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    New York Times: A Legal Battle: Online Attitude vs. Rules of the Bar

    The New York Times has an interesting story about problems that can arise for attorneys who blog or post to social networking sites:

    Mr. Conway is hardly the only lawyer to have taken to online social media like Facebook, Twitter and blogs, but as officers of the court they face special risks. Their freedom to gripe is limited by codes of conduct.

    “When you become an officer of the court, you lose the full ability to criticize the court,” said Michael Downey, who teaches legal ethics at the Washington University law school.

    And with thousands of blogs and so many lawyers online, legal ethics experts say that collisions between the freewheeling ways of the Internet and the tight boundaries of legal discourse are inevitable — whether they result in damaged careers or simply raise eyebrows.  […]

    Of course, some lawyers’ online problems are the same as everyone else’s, like getting caught in a fib. Judge Susan Criss of the Texas District Court in Galveston recalled in an interview a young lawyer who requested a trial delay because of a death in the family. The judge granted the delay, but checked the lawyer’s Facebook page.

    “There was a funeral, but there wasn’t a lot of grief expressed online,” Judge Criss said. “All week long, as the week is going by, I can see that this lawyer is posting about partying. One night drinking wine, another night drinking mojitos, another day motorbiking.” At the end of the delay, the lawyer sought a second one; this time the judge declined, and disclosed her online research to a senior partner of the lawyer’s firm.

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