Daniel Schwartz at the Connecticut Employment Law Blog writes about whether or not employment lawyers who advise their clients on social networking policies need to use social networking. I’ve writing on this topic before, but as the Internet becomes more and more dominate in everyday life, Daniel prompted me to revisit the issue.
While I do not think lawyers need to be IT experts, we all should have a working knowledge of technology, the Internet, social networking sites, and new developing technologies. Technology and the law are becoming so intertwined that I imagine that this will be a component of the MCLE requirement for lawyers within the next 10 years.
Lawyers need to have a working knowledge of technology for a number of reasons. First, IT issues predominate many discovery issues in litigation – and there is a wealth of IT information available through discovery if the attorney has an understanding of what type of information is recorded and how to refer to that information to get it. Second, if a lawyer is advising clients on social networking policies, the lawyer needs to be familiar with the different web sites available and generally how they work. It would, needless to say, be embarrassing to not at least be familiar with some of the more common technical terms, so when advising a client the lawyer does not refer to a “website number”.
Finally, there is no excuse to at least create an account and look around Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn – its free and it could be a good excuse to have your son or daughter teach you something. Here is a great list of some of the most used social networking sites one could start with.