What Dave Barry Taught Me About HR

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn May 13, 2012In: Just for Fun

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I had the pleasure of attending an event last week at which humorist Dave Barry was the keynote speaker. As you may be able to deduce from my lunatic-like grin, I am a big fan of Mr. Barry's. I was very excited about hearing him speak and had been looking forward to the event for several months. I wasn't disappointed. Dave Barry was hilarious. The audience was doubled over in their chairs with laughter for most of his talk.

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After the event was over, I reflected on the lessons that could be excavated from his talk. What words of wisdom could be parsed from the humor and held like fragile gems of truth to be used later? If you've read Dave Barry's work, either as a columnist for the Miami Herald or as the author of a few dozen books, you likely know the answer already. None.

That's right. Dave Barry didn't impart any words of wisdom or gems of truth. He didn't lecture about the ways in which we could all work to improve the world. And he didn't prosthelytize any political position. He just made us laugh. He told funny stories that were funny because they were true. And the stories made us laugh.

So, what does this have to do with employment law, or human resources, or the modern workplace? In some ways, a lot. I don't know about you, but there are days at work that I wish would be over sooner rather than later. Work can be stressful. And so can life. But the things that raise our blood pressure, usually, are trivial when viewed from the right perspective. The key is in getting the right perspective.

The next time you find yourself grinding your teeth over the day-to-day aggravations of life, try to take a deep breath and relax. Maybe tell yourself (or someone else) a lousy joke that makes you laugh. Or pick up a Dave Barry book and laugh out loud as you read. And remember, things are almost certainly not so bad.

Facebook-Privacy Laws: Update

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn May 11, 2012In: Privacy In the Workplace, Privacy Rights of Employees, Social Media in the Workplace

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Legislation, both state and federal, prohibiting employers from requesting an employee's or applicant's password continues to make progress. In Particular, the pending bills in California and New Jersey passed to the next level of their respective legislatures yesterday. The first two federal bills of this type of failed but, fear not, a new version has been introduced. Gone is SNOPA; the Password Protection Act of 2012 was introduced earlier this week. In an effort to keep up, I've put together the list below, which includes a reference to each of the states with pending legislation of which I'm aware:


California
Bill: Social Media Privacy Act
Date: May 10
Status: Unanimiously passed the State Assembly
Applies to: Employers; Post-secondar educational institutions
Other: Prohibition against "otherwise asking for access" to an account


Delaware
Bill: HB 308
Date: Apr. 26
Status: Referred to Committee
Applies to: Employers
Other: Multiple other provisions


Federal
Bill: Password Protection Act of 2012
Date: May 9
Status: Introduced
Applies to: Employers
Other: Prohibits requests for "access"


Illinois
Bill: HB 3782
Date: Mar. 29
Status: Passed House; pending in Senate
Applies to: Employers
Other: "or other account information for the purpose of gaining access"


Maryland
Bill: SB 433
Date: Apr. 9
Status: Approved by Gov.; Enacted
Applies to: Employers
Other: Prohibits: (a) any request for access to an account; (b) request for user name.


Massachusetts
Bill: HD 4323
Date: Mar. 23
Status: Filed
Applies to: Employers
Other: Prohibits any request for access to an account


Michigan
Bill: HB 5523
Date: Mar. 29
Status: Introduced; referred to Committee
Applies to: Employers; Educational Institutions
Other: Prohibition against requesting user to "disclose access information


Minnesota
Bill: HF 2963; HF 2982; SF 2565
Date: Mar. 26; Mar. 29; Mar. 27
Status: Referred to Committee
Applies to: Employers
Other: None


New Jersey
Bill: Bill A-2878
Date: May 10
Status: Approved by Committee
Applies to: Employers and Educational Institutions
Other: Prohibits asking if user has an account; law-enforcement exemption


New York
Bill: Sen. 6983
Date: Apr. 13
Status: Referred to Committee
Applies to: Employers
Other: (a) Prohibits asking for (i) log-in name, or (ii) "other means for accessing; (b) Exempts accounts owned by employer


South Carolina
Bill: HB 5105
Date: Mar. 29
Status: Referred to Committee
Applies to: Employers
Other: Prohibition against asking for "other related information" to access an account


Washington
Bill: SB 6637
Date: Apr. 11
Status: Reintroduced
Applies to: Employers
Other: Prohibition against asking for "other related information" to access an account


Delaware employers should be most interested (and concerned) with the legislation introduced by Rep. Darryl Scott (Dover). As I've written previously, I believe the proposed law goes far beyond what is necessary and would have significant negative implications for Delaware employers.

YCST Annual Employment Law Seminar

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn May 10, 2012In: Locally Speaking, Seminars, Past, YCST

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The Annual Employment Law Seminar held yesterday at the Chase Center on the Riverfront in Wilmington, Delaware, was a huge success. Thank you to all of the attendees for participating--your enthusiasm and engagement is the key to the program's success.

An extra dose of thanks is due to all of the brave souls who participated in Employment Law Jeopardy, hosted by Bill Bowser.

Next year's seminar will be held on May 9, so be sure to mark your calendars. In the meantime, we always welcome your comments and thoughts about ways we can improve the seminar.

Social Media as "Speech"

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn May 7, 2012In: Public Sector, Social Media in the Workplace

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Is a public-sector employee engaging in "speech" for purposes of the First Amendment when he "likes" a post on Facebook? A recent decision from the Eastern District of Virginia concludes that the answer is "no." In Bland v. Roberts (E.D. Va. Apr. 42, 2012), the court held that employees in the Sheriff's Department did not engage in protected speech by "liking" their boss' political opponent's Facebook page. When the boss won the election, he fired six employees, who filed suit alleging 1st Amendment retaliation.

One employee claimed to have sent a "statement of support" to the losing candidate during the campaign. The only evidence presented to the court about such support was that he "liked" the candidate's Facebook page. In declining to find this expression entitled to constitutional protection, the court explained that:

merely 'liking' a Facebook page is insufficient speech to merit constitutional protection. In cases where courts have found that constitutional speech protections extended to Facebook posts, actual statements were within the record.

This decision has sparked a lot of fires around the blawgosphere. For example, on the Citizen Media Law blog, Arthur Bright analogizes "liking" to signing an online petition, which certainly would constitute speech. He argues that "liking" a post on Facebook relies on the same type of substantive expression. Venkat Balasubramani and Eric Goldman made this point on the Technology and Marketing Law Blog, as well.

I would not be at all surprised if the decision is appealed given the novel nature of the question (potentially, anyway), and the publicity the case has received. Until then, you may want to review other posts related to the effect of social media on the public-sector workplace. For example, this recent story about a firefighter's Facebook post about the Trayvon Martin case.

Update: YCS&T Annual Employment Law Seminar

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn May 3, 2012In: Seminars

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Delaware employers, you've got less than a week to register for the year's most popular employment-law seminar. May 9 is just around the corner, but there is still time to register if you haven't already done so. We've already beat our previous records in number of attendees but there are still seats available.

We are very pleased to announce that Delaware PERB Executive Director Deborah Murray-Sheppard will be joining Bill Bowser, Scott Holt, and Mike Stafford, for the Public Sector Update.

The details, including how to register, are available on the Seminar Event webpage. We hope to see you there!

Delaware Proposes Facebook-Privacy Law

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn May 3, 2012In: Delaware Specific, Privacy Rights of Employees, Social Media in the Workplace

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Delaware has joined several other States in proposing a Facebook privacy law, which would prohibit Delaware employers from requesting access to a candidate's Facebook or other social-networking site.

The proposed law, the "Workplace Privacy Act" (H.B. 308) is sponsored by Reps. Darryl M. Scott and William J. Carson and was introduced on Tuesday, May 1.

In some ways, the bill is similar to the Maryland law, which was the first of its kind to be passed into law, and the federal version currently pending in Congress (SNOPA). For example, the Delaware bill would prohibit employers from "requiring or requesting" that any "employee or applicant" disclose his or her social-networking-site password.

The bill goes further, though. Here are some of the more troublesome provisions of the proposed law:

1. The law prohibits employers from requiring or requesting that the user disclose "any other related account information."

This would seem to prohibit an employer from even asking whether the candidate has a Facebook account. There does not seem to be a legitimate reason for such a broad-sweeping prohibition. Moreoever, employers may have good reason to want to know whether an applicant has a Facebook or LinkedIn account. Additionally, isn't this information public in any event, even if access to the account's contents may be restricted?

2. The law also prohibits employers from requiring or requesting that a user log into a social-networking account in the empoyer's presence "so as to provide the employer access" to the user's account or profile.
This, in my opinion goes too far. Although I am not an advocate of this approach, it is not and should not be unlawful. There are certain industries and professions (i.e., the financial sector and law enforcement), that, in some cases, have a legitimate interest in a candidate's online activities. The employer should have the right to gain limited and temporary access the candidate's profile, provided the employer does so in a legitimate and responsible manner.

3. The law also prohibits employers from "accessing" a user's social-networking profile or account "indirectly" through the user's online friend or connection.
Again, this goes too far. And, in my opinion, has deeply troubling (and, likely, unintended), potential consequences. The worst-case scenario would go as follows: Employee reports to Employer that Coworker Posted on Coworker's Facebook profile that Coworker intends to cause harm to his supervisor. The employer has not just a right but a legal duty to prevent workplace violence and would be legally obligated to take stepst to prevent Coworker from carrying out this threat.

But the employer cannot simply fire Coworker based only on Employee's unverified report. It would need to first investigate the Coworker's claim. Most commonly, an employer will do this by asking the reporting Employee to pull up his own Facebook account for the purpose of showing Employer the allegedly threatening post of Coworker. But this provision of the proposed law would prohibit the employer from doing this.

Alternatively, Employer could call in Coworker and ask him whether he posted the threat as reported by Employee. But if Coworker denies making the post, Employer has no recourse and is forced to take him at his word because Employer would be prohibited from "requiring or requesting" that Employee log into the account to clear up the allegation. This, also, is an unsatisfactory result.

The scenarios go on and on. Consider, for example, a report of employee theft. Or an employee who is posting HIPPA-protected personal health information. Or an employee who is posting the employer's trade secrets? The employer would be without recourse in each scenario.

4. Anti-Retaliation
And, making it worse yet, the law would prohibit employers from "discharging, disciplining, or otherwise penalizing, or threatening to discharging, disciplining, or otherwise penalizing" an employee for his or her refusal to provide access.

Although I am not opposed to laws that prohibit employers and educational institutions from demanding an individual's password or log-on information, this bill, as currently drafted, goes far, far beyond what its sponsors likely intended.

I'll be sure to keep readers posted as developments occur.

In the meantime, you can read about what is happening around the country with regard to the issue of "Facebook-privacy laws" here:

Maryland Law Makes It Unlawful to Request Facebook Passwords
Employers Who Demand Facebook Passwords from Employees. Oy Vey.
California Law Moves Closer to Prohibiting Employers From Requesting Facebook Passwords From Applicants
More States Consider Facebook-Privacy Laws
Should Cyberscreening by Employers Be Legislated?
Lawfulness of Employers' Demands for Employees' Facebook Passwords
Federal Legislation, SNOPA, Would Prohibit Employers from Facebook Snooping

Why I Love Being a Delaware Lawyer

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn May 1, 2012In: Delaware Specific

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Any lawyer will tell you that the practice of law differs greatly between States. Every State has a different legal culture and, in larger States, the culture can vary even more by judicial district. Florida is a great example of this--the way cases are litigated in Miami is tremendously different from the way they're handled in Naples.

In Delaware, we have one standard. It makes no different in which of the three counties you practice, all Delaware lawyers are expected to abide by a certain standard of professional conduct. In a single word, the Delaware standard could be described as "civility," according to our Principles of Professionalism for Delaware Lawyers (PDF). See also Delaware Superior Court's Expectations for Professionalism and Civility in a Courtroom Setting (PDF).
I love Delaware (Laywers).png

Although civility is an excellent principle and serves as a fundamental basis for the way we practice law, it is more of a starting point. Delaware lawyers are expected to (and do) comply with an even higher standard. There may not be a specific rule that says as much but I think most of my fellow Delaware attorneys would agree that we are expected to conduct ourselves with kindness. Courtesies are exchanged without hesitation regularly.

A few examples from my own practice come to mind. One afternoon about a week or so ago, I got a call from a Delaware lawyer who regularly represents employees and, as a result, is a frequent adversary. The lawyer works in a different County and is not often in Wilmington. He said that he had just finished a mediation at the federal courthouse down the street from my firm's new offices and wondered if he could stop by for a quick tour. I'd offered a tour when I saw him at a State Bar event a few weeks earlier.

In the middle of a busy afternoon, I was thrilled that he took me up on my offer and told him to come by before heading out of town. He arrived about 30 minutes later and I gave him the full tour--historic background, architectural design, and all. I was genuinely honored that he took me at my word and that I'd had the opportunity to show off our beautiful new space. And he was genuinely excited to get the chance to see our offices, which are housed in a renovated courthouse, originally built in 1916.

The other example of why I love practicing law in Delaware is a week-long event sponsored by the Litigation Section of the Delaware Bar Association, called "Take Your Adversary To Lunch Week." Normally, when I tell lawyers from other States about this event, they either laugh out loud or stare at me in silence, mouth half open, in sheer disbelief. But don't be skeptical, it's true. This entire week, Delaware lawyers are encouraged to invite a former or current adversary out to lunch.

Litigation can be difficult and stressful, even for lawyers. And, for a variety of reasons, we sometimes let the aggravation of litigation cloud our judgment, causing us to fail in our duty to conduct ourselves with the standards expected of the members of the Delaware Bar. On the rare occasion that this does happen, it is our responsibility to repair any damage before moving on. This event gives us the opportunity to mend fences that should have been previously repaired and to celebrate fences that need no mending!

Each December, I inevitably receive a pile of holiday cards. Some are from clients, some from vendors, and many, many more are from my current and former opposing counsel. That is something that I am so very proud of and consider one of my defining achievements. And it's exactly why I love being a Delaware lawyer.

Fed. Legislation, SNOPA, Would Prohibit Facebook Snooping

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn April 30, 2012In: Background Checks, Hiring, Social Media in the Workplace

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Employers who request an employee's or job applicant's Facebook password continue to face pushback in legislatures across the country. As I posted last week, several states have introduced bills that would prohibit this type of coerced Facebook access. These states are following Maryland's example--Maryland was the first (and only, at the moment), to pass this type of law.

Two U.S. Senators were the first on the bandwagon, though, but their bill was unsuccessful. But a new version of the bill made its way back to the House of Representatives on Friday, courtesy of New York congressman Eliot Engel (D).

The bill, Social Networking Online Protection Act (SNOPA), which is cosponsored by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), would restrict current or potential employers "from requiring a username, password or other access to online content," reports ZDNet.com. Specifically, the bill would prevent employers from seeking access to social networking sites "to discipline, discriminate or deny employment to individuals, nor punish them for refusing to volunteer the information."

SNOPA, like some of its state-law counterparts, would extend to colleges, universities and K-12 schools.

Stay tuned as this rapidly changing area of the law continues to develop.

See also:
Employers Who Demand Facebook Passwords from Employees. Oy Vey.
Maryland Law Makes It Unlawful to Request Facebook Passwords from Job Applicants
California Law Moves Closer to Prohibiting Employers From Requesting Facebook Passwords From Applicants
Should Cyberscreening by Employers Be Legislated?
Lawfulness of Employers' Demands for Employees' Facebook Passwords

EEOC Publishes Guidance on Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records

Posted by Adria B. MartinelliOn April 28, 2012In: Background Checks, Hiring

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The EEOC released Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (PDF)
This guidance, issued on April 25, 2012has been much anticipated since the EEOC held a public hearing on this topic last summer. If you were not already aware of the issue, the crux is this: arrest and incarceration rates are significantly higher in certain ethnic groups than others. African Americans and Hispanics are arrested at a rate that is 2 to 3 times their proportion of the general population. Therefore, if an employer exclude individuals based solely on their criminal records, that decision is likely to disproportionately affect certain ethnic groups, thereby violating Title VII.

The Guidance discusses the difference between arrest and conviction records, and explains what factors must be considered in determining whether or not consideration of criminal history will be determined to be "job related and consistent with business necessity."

The Guidance does not, however, address credit checks, which were also the topic of a public hearing by the EEOC. Some sources have indicated initial drafts of the guidance provided that there would almost never be a business necessity to use credit for employment--and stirred up quite a bit of controversy. For now, though, it remains to be seen what the final guidance on credit checks will say.

The release of the Guidance on criminal records was perfectly timed with YCST's upcoming Annual Employment Law Seminar, on May 9, when Lauren Moak and I will discuss the topic of background checks in a dedicated session. For a complete analysis of this Guidance and what it means for employers, we will see you there!

Public Questions Firefighter's Facebook Post re: Trayvon Martin Case

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn April 24, 2012In: Public Sector, Social Media in the Workplace

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Facebook indiscretions. Employees continue to make headlines by displaying bad judgment in circumstances ranging from the banal to the deeply disturbed. And employers continue to face difficult choices. Private-sector employers face possible claims under the NLRA. Public-sector employers face possible First Amendment claims.

Some cases, though, present a compelling case for employer action in response to Facebook comments posted during off-duty time. This is one of those case.

Miami-Dade Fire Department Captain Brian Beckmann posted a comment on his Facebook page about the Trayvon Martin case. Beckmann's post took aim at the prosecutor in the Martin case and claiming that "urban youth" are the products of "failed sh*tbag, ignorant, pathetic, welfare dependent excuses for parents."

A source who viewed the post sent a copy of it to thegrio.com, which broke the story. As you may imagine, many members of the public have raised serious doubts about Beckmann's fitness for duty as a public servant.

The racist nature of the posts also raises questions about what an employer can and should do when it learns of an employee's Facebook posts that seem to conflict with the employee's job duties.

[H/T Richard D. Tuschman at HR Defense Blog]


More States Consider Facebook-Privacy Legislation

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn April 23, 2012In: Background Checks, Social Media in the Workplace

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Maryland was the first state to pass legislation prohibiting employers from requiring an employee or applicant to turn over his or her Facebook password or log-in information for other social-networking sites.

On April 19, 2012, a similar law moved forward in the California state legislature.

And there are others. Here's a quick run-down of other states that are considering similar legislation:

See also:
Employers Who Demand Facebook Passwords From Employees. Oy Vey.
Should Cyber-Screening Be Legislated?
Lawfulness of Employers' Demand for Employees' Passwords


California Moves Closer to Privacy Law for Facebook Users

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn April 20, 2012In: Background Checks, Social Media in the Workplace

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Maryland was the first state in the country to pass legislation that would prohibit employers from requesting or requiring an applicant or employee to turn over his or her password to a social-networking account, such as Facebook. As I mentioned in the end of my post about the Maryland bill, California and Illinois had similar pieces of legislation in the works.

Yesterday, California inched closer to become the second state to adopt this new type of privacy law, reports the Sacramento Bee.

Senate Bill 1349 bans employers and educational institutions from requiring or formally requesting in writing that prospective or current employees and students to hand over their user names and passwords or provide access to the account. The bill, introduced by Sen. Leland Yee (D), was approved by the Senate Education Committee 7-0 and now heads to the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee for consideration.

See also
Employers Who Ask for Applicants' Social-Media Passwords. Oy Vey.
Should Cyber-Screening Be Legislated?
Lawfulness of Employer's Demand for Applicants' Facebook Passwords

Facebook Message Leads to Disability Claim

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn April 20, 2012In: Disabilities (ADA), Social Media in the Workplace

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Can a Facebook friendship between an employee and her supervisor lead to a claim of disability discrimination under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)? Have a look at the facts in a recent case from a federal court in Seattle, Washington and you can decide for yourself.

The plaintiff, Ms. Peer, was employed by F5 for just a month when she told the company that she was experiencing chronic pain and, as an accommodation, requested that she be permitted to work a reduced schedule. The employer obliged and Peer began working 30 hours per week, using paid and unpaid time off to cover the 10 hours per week that she needed to retain her full-time status.

After two months on a reduced schedule, Peer was diagnosed with major depression. The following month, she was released to return to her 40-hour week. A few weeks later, she was assigned to an early shift--6 am to 3 pm. She emailed her supervisor:

this shift is really stressing me out and exhausting me . . . [and] . . . the thought of having to do it for another 6 or 8 months or longer is making me really depressed.

The following day, she sent a Facebook message to her boss, apologizing for her email the day before and stating:

. . . I start crying the instant my alarm goes off in the morning and don't stop until I finally get to sleep at night. All I do all day at work for the past week is dream up practical ways to kill myself that won't require the people I love to clean up the mess. I've thought about going to the hospital, but don't think it would do me much good since I'm allergic to most psychotropic drugs, and that's really all they could do for me anyway . . .

A few days later, she posted on her Facebook page that "work feels like a war zone. I have some serious PTSD. Walked in the building and automatically started puking this morning."

HR met with the employee and told her that she was being placed on paid leave for two days to enable her to meet with her doctor. HR also told her that she would not be permitted to return to work until obtained a "valid work release" from her doctor. Peer provided a letter the next day from her doctor confirming that Peer was released to return to work full time. She was told she was not allowed to return to work due to her "suicidal thoughts."

Over the next three weeks, Peer attempted to return to work unsuccessfully. She spoke to HR several times in an attempt to clarify what exactly she was required to do to be cleared to return. HR's response was a confusing one (and, dare I say, sounds like it was written by a lawyer), telling Peer only that she needed to participate in the "interactive process" but not telling her how exactly she could fulfill that obligation.

Eventually, she was fired because she had failed to "address the issue of whether [she]remained a threat of harm." She filed suit under the ADA. After discovery was complete, the employer filed a motion for summary judgment. The court denied the motion, finding that there was a triable issue as to whether the employer satisfied its duty to engage in the interactive process with the employee to determine if an appropriate reasonable accommodation could be made.

So what can we learn from this case?

First, this case serves as an excellent reminder of what the ADA requires. The key to the interactive process" is that it must be interactive. Here, the employer gave vague and ambiguous answers to the plaintiff's requests for information about how she could return to work.

Second, I can't help but wonder how much of this case could have been avoided altogether if the employee had not been Facebook friends with her supervisor. Because of this online connection, she was able to send the supervisor the message that seems to have triggered the employer's actions.

In short, put this case in the column of "cons" when it comes to supervisors and their direct reports being Facebook friends.

Peer v. F5 Networks, Inc.,
No. C11-08790-JCC (W.D. Wash. Mar. 19, 2012)

Is Your Legal Blog Compliant?

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn April 17, 2012In: Seminars

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If you are a legal blawgger or considering the idea, you may want to consider attending an upcoming CLE hosted by the ABA titled, Is Your Legal Blog Compliant?

The 90-minute webinar will be held on April 24, 2012, beginning at 1 p.m. Eastern Time. Here's the description from the webinar registration page:

If your law firm has a blog and you have not paid attention to the matter of Hunter v. Virginia State Bar, you want to participate in this ethics CLE that addresses what amounts to a case of first impression in how blogs are interpreted under the Modern Rules of Professional Conduct.

Blogs have been around since the late 1990s, yet this recent cyberspace battle in Virginia is the first real challenge by a state bar to the often cloudy areas of interpretation. Is a blog advertising, marketing, editorial, personal, or business? Where does the First Amendment end and the Model Rules of Professional Conduct begin? Should a state bar look at a blog as marketing or something else?

This expert panel, including the plaintiff, Horace Hunter, features some of the profession's leading voices in the world of legal ethics, blogging, and first amendment issues. Get a grasp on the numerous ethics issues up for discussion when examining the use of blogs by lawyers ("blawgs") against the backdrop of state bar rules, ethics opinions, and court cases. Participation in social networking sites and its relationship to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct will also be discussed.

I am honored to be one of the presenters for this session, which certainly is of great interest to me and, I would imagine, to any of my fellow legal bloggers in the blawgosphere, as well. I hope you can join us!

Seminar for Del. Lawyers: Introduction to Federal Practice

Posted by Molly DiBiancaOn April 17, 2012In: Locally Speaking

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The Delaware Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, in conjunction with the United States District Court for the District of Delaware, has announced what sounds like an outstanding opportunity for attorneys new to Delaware practice, a two-night seminar program entitled "The Federal Trial Practice Seminar Presents: An Introduction to Federal Practice in the District of Delaware." The sessions will take place in Courtroom 2B at the J. Caleb Boggs Federal Building in Wilmington, Delaware, on Thursday, May 17 and Thursday, May 31, 2012, from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m.

Attorneys who have been practicing in the District for three years or less are eligible to participate in this seminar. One of the two seminar sessions will relate to an attorney's interaction with opposing counsel and participation in the litigation process, while the other session will focus on an attorney's interaction with the Court. Each session will include a presentation from a speaker and a panel discussion. The speakers and panel members will be current and/or former judges of the District Court.

Participation is limited to FBA members. Current FBA members may register for the seminar by contacting Steve Brauerman via e-mail by no later than May 14, 2012. Those interested in participating in the seminar who are not currently FBA members can register for membership by completing and submitting the membership form (below) or by contacting Mr. Brauerman for additional information.

Space for the seminar is limited and applicants will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Applicants should be available to attend both sessions. Admission to the seminar is free and the FBA expects to apply for Continuing Legal Education credit in Delaware for both sessions.

The "Introduction to Federal Practice" seminar will be organized by the same administrative team that has organized our successful "Federal Trial Practice Seminar" (or "FTPS") in 2010 and 2011. The FTPS, an eight-week trial skills seminar program offered to attorneys in their first ten years of practice, will be next offered again in Spring 2013.

Membership-Application.pdf