what's hot and not in law practice

On a regular basis, Bob Denney puts himself and his judgment out there and predicts what will be the coming year’s hot—and cold—law practice areas.

He recently did so again, and I encourage you to read his prognostications.

In the meantime, here are a few he mentioned that made me pause and wonder how lawyers and law firms are responding to these new pushes and pulls. As Bob says:

Social media. Continues to be far more effective for building individual lawyer reputations than for firms.

Competition. It’s no longer just from other law firms. It’s now coming from two other directions: Non-legal business entities like LegalZoom and, for large firms, more and more from the clients themselves who are using their legal departments as well as alternate service providers.

Cybersecurity. While many firms have developed plans for reacting to a cyberattack, many more have still not developed or implemented cybersecurity plans to prevent such attacks. One overlooked factor is what actually constitutes a breach. Some firms regard any unsanctioned access of a firm system as a breach, while others do not regard it as a breach until something — data, files or money — has been taken.

Scamblogging. A category of online writing by debt-burdened law school graduates who are convinced their law schools misled them about their opportunities for employment.

What’s growing in your law practice? If it’s a niche or topic that surprises you, please write to me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

modern law practice technology tools niche

Today's the day to broadcast your lawyer-love. national-love-your-lawyer-day1

Today’s the day to broadcast your lawyer-love.

Regular readers of this blog may wonder why today’s edition is appearing at 11:00 a.m.—it usually drops at 9:30.

But I wanted to alert you to an opportunity to participate in Love Your Lawyer Day. Or, more usefully, #LoveYourLawyerDay

I wrote about the event last year, and I cannot believe it’s already time again to fan the flames of attorney ardor.

You can read about this year’s event here. As you can see, organizers are hoping people take to social media at 11:04 in their own time zone to share the #LoveYourLawyerDay news (November 4, get it?). So here I am, doing just that.

love-your-lawyer-day-logo

It wouldn’t be a real day without a logo, right?

Missed the 11:04 thing, because you were reading this blog? Sorry. But I think your tweet-storm will be appreciated throughout the day. So get to it.

Meantime, for complete disclosure, I am obligated to point out that the smart folks over at Above the Law still hate #LoveYourLawyerDay – you should read the depth of their well-written scorn here. (True, this is a 2015 essay, but ATL just re-shared it today, so I’m guessing their ardor for LYLD is as cool as ever.)

Now, author Joe Patrice is a terrific journalist–attorney, and when you read his much-shared ATL piece, you’ll see that his scorn is leavened with understanding about the appeal of such a day (though he’ll have none of it). But my own challenge is manifold: I find #LoveYourLawyerDay to be a helpful and pretty funny annual reminder for our republic. But I also find ATL and Joe himself pretty fantastic.

So maybe the complexity of my feeling for this day is underscored by the fact that I respect and #LoveMeSomeAboveTheLaw – and in fact, I even think we should get #LoveJoePatriceDay trending. When you send Joe your digital hug, be sure to tag him at @JosephPatrice @atlblog

How conflicted can we make ATL and Joe feel that our deep love for lawyers gathers them in our embrace too? There’s a lot of love to go around, Joe. Bring it in, buddy!

On Friday, November 4, reach out and show some love to the lawyers in your circle. And be sure to include lawyer-journalists in your embrace!

On Friday, November 4, reach out and show some love to the lawyers in your circle. And be sure to include lawyer-journalists in your embrace!

Here’s hoping we fill the hearts—and Twitter streams—of lawyers, including Joe, with a little compassion and affection this day.

Tomorrow, we can revert to form.

Have a great—and legally-loving—weekend.

Apps do a lot, but have you read their terms of use?

Apps do a lot, but have you read their terms of use?

This past weekend, when I had a few spare moments, I was perusing the terms of use of my Snapchat account.

What, doesn’t everyone do that?

Probably not. But we occasionally should wonder a little more about the legal side of those app-tastic tools.

For instance, I was struck by the open approach at the very top of those terms. In fact, they highlight a binding arbitration provision you may be agreeing to. The ALL-CAPS are theirs:

“ARBITRATION NOTICE: WE WANT TO LET YOU KNOW UP FRONT THAT THESE TERMS CONTAIN AN ARBITRATION CLAUSE A LITTLE LATER ON. EXCEPT FOR CERTAIN TYPES OF DISPUTES MENTIONED IN THAT ARBITRATION CLAUSE, YOU AND SNAPCHAT AGREE THAT DISPUTES BETWEEN US WILL BE RESOLVED BY MANDATORY BINDING ARBITRATION, AND YOU AND SNAPCHAT WAIVE ANY RIGHT TO PARTICIPATE IN A CLASS-ACTION LAWSUIT OR CLASS-WIDE ARBITRATION.”

Charming, in a way—though certainly driven by courts that have looked askance at such provisions when they are hidden away, deep down in legalese. But no one who glanced at even the top sentence of Snap’s term could miss that blunt warning.

Turns out, I could have opted out of the requirement of mandatory binding arbitration, simply by sending a letter to that effect to their snail-mail address (within 30 days of these changed terms).

Did I? No, though I considered it simply as a fun exercise (and a second blog post!). I passed on the legal Bartleby moment partly through laziness. But partly also because I’m just conspiracy-theory-amenable enough that I would fear they’d take the six, or eight, or 10 decline-letters they receive every month and “accidentally” close our accounts.

Irrational? I get it. Whatevs.

And apparently, I’m not the only one fascinated by terms of service. Just this morning, the lead question in the ABA Journal’s legal-news quiz focused on PokemonGo’s TofS. So there:

PokemonGo terms of service was a subject in an ABA Journal news quiz this week. Do you know the answer? I did.

PokemonGo terms of service was a subject in an ABA Journal news quiz this week. Do you know the answer? I did.

Meantime, to add to our social media joy, how many of us are aware that social media clauses in prenuptial agreements are now a thing?

Plastic bride and groom with gavel, on white - divorce conceptIt’s true. Not only might you want to keep grandma’s stocks and grandpa’s bullion out of the hands of your formerly betrothed. Now, you want them to keep their hands off your social media assets.

Romantic, I know.

Read the essay by Jaburg Wilk attorney Jason Castle here. And follow him on Twitter @CastleAzlaw @Jaburg_Wilk

As Jason tells us:

“For example, the clause would address what and how information is shared whether it is positive, negative, insulting, embarrassing or includes flattering photos, images, or other content. I recommend keeping the clause as broad as possible to accommodate the rapidly growing technology because the technology of today will be outdated within 10 years. I also believe prior to marriage it is important for the parties to clearly understand what they each define as private and what is acceptable to be shared with others. Another component of a social media clause can include the ability to monitor the other spouse’s social media activities.”

And that’s even before he gets to the awfulness of revenge porn. I mean, people are the worst.

What new technology–law–love mashups have you come across recently? (And do you also read terms of use of your apps? Please say you do.)

Very scientific Venn diagram catalogs the human condition. love technology law

Very scientific Venn diagram catalogs the human condition.

To make the whole thing more legally accessible, I’ve created the Venn diagram above. You’re welcome. (And for all my law school professors who wondered about my legal acumen: Boom!)

Comment below or write to me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

Yes, that is Diamandbacks CEO Derrick Hall gettin' the feeling. Contagious, isn't it?

Yes, that is Diamandbacks CEO Derrick Hall gettin’ the feeling. Contagious, isn’t it?

Today’s lesson is a simple and short one. In this Change of Venue Friday, let’s talk about leadership—or at least leading in dance.

For a few years now, I’ve had the privilege of collaborating with Derrick Hall on matters relating to downtown Phoenix, and it’s fair to say my day job and his—President and CEO of the Arizona Diamondbacks—are ballfields apart. In all the times I’ve spoken with him, I definitely spotted the sense of humor. But the rhythm? The tapping toes and tempo that can only be described as downtown?

To see that, and more, enjoy this video by the Diamondbacks. It taps into the rhythm of a smart leader—and a crack social media team. Here they are, putting their own spin on Justin Timberlake.

 

Have a terrific weekend—and don’t even think of stopping the feeling.

DBacks Derrick Hall video 1-page0001

Play us out, Derrick!

Oh, Twitter, right back atcha with that #love!

Oh, Twitter, right back atcha with that #love!

Some of you may find the following fact unastonishing: Today is the 10-year anniversary of Twitter.

Happy birthday, Twitter. I’m happy you’re here!

That most agile of social media channels has had some growing pains in the past year, and I am rooting for it to emerge stronger than ever.

The reason I’m a fan has everything to do with reader engagement—and the ability to learn news as it’s happening, rather than when a news conglomerate decides to drip-drip-drip out information.

Yes, in fact, Twitter does have a signature.

Yes, in fact, Twitter does have a signature.

Here at Arizona Attorney Magazine, Twitter was a game-changer. It has allowed us to know what was happening in real time. And it allowed us to share news as it broke. Pre-Twitter, unless you were the Associated Press, a TV channel, or a major daily newspaper, you were pretty much sidelined from breaking news, even in your own beat. But sweet sweet Twitter changed all that.

It’s helped in other ways. This past Friday, I presented to hundreds of legal leaders at the American Bar Association’s Bar Leadership Institute. I also invited continued dialogue on Twitter, and promised a gift of a terrific book to the best tweeter from the session. (More on that later.) No surprise, engagement spiked.

Because the digital world is all-knowable and all-knowing, I was able to look up my very first tweet, way back on August 12, 2009 (you can see it below). I was relieved that I did NOT launch my Twitter brief with a mention about my lunch. Instead, my inaugural tweet happens to combine a few of my fondest interests: lawyers and legal affairs, human rights, and historic preservation. A social-media trifecta!

my first tweet 08-2009-page0001

My first tweet: 140 characters pack a punch.

That was almost 25,000 tweets ago, and I am looking forward to all the conversations to come.

Feel free to follow me here; I’m pretty sure we’ll have a blast together!

social media heart love

… but maybe it’s just me.

How do lawyers and social media go together? You’d think pretty well, but the mashup recipe is more complicated than that.

A recent survey explored lawyers’ views of that media so social, and there may be a few surprising findings. You can read the story related to the survey here.

(And what’s up with the lack of questions about blogging, which is probably the primary digital game-changer? In its defense, this survey appears to focus on social-media channels or tools, rather than content-generators like blogs. Maybe the next survey …?)

Here is one of the findings:

“Strategy. There’s a 12 percent gap between the two age groups when it comes to using social media as part of their marketing strategy—69 percent of over-30 lawyers say it’s in their strategy, compared to 57 percent of younger lawyers.”

Besides that, we see attorneys are also comfortable with Linkedin, which on the social media spectrum is a warm blanket and fuzzy slippers. (Not to be judgy or anything.)

Findings from a 2016 social media survey of lawyers (via Attorney at Work).

Findings from a 2016 social media survey of lawyers (via Attorney at Work).

And all of that definitely resonates with my own experience.

I have presented before to attorneys and law students on the topic of social media. I went in assuming young folks would yawn, knowing all this stuff. And I thought older attorneys would scoff or otherwise cast aspersions on the topic.

What I discovered, though—especially in relation to blogging—was quite the opposite.

Many of the younger people I spoke with spurned blogging, while the older folks had detailed questions to enhance their blogs’ reach.

I previously wrote about one such interaction here, and that has led me to adjust my thinking on the challenges faced by a younger generation of lawyers.

What I mean is, they have been bludgeoned for years with news stories making them fear that a single digital misstep can damn them for eternity to unemployment. As we know from other research, people who have slogged their way through economic downturns are understandably cautious about upsetting their financial apple-cart. And so we hear from large numbers of young legal professionals declining to blog or do much else online that is perceived as public.

Long term, I believe that’s an unfortunate result. For as we know, career strategy is just another term for differentiation—and blogging done well can differentiate you.

Do you hope to be a thought leader? Get out of your foxhole.

What do you find interesting in the survey results? Write to me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

Findings from a 2016 social media survey of lawyers (via Attorney at Work).

Findings from a 2016 social media survey of lawyers (via Attorney at Work).

The Arizona Attorney Convention booth

The Arizona Attorney Convention booth

Keep up with what’s happening at the State Bar Annual Convention by following the editor on Twitter! Get short, timely messages (including photos, speaker presentations and more) from Arizona Attorney Magazine’s staff. If you, your firm or employer are active on Twitter, just insert the hashtag #azbarcon into all of your Convention tweets to allow them to be read and searched by fellow attendees and the entire legal community.

The Twitter links will take you to updates in our Convention Daily—news items and photos that will appear on the magazine blog, Facebook and Tumblr pages, and in our News Center:

And feel free to stop by the Arizona Attorney booth in the Frank Lloyd Wright building, or contact the editor, who is wandering about the Biltmore attending sessions.

He’s at 602-908-6991 and arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

The Arizona Attorney booth is circled in red (Booth # 10!).

Remember, the Arizona Attorney booth is circled in red (Booth # 10!).