Why Twitter Shouldn’t Scare Lawyers

Black-necked stilt, AKA "lawyer bird"*

It’s fair to say Twitter has taken the social media world by storm. In less than five years, Twitter has become one of the go-to media outlets for bloggers, newspapers, companies, and the everyday Internet user. I won’t go into a long discourse on what Twitter is, what it can do, or how it works. Other people have done a much better job at describing it than I could have.  (Consider checking out About.com’s “What is Twitter” article or viewing Common Craft’s “Twitter in Plain English” video. Also, Twitter has its own about page.)

I’ve discovered through casual conversations (with law school classmates, lawyers, businesspeople, and family and friends) that there are three basic reactions to Twitter. A) “I don’t get it. What’s the point?”, B) “That would never work for me,” or C) “Awesome. Sign me up.” The links in the previous paragraph address the first reaction, and the third reaction needs no additional encouragement, so my message today is directed at the second: don’t be afraid of Twitter. As law students, lawyers, or professors, Twitter offers something for each of us.

The basic benefit of Twitter as a lawyer (either as a solo practitioner or a member of a law firm) is in providing information to current or potential clients and to other lawyers. But it’s about more than just “tweet”ing firm news releases or updates. Indeed, as an individual lawyer, any specific updates you could provide would likely breach attorney-client confidentiality or violate state ethics codes. Twitter is, instead, a useful tool in keeping your followers up-to-date about legal news. That news could be about important decisions in courts around the country, news about legislation, or a story about how the law operates in practice.

Continue ReadingWhy Twitter Shouldn’t Scare Lawyers

Why Steroids Have No Place in Sports

Ask anyone with a decent knowledge of sports and current events, and they will tell you: doping in sport is a problem. Nearly every week, another high-profile doping story makes its way to the headlines of newspapers around the world. A quick Google News search for “doping” revealed over 7,500 results from the past week alone. The stories ranged from the lesser known 2 Youth Olympic Games Wrestlers who were recently suspended to the more famous 2010 Tour de France winner Alberto Contador’s positive test.

Earlier this month, Brent Musburger (an ABC/ESPN  sports commentator) told a group of students at University of Montana that steroids work. Musburger blamed “journalism youngsters” who “got too deeply involved in something they didn’t know too much about” for the negative image steroids and doping now have. He went on to say that steroids had no place in high school, but “under the proper care and doctor’s advice, they could be used at the professional level.” (Quotes take from the Missoulian article.)

If you know me (or have been in a class with me), you know how I feel about doping in sports. In fact, anti-doping was one of the reasons I came to law school, and more specifically to Marquette. My view is that doping has no place in sport. The story of how I came to become so staunchly against doping is for another day (and perhaps a different venue), but basically involves my love for the sport of cycling and the systematic doping that plagues that sport. Suffice it to say that I take a firm stance against doping in all sports in all forms.

Continue ReadingWhy Steroids Have No Place in Sports

Bertha Oliva: The Search for Truth and Justice in Honduras

Marquette University Law School was very fortunate to have several international law events last week. The third of three international law speakers was Bertha Oliva, who spoke to an audience of law students and Marquette University undergraduate students on Wednesday, October 6, 2010.

Bertha Oliva is the General Coordinator of the Committee of Families of the Detained and Disappeared in Honduras (COFADEH). COFADEH is a Honduran non-governmental organization committed to fighting human rights violations. Ms. Oliva, along with others, founded COFADEH in 1982 to seek justice for the individuals who were detained, disappeared, and killed by Honduran death squads. COFADEH now investigates and documents human rights violations, represents victims of human rights violations, and educates the public on human rights issues.

Ms. Oliva spoke about the ongoing human rights violations in Honduras, particularly the violations that occurred (and continue to occur) after the coup d’etat last June. She described daily violence and threats that she, members of COFADEH, and other members of the resistance movement face because they oppose the post-coup government. Specifically, Ms. Oliva told about the rape of women, forced kidnappings, and the murder of resistance movement members that have become commonplace in Honduras. Additionally, resistance movement groups, including COFADEH, have been the victims of tear gas raids and attacks. 

Continue ReadingBertha Oliva: The Search for Truth and Justice in Honduras