Monthly Archives: February 2011

Digital Sequestration?

My name is Jason and I am a geek.  I am not ashamed to admit that I love watching how technology has reshaped society and the practice of law over the last decade. There was a time – not too long ago – when many lawyers swore they would never use email, and now email has become a requirement for attorneys.[1]

The intersection of law and technology has not been without its fender-benders, however. The right to a fair trial as guaranteed by our Sixth Amendment is now under electronic attack by blogging, tweeting, and Facebooking jurors. As Egypt and Tunisia (and soon Bahrain), the Internet and social media make it hard to contain information – the very thing that a fair trial is predicated upon.

I have been commenting on this subject for over a year now and soon the Barry Bonds perjury trial will greatly test this.  How can juror #7 restrain himself from tweeting to all his buddies what his one-time boyhood idol is now getting fried on the stand?

I have also been racking my brain to try and figure out a solution.  I personally don’t feel that jury instructions prohibiting use of social media by jurors go far enough. One interesting idea that was brought up by Ben Buchwalter in the Legal Blogging group on LinkedIn: Digital Sequestration. Or more succinctly stated: Do Juries Need ‘Digital Sequestration’ to Remain Impartial?

What do you think? Should we now put an electronic moratorium on jurors in high profile cases? Will this contain information and protect the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee of a right to fair trial? Or does this go too far and unnecessarily restrict juror’s personal liberties?

[1] See Not Checking E-Mail Costs Attorney the Right to Arbitrate.

Renovating & Reinventing Our Law Library

I had the pleasure of attending a great fundraiser last night for a great cause – the San Diego County Public Law Library ‘Empty House’ party. You may have seen some of the tweets and Facebook posts this week.

There was great live blues music, a flash mob, silent auction, gambling, and excellent gourmet cuisine – definitely something for everybody. And the best part is that it helps out with the $3.2 million renovation of the San Diego County Public Law Library. Please take a look at the SDCPLL blog for more information and pictures from last night’s party.

In a very short period of time, John Adkins has infused an incredible amount of energy and experience into his position as the new Director of the SDCPLL. John has done an incredible job — as I knew he would — he also served at the Director when I attended USD School of Law.

The vision is to transform the library into a state-of-the art center for legal information, and serve as a resource for both the general public and legal community. The public will be able to learn about the law and solve problems. For the legal community, it will offer judges, attorneys, and legal advocates the ability to learn, train, and experiment with new and better ways of assisting others.

I am also very proud to say that we also donated a 1-year unlimited subscription and free courses in the gift bags. I look forward to following the renovation, and I can’t wait until it’s all done!

Here are a few more links:

Pictures from the event

Live Web Cam#1

Live Web Cam #2

Past law library event

San Diego Law Library Renovation

Yes Kenny, Millions are in an Uproar …

Ahhhh social media …. I love how it keeps things interesting. Tweets, blogs and Facebook posts – I usually don’t have trouble thinking up topics or sharing great information.  It’s a big Web – there’s a lot out there.  However, I usually try to avoid controversial topics.

Not Kenneth Cole, however, who decided to use the recent civil unrest in Egypt to sell their new Spring collection:

Nothing like using civil unrest, riots, and death to sell over-priced cotton.  I would imagine that the genius who thought of that tweet would be looking for a new job right now.  You would think that Derek Zoolander came up with that one!

As Tim Baran aptly pointed out yesterday, it’s no wonder that law firms may be hesitant to adopt social media – they may be very wary of gaffes such as this. I guess the lesson in all this is be careful what you say online – people are watching and listening. As soon as you make that one little screw up, it can be greatly magnified thorugh the channels of cyberspace and the world wide web.

That little RT goes a long way, watch what you tweet!

Here are the 6 rules of Twitter from Katherine Noyes:[1]

1. Be Sensitive. Never, ever use a political, environmental or civic crisis to promote your company or your products. It reeks of opportunism.

2. Be Positive. As a business entity, you should never post negative comments about others on Twitter. You’re the only one that will end up looking bad.

3. Be Clear. Make sure you have a policy regarding who in your company may post using the company’s official Twitter account, and make sure you offer them training on what is and isn’t appropriate. Make clear the ramifications for misuse.

4. Be Clean. Never use profanities or other vulgar terms in a tweet. Once again, it will only make you look bad, and you’ll likely offend customers, too.

5. Be Literate. Don’t follow in the footsteps of Sarah Palin or George W. Bush: Make sure it’s a word before you make it public.

6. Be Careful. Last but definitely not least, remember that using social media is a little bit like driving. Don’t do it while intoxicated, and always think twice before you tweet.

If you are going to try and be witty about civil unrest just leave it out of your marketing campaign. This was a pretty funny tweet I saw floating around yesterday:

Best quote/tweet of the day:

Hey Hosni, denial’s not just a river in Egypt!

For further analysis please visit:

How Not to Use Twitter: Learn from Kenneth Cole

A Comprehensive Analysis Of The Kenneth Cole Twitter Disaster

Kenneth Cole’s #Cairo Tweet Angers the Internet

Kenneth Cole Tweet Uses #Cairo To Promote Spring Collection

[1] How Not to Use Twitter: Learn from Kenneth Cole