Friday, September 14, 2012

Judge Gayles Just "Unfriended" Me!

Was anyone practicing when "faxes" came along?

I remember lengthy discussions, ethics opinions, and substantial research devoted to what the appropriate disclaimer a law firm should place along the bottom half of the fax cover sheet.

This was the result of uncertainty over how documents that used to be mailed can be magically transported through telephone lines to be reassembled at the other end by bulky, loud perforated-sheet fax monstrosities.  What if an important document is sent to the wrong number?

Same with email -- are they privileged if faceless "servers" have access to your content while assembling and reassembling data packet transmissions to your client?  How detailed should my disclaimer be?

We face that same fear of technology in this 4th DCA opinion regarding being "Facebook friends" with a presiding judge:
Further, the Committee concluded that when a judge lists a lawyer who appears before him as a “friend” on his social networking page this “reasonably conveys to others the impression that these lawyer ‘friends’ are in a special position to influence the judge.”

That's right -- for example, I'm "friends" with both President Obama and Tim Gunn so I can reasonably expect these guys to do me a solid from time to time.

I don't necessarily blame the 4th here -- they were working off of a 2009 ethics advisory opinion and felt constrained to adopt that reasoning.


In interweb years that is ancient history -- it's like three Friendsters ago!


Alan Edmunds said...

I try and stay away from Facebook. Having my information out there seems just like an issue to cause this kind of scrutiny.

Anonymous said...

I am 100% with the 4th on this

Anonymous said...

Which suggests a greater special relationship: being FB friends or hosting a fundraiser or lunching twice weekly at Loggia?

Anonymous said...


Godwhacker said...

As an immortal, my first text messages were smoke signal. Try to get a disclaimer in one of those. Even harder if it's 420.