
  • Finally, if the criticism is downright abusive most of these sites allow you to report the abuse and you should do so.

LinkedIn as Attorney Profile of Record

March 13, 2011

Kevin O’Keefe makes the point that LinkedIn has surpassed Martindale as the “profile of record” for attorneys.  He points out the benefits of using Linkedin to connect to the folks you want as clients or referral partners.

LinkedIn Upgrades

I do think that LinkedIn could improve what it provides for attorneys to avoid ethics issues.

  • Allow “specialties” to be a changeable text field so attorneys can mention their practice areas without worrying that what they say conflicts with state bar rules about legal certification
  • Allow for inclusion of notice and disclaimer fields so that attorneys can state at the bottom of their profile page that this is an advertisement if required to do so by their state bar association
  • Allow for contacts to be viewable by their network on an individual rather global basis