Monthly Archives: January 2010

Ethical use of social media

An article in the February-March ABA Young Lawyers Division newsletter touted the benefits of social media (such as Facebook & Twitter) to  a law practice.   The author uses social media to enhance his practice and to stay connected with family and friends in spite of the demands of a busy legal practice.  The uses he mentions do not seem to raise any ethical red flags.  But he did not mention using social media to discover facts about people, such as opposing parties or witnesses.

A recent post on the RIPS (Research instruction and Patron Services) blog highlighted some of the ethical issues that might arise through the use of social media as fact-finding tools.  The post links to a Philadelphia Bar Association’s advisory opinion and several discussions of “how far a lawyer can go to access information found on social networking sites.”

On the other hand, the law might offer some desirable enhancements to social media.  For a look at what would happen if one of the most popular social networking sites added an essential legal research tool, go here: http://www.courtoons.net/index.php?s=Shepardizing.

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Keeping Up with the Statehouse

Two weekly resources for keeping up with issues addressed by the SC General Assembly this session are the SC Statehouse Report and the SC Bar’s Weekly Legislative Report. Every Friday, the SC Bar reports on legislation addressed and passed that week. The SC Statehouse Report includes commentary on political and policy issues, as well as political cartoons (check out the year in cartoons for 2009). You may subscribe to the SC Statehouse Report and have it delivered to your inbox every Friday. (Post-TC)

Top 20 Must See Legal Movies for Law Students

The Jurist has posted the Top 20 legal movies that ALL law students should see. Additionally, the legal wwebsite  has recommendations for other legal movies of interest to law students. Check it out you may be surprised about movies on the list. For your information here are the top 5.

1. To Kill a Mockingbird (1961)

2. 12 Angry Men (1957)

3.  Anatomy of a murder (1959)

4.  Kramer v. Kramer (1978)

5. Michael Clayton (2007)

To find out the rest go to The Jurist (click link)    (Post-DEL).

New “Twist” in the Law

The Social Security Administration Commissioner, Michael J. Astrue, and rock and roll legend Chubby Checker recently announced a new campaign to inform Americans about a new program to help seniors and disabled citizens who are struggling to pay for their prescription drugs. Check out the Extra Help program at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/prescriptionhelp/. Yes, there is a video! Also of interest is the About.com article on why it is easier to qualify in 2010.  (Post-TC)

LAW.GOV

Wouldn’t it be great if we had free access to all U.S. legislative, regulatory, and judicial resources?

Well, according to the new Law Librarian of Congress, Roberta I. Shaffer in her holiday letter:

“The Law Library is pursuing the registration of the ‘LAW.GOV’ domain where researchers throughout the world will be able to find authoritative local, state, national, foreign and international legal and legisla­tive information. The Law Library envisions hosting the site and collaborat­ing with federal agencies, state, local, and foreign national governments, and international organizations to maintain a ‘one-stop’ URL”.

For more information on the proposed repository of United States primary legal materials, visit http://resource.org/law.gov/. Of course, access is not complete without assurance that these materials are authentic. Visit the American Association of Law Libraries’ website to read about its authentication initiative. To view a digitally signed and certified document, browse the Public and Private Laws from the 110th Congress forward on the Government Printing Office’s website. (Post-TC)

The More Things Change. . .

. . .the more they stay the same. Privacy rights is a hot topic in the Internet Age, but the issues have been around for a long time. For example, back in 1976, a sports figure plaintiff sued a popular magazine for invasion of privacy. The defendant had reported activities from the plaintiff’s earlier years, including putting cigarettes out in his mouth, diving off stairs to impress women, eating insects, and hurting himself in order to collect unemployment and create free time for bodysurfing at the beach. The court found that the activities reported, “though generally unflattering and perhaps embarrassing, were simply not offensive to a degree of morbidity or sensationalism as would have precluded their publication in defendants’ magazine as newsworthy.” Check out Virgil v. Sports Illustrated, 424 F.Supp. 1286 (D.C.Cal. 1976). [Research hint: if searching online, use party names or reporter citation as your search query.]
(RKM)

New Session Begins

The 2nd session of South Carolina’s 118th General Assembly began on Tuesday. Legislators will be grappling with cutting the state’s budget, our unemployment woes, as well as the many new bills introduced. Interested citizens may track legislation, view House and Senate calendars, and access live broadcasts of debates, all from the SC Legislature Online’s home page. (Post-TC)

Blogging from the big house – Day 3

I’m sure you’re all waiting breathlessly to find out what happened on Day 3 of my jury duty.  Well, I’ll have to disappoint you.  There will be no Day 3.  When I called last night for instructions, I was told that we had been dismissed for the rest of the week.  So, jury duty is over.  We now resume our regularly scheduled programming.

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Blogging from the big house – Day 2

I was so close!  I reported to the jury assembly room at 9:00a this morning and settled in to wait.  I had things to work on, so time wasn’t being wasted.  [They have, by the way, stopped tuning the TV set to worthless reality shows.  Instead, they play movies, which are so much easier to ignore than people screaming at each other.]  About 10:00a, the deputy clerk called a group of jurors, including me, up to Courtroom 2B.  A jury was to be empanelled in a civil case (personal injury).  We responded to another round of questioning by the judge about (1) our knowledge of the plaintiff, the defendant, the lawyers, or  the witnesses; (2) involvement in any similar legal proceedings; and (3) any other biases that might prevent us from rendering a fair and impartial verdict.  The attorneys exercised their strikes.  Finally, the jurors were called.  I had my fingers crossed, but I didn’t get on.

Back to the waiting room.  About a half hour later, we were allowed to leave for the day, with a number to call at 5:00p for further instructions.

Day 2 over and not too bad.  I await Day 3.

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