Homework Assignment #9--SOCIAL MEDIA AND LAWYERING

PART 1

Find three examples of a lawyer or law firm using social media effectively – that is – it provides a service or information that could lead to someone seeking out this lawyer or their firm as a client. These could be blog posts, twitter tweets, podcasts, Facebook pages, etc. If you can link them, put the link into the homework wiki with a short explanation of why you think they are effective use of social media.

Example 1

3C Patent Law Blog--consistent stories and information about the application of IP law and IP law issues. Key issue is relevant materials and helpful information.

Example 2

Ride the Lightning--information security blog for lawyers. Important, relevant, and usually helpful information about trending issues on information security.

Example 3

Shear on Social Media Law--information about trending social media issues related to law.


PART 2

Find three examples of a lawyer or law firm’s poor use of social media. If you can link them, put the link into the homework wiki with a short explanation of why you think they are effective use of social media. If you cannot link to them (or are uncomfortable doing so in a public forum), then explain the usage generically and why you think it is a poor use of social media.

[Not comfortable providing links.]

Example 1

Almost anything on Facebook. For example, Like us on Facebook... "webpages" for law firms. The fatal flaw (in my opinion) ... "To connect with The ABC Law Firm, P.A. Page, sign up for Facebook today." Raises serious ethical issues due to inherent disclosure of attorney-client relationships.

Example 2

"Self-promotion" Twitter accounts. Some also disclose conversation threads. For example ... (redacted twitter feed)
Happy Halloween! Don't drink and drive tonight...If you are arrested call {REMOVED} at{TELEPHONE}.

Example 3

LinkedIn "specialties" trap--in Pennsylvania, the Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 7.4 prohibit specialties (except in very narrowly defined cases): "
"A lawyer shall not state that the lawyer is a specialist ... " The point here is not Pennsylvania specific but a larger issue with social media use that violates ethical rules--overinflating credentials, specialties, disclosure, misleading expectations, non-lawyer images and non-client images on blogs/social media, etc.

PART 3

Use some form of social media (blog, twitter, Facebook, etc, etc,) to make people aware of the archive of this (http://tdlp.classcaster.net) course or of a specific class in this course that people might want to watch OR avoid. Use the hashtag #tdlp (if appropriate) so that others in the class and myself can find your work. Optionally, put a link to your social media work in the homework wiki.

Placed mention and link to class content on my blog.

Homework Assignment #8--Unauthorized Practice of Law

1) Find the definition for unauthorized practice of law for your jurisdiction and at least one other state.

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania formally defines unauthorized practice of law by statute.

Unauthorized Practice of Law; Multijurisdictional Practice of Law.

Also see the penalties for unauthorized practice of law at 42 PA CS 2524

The Pennsylvania Bar Association provides a manual on Unauthorized Practice of Law. See Pennsylvania Bar Unauthorized Practice of Law, 5th Ed.

The Pennsylvania Bar Association (a voluntary bar thus simply persuasive) posted an Unauthorized Practice of Law (UPL) Committee Formal Opinion 2006-01 in 2006.

New Jersey

The Rules of Professional Conduct define Unauthorized Practice of Law. See Engaging in Unauthorized Practice.

Statute defines the penalties for Unauthorized Practice of law. See N.J.S. 2C:21-22.

2) Put links to these into your homework wiki page.

See above.

3) Find three news articles or blog posts on the web describing actual cases of unauthorized practice of law (and read them). Put links into the homework wiki. Look especially for situations where the unauthorized practice of law involved an online activity like a website, social network or email.


Seller of Online Legal Forms Settles Unauthorized Practice of Law Suit
Summarizes settlement by LegalZoom.

Computational Law Applications and the Unauthorized Practice of Law
CodeX blog raising the issue of unauthorized practice and emerging software.

Paralegal website results in unauthorized practice of law charges in Rhode Island
Article specifically citing web-based violations (albeit by paralegals).

Homework Assignment #7--Online Legal Forms

1) Write an analysis describing your impressions of how well the A2J interface works (or doesn’t) and how well it will work if it gets scaled up to larger and more complicated legal documents and situations.

Overall, the interface was frustrating with unexpected dead-ends, way too much text (in poor format for easy comprehension), and an unclear task path (leading to confusion). Too much screen real estate allocated to fluff--graphics with unclear purpose and little guidance.

Works:
Seems to get to the paperwork.

Scale Up:
The concern here is rote generation of paperwork without supporting understanding of the implications of some of the documents.
More complicated documents will exacerbate the context--too many decision trees and limits of completion.
Terminology may be unclear for some people.
People may confuse this with legal services.

2) More and more people are accessing the web via smartphones. How should A2J look or act different if it is going to run on the smaller screen of a smartphone? Are there any killer features that it should have? Are there any features, that if missing, would prevent people from using A2J as a smartphone app?

This is not reasonably amenable to "smart"phone porting 1) Limited mobile phone security (currently). 2) Even if complete the interview, how do you retrieve the documents securely? 3) Data breach liability--some interview questions may raise data-breach-protected information. 4) Decisions process too complex for limited smart phone deployment.





Homework Assignment #6--Contract Standardization

1. Find (at least) two EULAs from any website that has user contributed content (i.e. social networking sites, comments, upload pictures, etc.)

2. Find the clause(s) that talk about ownership/license/rights of the user-submitted content.

3. Copy the clauses (NOT the entire EULA) into the homework wiki and answer the following questions.

SLASHDOT.ORG


6. LICENSING AND OTHER TERMS APPLYING TO CONTENT POSTED ON THE Geeknet SITES:

Use, reproduction, modification, and other intellectual property rights to data stored on the Geeknet Sites will be subject to licensing arrangements that may be approved by Geeknet as applicable to such Content. With respect to text or data entered into and stored by publicly-accessible site features such as forums, comments and bug trackers ("Geeknet Public Content"), the submitting user retains ownership of such Geeknet Public Content; with respect to publicly-available statistical content which is generated by the site to monitor and display content activity, such content is owned by Geeknet. In each such case, the submitting user grants Geeknet the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive, transferable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, and display such Content (in whole or part) worldwide and/or to incorporate it in other works in any form, media, or technology now known or later developed, all subject to the terms of any applicable license.

(Also, SlashDot in its succinct manner, posts on the bottom of every page a simple summary--
"Comments owned by the poster.")

Meetup.com
4.3 License. We do not claim ownership of Your Information. We will use Your Information only in accordance with our privacy policy. However, to enable us to use your Public Information and to ensure we do not violate any rights you may have in your Public Information, you grant Meetup a non-exclusive, worldwide, perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free, sublicensable (through multiple tiers) right to exercise, commercialize and exploit the copyright, publicity, and database rights (but no other rights) you have in your Public Information, in any media now known or not currently known, with respect to your Public Information.

4. Are there similar components between the two (or more) clauses? How are they the same? How are they different?

Common Terms

--submitting user retains ownership
--social media sites need permission to use [for free]
--user grants blanket license

Differences

--SlashDot mentions statistical content
--Meetup mentions Privacy Policy condition.
--SlashDot distinguishes and provides more specific acknowledgement of latent tracking

5. Write a standard clause that uses the similar elements from the EULAs you analyzed. For areas that are dis-similar, include both options in parentheses.

(No ownership clause)
Site Owner does not own Content Generator's content.

(words of grant--parties)
Content Generator grants Site Owner

(type of license grant)
a royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive, transferable, [sublicensable] license to

(scope of use)
[commercialize and exploit the copyright, publicity, and database rights (but no other rights)] [publicly-available statistical content which is generated by the site to monitor and display content]
use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, and display such Content (in whole or part)]

(geographic scope of use)
worldwide and/or to incorporate it in other works in any form, media, or technology now known or later developed, all subject to the terms of any applicable license.

Homework Week 5--Free Legal Research--Pennsylvania

Find the web page for the government website that is the primary legal source in your state/jurisdiction for cases, codes/statutes and regulations.

Pennsylvania


Pennsylvania retains a Byzantine listing of statutes. (Starting in the early 1970s, Pennsylvania embarked on a statutory consolidation project--still largely unfinished.) Thus, locating Pennsylvania statutes can be challenging due to multiple sources.

Pennsylvania Statutes

"Consolidated" Statutes

http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/li/public/cons_index.cfm

"Unconsolidated" Statutes

http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/li/Public/ucons_index.cfm

Purdon's Pennsylvania Statutes (Unofficial)

http://government.westlaw.com/linkedslice/default.asp?SP=pac-1000

General listing of rules and regulations in the Commonwealth.

Pennsylvania Code

http://www.pacode.com/

To the best of my knowledge, no free, official, concise repository of case law exists in the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth makes more recent APPELLATE cases available via the Unified Judicial System.

Cases

See http://www.courts.state.pa.us/Opinions/Default.htm (incomplete--date limited and does not cover Court of Common Pleas decisions)
See also the county-specific web pages for each Court of Common Pleas (some post notable, trial case opinions).

Homework Week 4-- Unbundling Legal Services/Limited Scope Representation

(2012-03-02)

1. Define two (2) discrete tasks that could be "unbundled" from different areas of law practice.

-- Basic Life Circumstances Documents (such as Durable Power of Attorney, Will, Advance Medical Directive, etc.)
-- Basic Divorce Documents

2. Define a task that lends itself to being converted into a "digital application?" such as a website, smart phone app or downloadable program.

-- Non-commercial lease preparation

3. List some of the risks (at least three) involved in "unbundling legal services?"

-- Resistance/obstacles from "traditional" law community
-- Impracticality of securing informed consent (see one, recent perspective in Pennsylvania at Ethical Propriety of Limited Scope Representation 2011-100 Joint Ethics Opinion)
-- Commodification of legal advising--reinforces the view of lawyers as just a repository of the "secret documents"

4. Think of a "digital application" that could automate a legal task, AND bundled with legal advice to be sold for a fixed fee? (re-bundling concept). Describe it in your homework.

-- Basic criminal law plea dealing. Application defines charges, scope of penalties, and options. Negotiation online of plea deal--back and forth negotiation. Final deal summarized. Legal advising for the accused on options, implications, and scope of plea deal.

Homework Week 3--Technology & the Courts

(2012-02-24)

County Court--Lancaster County, Pennsylvania

See generally Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas Information at:
http://www.co.lancaster.pa.us/courts/cwp/view.asp?a=467&Q=262076&courtsNav=|

1. Does the court support efiling? If yes, what is the best URL?

Some. For Civil Cases see the Prothonotary's Office for efiling via LexisNexis:
http://www.co.lancaster.pa.us/lanco/cwp/view.asp?a=555&Q=262419
The direct link to "efiling" is:
http://www.lexisnexis.com/fileandserve/default.asp

2. Does the court support efiling for self-representing litigants?

Apparently, no (in civil cases).
The Court does maintain a "self-help center" both in person and online.
See http://www.co.lancaster.pa.us/prose/site/default.asp

3. Does the court website have an online docket or calendar? (if yes, include a link)

Yes. The Court Calendar available at:
http://www.co.lancaster.pa.us/courtcal/Public/CourtCalendar.aspx
See also the Master Calendar at:
http://www.co.lancaster.pa.us/courtcal/Public/MasterCalendar.aspx

4. Does the court website have any forms that can be used online or downloaded? (if yes, provide a link)

Civil Cases--Via Prothonotary's Office
See http://www.co.lancaster.pa.us/lanco/cwp/view.asp?A=555&Q=411533&lancoNav=|
Also see the various department specific sites such as
Also see the Magistrate Court information at:
http://www.courts.state.pa.us/Forms/Default.htm

State Court--Pennsylvania (Not really applicable)

Pennsylvania uses a consolidated Unified Court System. The "county court" is the state, Court of Common Pleas for the county. Other state courts primarily handle appellate cases--Superior Court, Commonwealth Court, and Supreme Court.

1. Does the court support efiling? If yes, what is the best URL?

NA (generally appellate courts)

2. Does the court support efiling for self-representing litigants?

NA (generally appellate courts)

3. Does the court website have an online docket or calendar? (if yes, include a link)

Appellate Court Calendars
Also see unified calendars at:
http://ujsportal.pacourts.us/RefDocuments/UJS%20Public%20Calendar%20Schedule.pdf

4. Does the court website have any forms that can be used online or downloaded? (if yes, provide a link)

The main link for the Unified Judiciary Forms is:
http://www.pacourts.us/Forms/Default.htm

Federal District Court--Federal Eastern District of Pennsylvania

Main website for the federal, Eastern District of Pennsylvania
http://www.paed.uscourts.gov/

1. Does the court support efiling? If yes, what is the best URL?

Yes. See the ECF via PACER main site at:
https://ecf.paed.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/ShowIndex.pl

2. Does the court support efiling for self-representing litigants?

Apparently, no. (The ECF forms imply attorney registration as does the instructions: "ECF allows attorneys
...[to manage files]."

3. Does the court website have an online docket or calendar? (if yes, include a link)

A login only site for Trial information (calendars) available at JUST-ASK:
http://www.paed.uscourts.gov/us01010a.asp

4. Does the court website have any forms that can be used online or downloaded? (if yes, provide a link)

Miscellaneous forms available at:
http://www.paed.uscourts.gov/us16000.asp

Also see the pro se (self-represented) forms at:
http://www.paed.uscourts.gov/us16001.asp

Homework Week 2--Document Automation

FIVE benefits/advantages to Document Automation

  1. Consistent document structures--minimizes errors and omissions
  2. Disciplined and replicable interview process--minimizes errors and omissions
  3. Data saved separate from "document"--potentially minimizes duplicative data entry
  4. Reduction in document preparation costs from automation
  5. Potential to share costs through open standards--common base systems for common tasks

FIVE pitfalls/problems/barriers to Document Automation

  1. Vendor lock-in and no [apparent] open data format (allowing data portability if the vendor goes belly-up, increases costs, or changes features)
  2. For cloud-based solutions, considering current legal ethics, SaaS-options potentially ethically unusable (depends on jurisdiction and competence of evaluating lawyer)
  3. Commodification of legal document preparation--challenge to distinguish "I can get the 'same' thing from Online-Do-It-Yourself-"Law" (not reality but hard to distinguish)
  4. For some lawyers, considerable set-up time and set-up complexity (and lawyers largely not ethically competent to oversee the process if done by others)
  5. Start-up costs can be significant--(cloud purports to overcome this issue [actually only defers or 'amortizes'] but see #3 above)

Two Document Automation Reviews

Orrick Founders Term Sheet

Provides a fairly basic interview process and basic document generation. The process assumes the user knows the terms and issues associated with target document. For the most part, the interview simply requested standard types of information. While some input validation occurred, illogical information was accepted--e.g., negative values. The Interview Outline was very helpful to go back and check answers or see if updates applied. Overall, an interesting, basic document generation form. The downside is the limited documents generated (that is, this really does not leverage the common interview data).

Technical

While the system worked in Firefox, the SilverLight development target may be risky. Technology industry commentary recently discussed the demise of SilverLight. While not likely to happen soon (or possibly even in the long term), proprietary, browser, plug-in dependent systems run risks of becoming out-dated or unsupported (as well as potentially opening security holes). Data download and upload did not work for me (although this feature is nice). Added points for saving the data in a fairly open XML format. The generated document uses RTF format and opened easily in OpenOffice/LibreOffice. The RTF format is a nice, compromise choice (because the formatting remains fairly consistent across most word processors), but the downside arises if you customize the output--re-generation will require re-formatting. Points also for using HTTPS encryption of the form input.

Goodwin

Provides a fairly basic interview process and basic document generation.Generated a wide variety of documents from a single dataset. The lack of an outline made navigating the form a little more difficult. Also, intentionally illogical information accepted (negative share allocations). But, some information validation did work (cannot vest more shares than allocated). Editing information did change the data output. Generation of stock certificate interesting. Number of generated documents impressive from single interview--and common dataset.

Technical
Saves the interview in fairly open XML format. Uses HTTPS encryption of the form input. Generated documents target Word 2007. While a common law firm format in the US, the output was marginally mis-formatted when opened in OpenOffice/LibreOffice. Some problems with re-loading the data file.


Homework Week 1--Virtual Law Office

Five Good Things About Running a Virtual Law Office

  1. Better meets the needs of increasingly diverse clients
  2. Ability to rapidly adapt and apply new technologies to optimize services
  3. Better work-life balance
  4. Environmental and sustainability benefits flowing from reduced commuting, maintaining a separate "office," etc.
  5. Built-in business continuity (in the event of disaster, firm easily adapts)

Five Things That Could Go Wrong Running a Virtual Law Practice

  1. Resistance from attorneys stuck in "antiquated that's not the way we (and thus you can't) do it" mode
  2. Isolation/introversion (overcome by planned outings and networking)
  3. Work/life separation issues (if working from home)
  4. Maintaining professional appearance
  5. Types of matters may be limited--seems better for transactional work.

Three Definitions of Virtual Law Office

Pennsylvania Bar Ethics Opinion 2010-200 (2010)

http://lawyersusaonline.com/blog/2010/10/04/pennsylvania-issues-ethics-opinion-on-virtual-law-office/
[A] virtual law office was described as “a law office that exists without a traditional physical counterpart, in which attorneys primarily or exclusively access client and other information online, and where most client communications are conducted electronically, e.g., by email, etc.” [Note: The official opinions are limited to PA Bar Members.]

NJ Notice to the Bar on "Bona Fide Office" Rule (March 2010)

http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/notices/2010/n100326a.pdf
A “virtual office” refers to a type of time-share arrangement whereby one leases the right to reserve space in an office building on an hourly or daily basis. Accordingly, an attorney’s use of a “virtual office” is by appointment only. The office building ordinarily has a receptionist with a list of all lessees who directs visitors to the appropriate room at the appointed time. Depending on the terms of the lease, the receptionist may also receive and forward mail addressed to lessees or receive and forward telephone calls to lessees.

Building a Virtual Law Firm Changes and Opportunities

http://apps.americanbar.org/lpm/lpt/articles/ftr01042.html
[A] law firm that: Has a stable core group of attorneys; Has established collaborative relationships with other, specialized law firms that possess expertise that’s occasionally needed; Is glued together with appropriate computer and telecommunications technology; and, Expands and reduces personnel as needed.


Unofficial Step-by-Step Instructions for Adding Your Name to the Alphabetical List


1) Go to http://tdlp.wikispaces.com/

2) The page lists the weekly assignments and the alphabetical list of students.

3) Near the top of the page--just below the page header that shows the CALI logo and green bar-- there is an EDIT button. The EDIT button is the means to add your name to the alphabetical list.

4) Click the EDIT button.

5) A simple web-based editor appears. You will notice the assignments listed. Scroll down until you get to the alphabetical student list.

6) Go to the LETTER corresponding to your last name.

7) Just below the LETTER, type your name.

8) THEN, in the editor (the greyish bar with B I U LINK FILE WIDGET etc. "buttons"), highlight your name and select the LINK button.

9) A new editor option pops up. The new editor option allows your to "activate" the LINK to your homework wiki page. The LINK TEXT should be your name.
The Wiki should be tdlp. The page will be created when you choose ADD LINK.

10) After selecting ADD LINK, you must then select SAVE from the original editing toolbar (the greyish bar with B I U LINK FILE WIDGET etc. "buttons"). That is, there are two steps--a) ADD LINK then b) SAVE the edited information.

11) Use the navigation bar on the RIGHT of the editor screen and click the WIKI HOME Link. Scroll down and your name and link should appear in the list. (If not, you might have forgotten to ADD LINK AND SAVE the edits. This is easy to do.)