Category Archives: Social Media

EDISCOVERY CALIFORNIA: FORMAL OPINION NO. 2016-196 – ATTORNEY BLOGGING

Disclaimer:  This is a State Bar of California Opinion, and I’m Vice-Chair of the Council of California State Bar Sections (CSBS).  I want to remind you, “This blog site is published by and reflects the personal views of Perry L. Segal, in his individual capacity.  Any views expressed herein have not been adopted by the State Bar of California’s Board of Trustees or overall membership, nor are they to be construed as representing the position of the State Bar of California.”

To put it simply, the premise of CAL 2016-196 is to address when:  1) A blog post becomes a “communication”, as defined under the RPC and the State Bar Act, and 2) If it is deemed a communication, is it “attorney advertising”?

First of all, what constitutes a blog (or, as I prefer to call legal blogs, a “blawg”)?  Hmmm.  Well, if you call it a blawg, that’s probably a big hint that it’ll be legal in nature, but that’s not really what I’m getting at here.  Are your scribbles on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram “blogging”, for the purposes of this opinion?

You bet (if those scribbles are legal in nature and/or purport to advertise your services).  You may not be aware of it, but products like Twitter are referred to as “micro-blogs”.

I think the continuing problem with a lot of these opinions is that they cause people to lose their minds worrying about them as if they’re something new.  The reality is, technically, a blog post is no different than if it were an article in a magazine that had a little blurb at the end that includes your contact information.  You’ll be subject to regulation for attorney advertising (California’s Rule of Professional Conduct, rule 1-400 – Advertising & Solicitation).

The real differences?

  • Someone has to subscribe to the magazine, receive it for free or pick it up in the dentist’s office office or a friend’s home.  However, if your blog is public, you need to understand, that means public; available to anyone, anywhere in the world at any time who has access to the internet.
  • The jurisdiction in which someone reads it may not authorize attorney blogging.

I bet many of you see where I’m going with the second point.  Could this trigger an accusation of improper advertising?  What about an in-depth article including opinion on a particular law?  Could that be unauthorized practice of law?

Yes and yes.  So what do you do?  For starters, click on the link above and read the opinion.  It’s only eight pages, and you’ll quickly see that a lot of it triggers opinions you’ve seen before, such as CAL 2012-186.  Two, disclaim, Disclaim, DISCLAIM.  Many a problem is eliminated if you simply inform your readers of your audience.

Of course, you can’t do that on Twitter.  So you might link to your disclaimer, or state briefly, “All opinions are my own.”

Oh, and there’s this last bugaboo:  You must be able to reproduce each and every post you’ve made for the past two years (while you’re gasping, keep in mind, it’s three years in New York).

Calbar CYLA Symposium – May 22, 2015 in L.A.

CYLA Skills 2015So…I'm a little out of order (not a great thing for a lawyer to say, is it?).  It means that I've already posted presentations in June but the CYLA Annual Practical Skills Training Symposium is held in the State Bar offices May 21st in San Francisco and May 22nd in Los Angeles.

Two important thing to know:  1) The programs are different each day, and 2) I'm presenting from 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. Friday, May 22nd on:

 

New Attorney Skills (Attorney Advertising) 

Ethical Attorney Advertisement and Marketing

"This course will discuss how to advertise your legal services on the Internet. Learn how to design and operate your website, correspond with clients or prospective clients online, and use social media to maximize your business objectives."

I'll also be sticking around from 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. for:

Networking Speed Mentoring

"Meet and greet seasoned legal practitioners."

I'm pretty sure "seasoned" is a euphemism for "old"…I'll pretend it means, "experienced".

I hope you can join us.

v-Discovery Insights: CYLA 10 Minute Mentor

CYLA 10MinuteMentorBetter later than never.  At last September's State Bar of California Annual Meeting in San Diego, I and about fourteen other experts recorded videos for the California Young Lawyers Association's kick-off of their "10 Minute Mentor" program.

That was the easy part.  Many of you may not know this, but the Bar is very strict about complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), so the videos couldn't be posted until subtitles were added.

Well…the time has come.  Check out my presentation, "Today's Technologies and Maintaining Client Confidences 101":

 

 

The “Exchange” 2015

TGCIJust a brief reminder that Today's General Counsel and Institute kicks off their multi-city stop of "The Exchange" – E-Discovery for the Corporate Market at The Bar Association of San Francisco, March 16-17, 2015.

I'm on the faculty and will be one of the moderators of session two Monday, March 16th at 10:15am:  "IG in the "eWorkplace Era and its Impact on eDiscovery".

As many of you know, I'm a big fan of this particular conference due to its round-table format where everyone is encouraged to participate.  Registration remains open, so it's not too late.  I've been provided a special code for my corporate and law firm readers only:

TGCICOMP

This is a vendor-sponsored event, so unfortunately, no outside vendors are allowed.

See you there!

Calbar Proposed Formal Opinion Interim No. 12-0006 (Attorney Blogging)

Emergency Humorous

 

The State Bar of California Proposed Formal Opinion Interim No. 12-0006 (Attorney Blogging) has been posted for public comment.  The comment period expires March 23rd, 2015 at 5pm.

PLEASE NOTE: Publication for public comment is not, and shall not be, construed as a recommendation or approval by the Board of Trustees of the materials published.

This P.R. Disaster? It’s a Sony!

SPE SHEFolks; it pains me to write about the nightmare going on at Sony Pictures Entertainment (aka SPE) right now.  Yours truly ran their email system in 1995/96.  I've often said how lucky I am that I managed huge corporate email systems before the advent of serious quantities of SPAM and when hacking didn't look at all like it does today.

I've been saying the same thing for years; "Assume that nothing you write is private".  This is just another example.  I also feel bad for Amy Pascal.  She was a prominent exec at Turner Broadcasting; my job prior to moving to SPE.  Are her words innappropriate?  Sure.  But if we're honest with ourselves, we know that we've all written the same snarky things – or thought about writing them!

What made me laugh most was seeing an on-air personality state that Sony was essentially a pariah due to these disclosed statements and that talent would flee to other studios.  Ri-i-i-ight!  Because execs aren't making the same 'private' comments at those other studios (insert rolling eyes here).  At least they were prior to this fiasco becoming public.

Methinks the right offers for the right amount of money will smooth over those hurt feelings.

CalBar LPMT Section Announces New App for Android & iOS!

LPMT App LinkedIn

Well, I've been working on this for two years, and today it's finally reality!  The new Android & iOS app from the State Bar of California Law Practice Management and Technology Section went live this morning.

Access our best publications, social media offerings and resources; all available under one roof for people on the go!  Best of all, you don’t have to be a member of the LPMT Section; the app is free to everyone.  It also makes a great companion to the upcoming annual meeting, because all of our presentations are pre-loaded on the calendar.

We hope you enjoy it!

Calbar Family Law Section Hosts Social Media Meet-Up at 86th Annual Meeting

CalBarAM13
The State Bar of California Family Law Section hosts a social media meet-up at #CalbarAM13!  It will be held at The Loft Bar & Bistro,
90 South 2nd Street, San Jose, CA on Thursday, October 10th at 6:00 PM. Socialize with the
California Young Lawyers Association, LPMT, Family Law, Business, IP, International
Law & more!

The official hash
tag for the event is: #InterSection.  See you there!