Applying for law school? Check your Facebook page

Hey, law school applicants: You probably didn’t need a 1,439,953rd reason to remove all those drunken college photos from your Facebook page (or your abandoned MySpace page, for that matter), but here it is anyway: law school admissions offices are Googling you for more info. [Wall Street Journal, National Law Journal. HT: ABA Journal]

A healthy 41% of law school admissions officers said they have Googled an applicant to learn more about them, while 37% have checked out an applicant on Facebook or other social networking site. Only 20% of college admissions officers and 27% of business school admissions officers said they Googled an applicant, while less than a quarter of either group have visited an applicant’s Facebook page.

It follows then that law school admissions officers dig up the most dirt. The survey found that 32% of those who researched an applicant online discovered something that negatively impacted an applicant’s admissions chances. Only 12% of college admission officers and 14% of business school admissions officers found something online that negatively impacted an applicant.

Forty-one percent don’t have enough information from the massive application and essays to make a call about you. Thirty-seven percent think the possibility  you might be a degenerate is so high that they need to go to your Facebook page and see if you list “street chemistry” among your interests.

So clean up your page, or at least update your permissions. I’d hate to see you miss your chance at months of post-graduation unemployment because your old fraternity brother won’t remove that photo of you, the bong and that goat (“Chill out, brah!”)

Advertisements

Casual Friday presents: Technofailure

Like many courts, Jefferson County, Kentucky thought it would save itself some money in the long-term by investing in an electronic recording system for trials and motion hearings. Who needs those pesky court reporters with their funky typewriters? You can do the same thing with a tape recorder and a microphone! And the equipment doesn’t need health insurance!

Well, apparently, the Jefferson County courts do: [Louisville Courier-Journal]

Nearly three months after defense attorneys and prosecutors held a suppression hearing in the Cecil New murder case, they had to do the whole thing all over again recently — calling in the same detective, asking her the same questions and spending more than an hour re-creating the record.

The reason?

Jefferson Circuit Court’s digital audio recording equipment failed to properly record the first hearing in Judge Judith McDonald-Burkman’s courtroom, capturing video, but no sound.

In fact, the Jefferson Audio Video System, or JAVS, has failed to record audio in several courtrooms, meaning dozens, and perhaps hundreds, of hearings have been silently recorded, with no way for attorneys, defendants or victims to review exactly what was said.

The lack of a record is being used as grounds for appeals of at least one conviction, and one judge had to declare a mistrial of a 2008 case.

As a result of the problems, McDonald-Burkman has started using a court reporter — a recording system last used on a regular basis in Jefferson County in the 1980s.

Sounds like a good idea, no? The lawyers are getting paid. The judge is getting paid. The bailiffs are getting paid. Even the jurors are getting sort of paid (kind of). Why not let a court reporter make an honest living too? Heck, even if she fell asleep, you might lose five minutes of testimony, not the whole trial.

This video is a metaphor for the plight of Paris and Jefferson County:

Social Media nabs another: D-level celebs seem love the series of tubes known as the interwebs, particularly Twitter and Facebook, for enhancing their ability to shamelessly admire how great it is to be famous for the hell of it. Need evidence? See @itsthesituation, @spencerpratt, and @kimkardashian (sample tweet: “I do love my metallic bikinis!” OMG, Kim! I do too!)

But sometimes, one can share too much. Recently Facebook has allowed members to post their locations, despite some sources showing how bad of an idea it is to let the world know you are not home. Paris Hilton’s oversharing has created a problem, but it has nothing to do with “checking in” at Five Guys Burgers & Fries.

No, Paris, it seems, was nabbed recently with .8 grams of cocaine in a Chanel purse. Despite the purse also containing Paris’s money and credit cards, she used the ubiquitous “it’s not mine” defense, disavowing ownership of the coke and the purse. The problem? Just three weeks earlier, she posted a photo of the purse on Twitter, with he description “Love my new Chanel purse I got today!

#oops. #OMG3to5yearswillgofastiswear.

[HT: Slaw.ca via Legal Blog Watch]

Great Moments In Alibi History: These guys came up with the best alibi ever before recanting. [The News-Herald].

COPS: What are you doing in this vacant house?

PERPS: We’re gay (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

COPS: OK, we believe you. But you’re under arrest for breaking and entering.

PERPS: But we’re not stealing anything.

COPS: Doesn’t matter.

PERPS: Really? Then we were just kidding. We’re stealing copper.

COPS: Whatever.

PERPS: No, seriously. We’re thieves. We’ll plea, no matter how much harsher the penalty.

Elsewhere: The next mass tort? Porn. [Information Week via ABA Journal]

Casual Friday presents: Technofailure

Like many courts, Jefferson County, Kentucky thought it would save itself some money in the long-term by investing in an electronic recording system for trials and motion hearings. (Who needs those pesky court reporters with their funky typewriters? You can do the same thing with a tape recorder and a microphone! And the equipment doesn’t need health insurance!)

Well, apparently, the Jefferson County courts do: [Louisville Courier-Journal]

Nearly three months after defense attorneys and prosecutors held a suppression hearing in the Cecil New murder case, they had to do the whole thing all over again recently — calling in the same detective, asking her the same questions and spending more than an hour re-creating the record.

The reason?

Jefferson Circuit Court’s digital audio recording equipment failed to properly record the first hearing in Judge Judith McDonald-Burkman’s courtroom, capturing video, but no sound.

In fact, the Jefferson Audio Video System, or JAVS, has failed to record audio in several courtrooms, meaning dozens, and perhaps hundreds, of hearings have been silently recorded, with no way for attorneys, defendants or victims to review exactly what was said.

The lack of a record is being used as grounds for appeals of at least one conviction, and one judge had to declare a mistrial of a 2008 case.

As a result of the problems, McDonald-Burkman has started using a court reporter — a recording system last used on a regular basis in Jefferson County in the 1980s.

Sounds like a good idea, no? The lawyers are getting paid. The judge is getting paid. The bailiffs are getting paid. Even the jurors are getting sort of paid (kind of). Why not let a court reporter make an honest living too? Heck, even if she fell asleep, you might lose five minutes of testimony, not the whole trial.

Social Media nabs another: D-level celebs seem love the series of tubes known as the interwebs, particularly Twitter and Facebook, for enhancing their ability to shamelessly admire how great it is to be famous for the hell of it. Need evidence? See @itsthesituation, @spencerpratt, and @kimkardashian (sample tweet: “I do love my metallic bikinis!” OMG, Kim! I do too!)

But sometimes, one can share too much. Recently Facebook has allowed members to post their locations, despite some sources showing how bad of an idea it is to let the world know you are not home. Paris Hilton’s oversharing has created a problem, but it has nothing to do with “checking in” at Five Guys Burgers & Fries.

No, Paris, it seems, was nabbed recently with .8 grams of cocaine in a Chanel purse. Despite the purse also containing Paris’s money and credit cards, she used the ubiquitous “it’s not mine” defense, disavowing ownership of the coke and the purse. The problem? Just three weeks earlier, she posted a photo of the purse on Twitter, with he description “Love my new Chanel purse I got today!

#oops. #OMG3to5yearswillgofastiswear.

[HT: Slaw.ca via Legal Blog Watch]

This video is a metaphor for the plight of Paris and Jefferson County:

Great Moments In Alibi History: These guys came up with the best alibi ever before recanting. [The News-Herald].

COPS: What are you doing in this vacant house?

PERPS: We’re gay (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

COPS: OK, we believe you. But you’re under arrest for breaking and entering.

PERPS: But we’re not stealing anything.

COPS: Doesn’t matter.

PERPS: Really? Then we were just kidding. We’re stealing copper.

COPS: Whatever.

PERPS: No, seriously. We’re thieves. We’ll plea, no matter how much harsher the penalty.

Elsewhere: The next mass tort? Porn. [Information Week via ABA Journal]

State considering FOIA rules for social media posts

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The state plans to consider what its employees and agencies post on social media websites as matters of public record and subject to Freedom of Information Act requests.

Michigan is working to finalize a policy that is expected to be completed in August, Kurt Weiss, a spokesman for the state’s Department of Technology, Management and Budget, told the Lansing State Journal for a story published Sunday.

“What the state realizes is like other states, younger generations are getting their messages in other ways, be it Facebook or Twitter,” he said. “So when the state has important information to share, that’s an important avenue we have to look at.”

Lawyer Herschel Fink, who specializes in media law, said it appears the concept is untested in Michigan courts. He said he thinks such activity by government should be considered public record.

“If government and officials are communicating on issues of government policy, using these new means of communication — social media — then the public has to have access to that as well,” he said.

Michigan uses social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter to communicate with the public.

“The whole idea behind FOIA is providing the public with information about all aspects of the people’s business,” Fink said.

How to treat posts by individual officials could stir debate. A Facebook page for a mayor, for example, would be subject to FOIA, Fink said, while that mayor’s personal Facebook page might not. Officials who mix personal and government postings on the same page might be subject to FOIA.

“You cannot blur the line,” he said. “If you use it in any way to communicate as a public official with constituents, you’ve given up any right of privacy.”