Category Archives: Law of Lawyering

Cross-post: Social media rules applying to lawyers and judges

I wrote a post over on SCOTXblog titled “Judges friending lawyers on Facebook and social media: Florida’s clumsy overreaction.”

Lawyers are regulated by their local state bars, which impose ethical rules that are often formulated by committees.  That’s one reason the profession is so resistant to changes brought on my technology — the ethical rules are rooted in very traditional notions of how lawyers and clients should interact.

The Florida decision is technologically wrong about how social networks operate.  But, more importantly, it also exhibits a certain tone-deafness about what words like “friend” even mean online.

My recommendation is that legal ethicists steer away from crafting special “internet rules” for lawyers.  Ethics operate at a human level, not a technological one, and there is just too much danger of clumsy “internet rules” hurting both lawyers and clients by keeping lawyers confined to the yellow pages while purveyors of packaged pseudo-legal services dominate online.

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Filed under Law of Lawyering

Cross-post: Who owns your legal briefs?

Cross-post from SCOTXblog: “Who owns your appellate briefs?”.

There are some deep copyright questions with legal briefs. They are expensive and time-consuming to prepare, and they are (ideally) quite expressive. But, at the same time, they are filed as part of a lawsuit.

The online publishers (West, Lexis) scan copies of these briefs and then charge people for access to these briefs.

Does that cross the line from defensible fair use to copyright infringement? How is that different than Google scanning a book and reselling it, as if the scan is a new work?

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Filed under Copyright, Law of Lawyering, Legal Technology