A few months ago, I posted a warning to lawyers about emailing clients at work. My concern was based in large part on a NJ district court decision that found an employee had waived the attorney-client privilege for emails that she sent to her attorney while using her work computer. Although the emails had been sent using a Yahoo! account, the employer found images of the emails on the employee’s hard drive.
There is a good deal of postulating in the blogosphere about the types of ethical trouble a lawyer can get into by using social media. The nattering nabobs of negativism warn us to be careful when using social media like Facebook or Twitter, lest we unwittingly disclose client confidences, improperly solicit new clients, or misrepresent facts or law.
It is probably fair to say that most lawyers have grown accustomed to the convenience of emailing clients. Less disruptive than phone calls, more efficient, creates documentation of conversations—hard to believe anyone could ever practice law without email. From an ethics perspective…
To my own surprise, I’ve been using Twitter lately (“tweeting,” for those in the know). I say surprise because I really still don’t understand what all the fuss is about. But there’s an awful lot of fuss and I hate to be the last one to show up at a party. Since Sam encouraged people last week to use Twitter, I thought I’d share how I’m using Twitter so that maybe others will be persuaded to give it a try as well.
I’ll confess, I’m a threader. I have my mail program set so that when I respond to an e-mail, the previous posts become part of the new message. That way, after multiple exchanges with one person, I can keep just the most recent e-mail and delete all the earlier messages, leaving the entire thread intact in just one message.
Like you, I get many solicitations to join bar associations and sections and attend CLE seminars. County bar, state bar, ABA – one could easily make a full-time job out of bar activities. Now I’ve learned that there is a bar association that exists almost entirely in cyberspace: the Second Life Bar Association.
Second Life, as more thoroughly described in a California Lawyer article, is a virtual world (some would call it a game) in which you create an “avatar” for yourself with a unique name and looks you design and venture forth to chat with others, play games, create and sell virtual products, and heavens knows what else.
You see them everywhere: heads bowed, thumbs flying, oblivious to the things they’re about to walk into. They’re people texting friends and family on their cell phones, the communication method du jour, favored by the under-30 set (although the rest of us are not immune).