Wow. I cannot believe it is December already. It seems like just yesterday that we were launching our new magazine format- a hybrid online/print publication with 6 print issues and 12 online editions. This year has been full of changes for the Contra Costa Lawyer and I hope that you are enjoying the new and improved magazine. Brining the Contra Costa Lawyer fully into the Technology Age has been both exciting and challenging and it has been a privilege to do so. On behalf of the whole Editorial Board, we are very proud of the online format, the improved print issues and the overall content of the magazine.
We thought that a fitting way to wrap up a year in which we, at the Contra Costa Lawyer, embraced technology and moved our content online would be to explore the legal issues raised by that same technology- in particular the implications of our expanding use of social media. The internet is changing the way we live our lives – and not just during work hours. It has revolutionized the way people communicate with each other.
Facebook, in particular, has opened up the daily details of our lives to anyone we have “friended”- and in the process, it has changed the meaning of the world “friend.” A “friend” used to be someone you trusted and knew well. Online, however, a “friend” could be just about anyone- someone you met at a professional conference, someone whose children attend the same school as yours or someone you just met and barely know. Unless you have tightly controlled privacy settings, everything you post online is seen by people you know well and people you barely know- and sometimes by people you don’t know at all. As we continue to broadcast everything about ourselves, our sense of what is “private” is changing. Will this change our legal “expectation of privacy”? We put the question to you this month – click on “Coffee Talk” to find out what people had to say!
When using social media, lawyers need to take special care not to run afoul of their ethical obligations. In her MCLE Self-Study article, Carol Langford explores some of the ethical implications for lawyers when using Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. What can you do? What can’t you do? What should you NEVER do! A lot of it comes down to common sense and remember always to “Think before you Tweet!”
Karen Fleming-Ginn, Ph.D. takes a closer look at the “Internet Juror” and the ways that social media is changing our judicial system. Specifically, how jurors’ use of social media- tweeting during trial, googling the parties, using the internet to research issues pertinent to the case- is changing the way our judicial system is working.
In her article “Discovery of Social Media – the Treasure Hunt”, Audrey Gee evaluates social media as a discovery tool, while Myra Santos looks at the amount of personal information that we leave behind, sometimes willingly via Facebook and sometimes not so willingly via files we thought were deleted. She also explores how we, as legal professionals, can find that information and utilize it for our clients (or how it can be utilized against our clients).
The Internet and social media particularly, provides a myriad of opportunities for marketing – and a host of possible pitfalls as well. Richard Korb explores these in his article, “Legal Issues When Marketing Your Business on the Internet” while Rocky Laber offers blogging strategies for lawyers. Finally, we are also featuring an article by SEO-guru Ken Matejka who offers tips on how to improve search engine rankings, tailored to solos and small law firms.
We hope you enjoy this issue of the Contra Costa Lawyer and, on behalf of the Editorial Board, Happy Holidays!
Filed Under: Inside