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Something for you Lawyers
Posted by: Dale Franks on Thursday, May 31, 2007

Recently, I posted two items about my jury duty service(Post 1, Post 2). Today, I received a call from a reporter at the Tampa Tribune who wanted to interview me for a story he's writing on bloggers doing jury duty.

In the course of the interview, his questioned raised a point in my mind I wanted to address.

During all the voir dire questioning I went through, not once did the judge or either of the attorneys every question any of the jurors about their internet usage, or blogs. In the modern day, though, all sorts of people have blogs, from full-scale poli-econo-culture-sci geeks like us, to twenty-somethings who chronicle their sad lives on MySpace.

This seems like something the legal community should look into more closely. My experience with lawyers, from working in the IT world, is that they aren't, as a group, the most net-savvy fellows. Sure, you've got Glenn, and Eugene, and their ilk, but my experience in actually going to law offices and trying to get stuff done doesn't make me think that working lawyers are, on the whole, plugged into the computer deal.

But I think, for basic standards of fairness, especially to criminal defendants, two things should be at least talked about: a) what are jurors writing on their blogs, and b) perhaps more importantly, what are they looking up on Google when they get home from a day in court?

So, I'm wondering, what are you lawyers doing to address questions like this? Or is it already adequately covered?
 
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The comment sections on blogs get slimey enough today. Do we really want to encourage lawyers to join in greater numbers?
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
I’m going to be on jury duty in mid-August. No wi-fi available, though...
 
Written By: Bryan Pick
URL: http://www.qando.net
Sure, you’ve got Glenn, and Eugene, and their ilk, ...
Ahem! Not even a mention! Man. [wondering what Wyatt Earp would do]
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
The comment sections on blogs get slimey enough today. Do we really want to encourage lawyers to join in greater numbers?
Yeah, cuz what you would you want with real answers to actual legal questions or anything? [/eyeroll]
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Here’s my brief take.

I’m a recent law school graduate (within the last 3 years), in a small law firm (just two of us) and my boss is about 53 or 54 and, in my opinion, an excellent lawyer. He is also, to be frank, a caveman in technology terms. For example, he still prints up emails so he can dictate a reply letter (instead of just, you know, hitting "reply"). I convinced him to buy a scanner and attempt to go paperless. It helped that one of his lawyer friends that was close to his age had already gone as paperless as can be and had a good experience.

For me, it just made sense that, in our time sensitive world, we’d want to be able to, for instance, email a draft of a Answer to a client so that they could review it and email it back, instead of waiting for snail mail to take it to them, soaking up valuable portions of our 20 days, or, to be able to sit at our desks and have the entire file (which could be several binders worth of paper) at our fingertips. It also is nice to be in a deposition and be able to use the search function to dig through the 1,500 pages of medical records. Once I showed him the wonders of Google, we’ve cut way down on tasks that we used to farm out and have to pay for (such as, find out if Defendant A and Defendant B ever got married, what was the climatological data on the day of the accident, what news stories have been written about our case so far, etc).

Sometimes we’ll be talking and I’ll tell him about a legal theory I’ve seen espoused recently on Volokh, or the review of a Supreme Court case at Bashman’s place or Jan Crawford Greenberg’s and he just looks at me funny for a second. I think it’s the word "blog." We don’t have all that many trials (or haven’t since I’ve been there) but I will absolutely ask jurors what their internet-related information gathering (and disseminating) habits are.

He didn’t complain though, when I sent him the link to Dale’s Perfectly Innocent advertising.
 
Written By: Jinnmabe
URL: http://
to twenty-somethings who chronicle their sad lives on MySpace.
Oh that’s it... I’m so writing a nasty LiveJournal post about you tonight when I get home... ;)
Yeah, cuz what you would you want with real answers to actual legal questions or anything? [/eyeroll]
Those would be great Michael...

But we don’t wanna get billed. :)
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Funny you should mention that: There was just a medical malpractice case settled in Massachusetts on plaintiff-generous terms b/c the defendant-doctor was discovered to have been blogging in very specific terms about the ongoing trial. Generally speaking, voir dire is very rough and only catches the most gross biases. Judges control the process for the most part and don’t like to take too much time or unnecessarily intrude on jurors’ privacy, though many let the lawyers ask questions, too.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
ooh i am too tired. The whole day at Court n dealing legal issues. I think i need some vacations. ummm i seriously need to think over that.
 
Written By: Ahsan Rahim
URL: http://www.efactusa.com/paperlessoffice
I can say that the attorneys in our firm are tech savy, and know how to use google. Beyond that, anything else I say might be disclosing a trade secret. Our methods are a distinct and obvious advantage, and often lead to amusing results. The example last week of the doctor’s blog coming up in court was not the first time that has happened — it was just the most dramatic result that I have heard of so far.
 
Written By: Phelps
URL: http://phelps.donotremove.net
Very interesting information! Thanks!
 
Written By: Nico
URL: http://www.google.com/
So interesting site, thanks!
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