Social Media and Pitfalls for Attorneys

ABA Rules of Professional Conduct was amended in August 2012 to include a technology competency requirement (comment 8 to Rule 1.1). Up till now, that amendment for a duty of technology competency has been adopted by 14 states. But how to measure attorney’s technology competency and ensure that they have the technology competency? No exclusive lists of technology competency exist. But generally, the following knowledge lays down the baseline for technology competency:

1. Know how different social media sites work, at the minimum, facebook and tweet and of course there are others, such as Instagram. The security settings on those apps in your phones so you do not share with the whole world the confidential information about your client.
2.Social media knows no privacy, so act like a lawyer. And avoid behaviors that could be perceived as communicating or influencing judges, witnesses and other officials.
3. When providing legal advice, stick to general statement and not offer specific advice to avoid the forming of attorney-client information.
4.Watch out for the taboo words in advertising in social media, such as specialties when you are not specially certified.

The pitfalls exist for social media because attorneys think they can control the two lives, one public and one private, but most times they can not because the mobile technology is developing rapidly. The borders are merging between different ways of communications.


Surface 3 Pro and then Surface Hub

I am recommending our faculty members to buy Surface 3 Pro for their work on the go. This device, coupled with the Office 365, can be a powerful duo for people who mostly use emails and Word. When they work in their office, they can use their desktop machine which also uses Office 365, so files can be synced across multiple devices.

The one device I think is really appealing is the 84″ Surface Hub. That can really brighten up a presentation, but at hefty price tag of $20,000.


Technology Training for Lawyers

Continue the threat I started yesterday about lawyer’s technology competency level. Today I read the Florida Bar’s Vision 2016 and it touches on whether the bar should add technology CLE in the required CLE hours. In Minnesota, we do not have technology CLE requirement, but we have the hours for law office management.

It is hard to imagine that a lawyer can function well without knowing technology and nobody has any disagreement to that argument. The difference comes in at what level of competency should a lawyer be expected to operate? More specifically, should the technology training purely on technology skills or should it be integrated with specific tasks to be performed, for instance, how do you efile? And then teach the other skills along in the process of efile, such as file conversion, meta data and even PDF editing. The term that Vision 2016 used is technology competency in your practice area, which denotes that a lawyer can have different levels of competency, in some areas more and in other practice area, less.

I am firmly in this later camp. Law students already have many courses to take during their legal study and a course on pure technology might not do them much justice, let alone whether they will retain the skills they learn in the class. In addition, technology changes rapidly. What they learn in class might become obsolete soon.

But then technology can not really be taught the way we teach law students to think like a lawyer using cases from last century. Technology is skills-specific and tied to certain programs now in existence and are being used. You either know how to program in C++ or Java or you do not. Lots of law schools are now offering technology courses. At the recent and ongoing CALI conference at Denver, a session will offer a tool kit to show and teach you that you can teach technology at your law school. I am anxious to get my hand on the tool kit.


Lawyer’s Technology Competency and Ethical Duties

With mobile technology and social media an every day use, does a lawyer have an ethical duty to search on the internet to find out if potential jurors or seating jurors have committed a fraudulent act or dishonest act? ABA Model Rules of Professional Responsibility Rule 1.1 Comment 8 says that for lawyers to be competent, he/she should keep abreast of current technology which includes its risks and benefits. We often hear or read articles on how lawyers can follow potential jurors on social media and what is ethical and what is unethical in following the potential or seating jurors but very few have pointed out if lawyers should affirmatively look the jurors up. Is it required that lawyers should look the jurors up or research the jurors on internet? When searching the internet is so commonplace and does not require much of technology savvy, can it still be said that failure to search online will constitute lack of technological competence?

For the boundaries of how to follow potential jurors on social media, check out this formal opinion.


Transfer Files between Mac and iPhone

Many options exist to transfer files between a Macbook and iPhone. For instance, you can use EverNote. But today I want to talk about the AirDrop feature that is available on MacBook and iPhone. And use the feature to transfer files is so easy. The steps:
1. On MacBook, open Finder and on the panel on the left, click on the AirDrop Icon, which is the 3/4 lined circle.
2. On the bottom, choose seen by everyone or only people in your contact.
3. Then on the iPhone, swipe up the Control Center, the screen you can bring up by swiping upward at the home screen.
3. Touch the same icon and choose the same option, such as seen by everyone or only people in your contact.
4. Now go back to your MacBook. You will see your iPhone icon appear in that AirDrop space. To drop files into your iPhone, just drag the file and drop into that iPhone Icon, and then drop.
5. You will see the message changes to waiting…
6. On the iPhone, accept the drop and choose a program to accept the file.

That is it.


PC keyboard will sport a home screen like button on the phone

For mobile phones we have grown used to press the round home button to open and close a program, like that on iPhone. Now PC makers are making the move to add a key like that on the keyboard. That key is called Cortana. This will be the first change since the keyboard was introduced at about the time Windows 95 was introduced. It is a step closer to make the PC really function like the mobile devices. Toshiba is reported to build the first Cortana button into its Windows 10 laptops. I have not seen one yet, but will look those buttons up in stores to have a feel for it.


Legal Technology Skills Audit

Lawyers not only need to know the law, but also need to be tech savy nowadays to do the job well. Here is a site that can test the level of legal technology you possess. Even if you do not pass the test, you will sure learn abundantly about how to use the features in Word to draft documents.


Useful and handy tips on creating PDF bookmarks, saving Word document with bookmarks

Creating a bookmark in PDF document is very easy: you highlight the words you want to make into bookmark, and then click on the plus sign in the navigation panel to create new bookmark. Presto! You have a bookmark without typing any letters.

But we often encounter a situation where we already have a Word Document and better, we have a table of contents, question is: how can we save the word document with the bookmarks converted automatically? It is also easy, provided that the headings are already in place to create the table of contents.
1. Choose the save as PDF option;
2. Under Options, choose save headings as books marks.

To make sure that when readers click on the PDF file uploaded onto the web, the navigation panel opens with the bookmarks panel, follow the steps:
1. in PDF, click File
2. Properties;
3. Under initial view, choose navigation and page panel.

That is it.