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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Clarkston Legal Presents at ICLE's 10th Annual Family Law Instutite

On Friday, I presented on the topic of social media in the family law context to 500 Michigan lawyers attending ICLE's 10th Annual Family Law Institute at the Inn at St. John's in Plymouth, MI.

Part of the presentation dealt with the national and local "influencers" in the area of social media and the law; particularly family law.  Some of the more dynamic profiles of attorneys utilizing the social media were  profiled and discussed.

Lawyers are utilizing sites like Google+, YouTube, Linked In and Facebook to promote their content, expertise and profile.  Law-related sites such as JD Supra, Nolo, and Avvo were also profiled.

The second half of the presentation touched on issues of privacy and the expectation of privacy, or lack thereof.  The top social media sites referenced above install pieces of tracking software onto users computers.  The WSJ shined a bright light on this practice in its 2010 series, "What They Know".

Forensic recovery of electronically stored information (ESI) was one of the areas of primary focus.  Many divorce clients now present with information obtained through a violation of the spouse's privacy rights; the attorney must not accept such evidence.

Other clients destroy evidence or illegally scrub electronic information in transit with key-stroke programs such as the "evidence eliminator" which boasts that not even the FBI could recover scrubbed data.

One focus on whether evidence of bad conduct that may be relevant, or critical, to a custody dispute, is the source of the information.  ESI on a "family" computer has no expectation of privacy and is thus admissible in the family court.

Finally, the presentation surveyed recent litigation and case law arising from evidentiary disputes in family courts.  Some of the cases involved sexting, other cases involved cyber-bullying.

In all, it was a successful presentation made to an interested group of attorneys looking to put it all together in the social media context.

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