In The News

Get Your Tickets Early: This is the last time I'm teaching Social Media for Lawyers

M. Lee Smith Publishers has set the line-up for the The 9th Annual Law Conference for Tennessee Practitioners.

I've taught a number of seminars for lawyers for M. Lee Smith, and, this year, I'm teaching the session called "The Attorney’s Online Marketing Essentials: Using Websites and Social Media to Promote Your Practice."

It's a 45 minute session, focusing on social media and other online marketing options for lawyers. I'll talk Facebook, blogs, twitter, and the pros and cons of all of it.

My standard disclaimer is that this is definitely not a cheerleading session about social media, but, instead, a review of my ten plus years of experience working in online marketing.

Also, after having done 6 or so straight "online only" CLE presentations, I'm dying to teach to a live audience. But, here's the caveat: this is the last time I'm teaching the social media marketing seminar. You know why? Because I get so many referrals based on my online presence that, seriously, I'm no longer going to share these secrets at CLEs.

So, tune in or get left behind. See you there, November 12, 2015 (and November 13, 2015).

The Attorney’s Online Marketing Essentials with David Anthony

Bone McAllester Norton attorney David M. Anthony will present a webinar on online marketing, including websites and social media, in conjunction with Alabama Law Weekly and Tennessee Attorneys Memo. “The Attorney’s Online Marketing Essentials: Using Websites and Social Media to Promote Your Practice” will take place Thursday, July 10, 2014 from 2 to 3 p.m. Central. The webinar has been approved for 1.0 CLE hours.

David will discuss how clients are using social media to find and engage with lawyers, the essentials for law firm websites, how lawyers should effectively blog and will cover the advantages and disadvantages of other online marketing options, including LinkedIn, Avvo, Martindale-Hubbell listings, Google+, etc.

David is a member of Bonelaw’s Commercial Lending and Creditors’ Rights, Banking and Financial Services and Real Estate Law practice groups. He maintains and publishes two blogs, CreditorsRights101 and PaidInFull, Tweets at @creditorlaw and is a regular author and guest speaker on topics related to bankruptcy, post-judgment collections strategies, foreclosures, ethics and trial practice.

 

 

Bone McAllester Norton PLLC is a full-service law firm with 38 attorneys and offices in Nashville and Sumner County, Tennessee. Our attorneys focus on 17 distinct practice areas, providing the wide range of legal services ordinarily required by established and growing businesses and entrepreneurs. Among our practices, we represent clients in business and capital formation, mergers and acquisitions, securities matters, commercial lending and creditors’ rights, commercial real estate and development, governmental regulatory matters, commercial litigation and dispute resolution, intellectual property strategy and enforcement, entertainment and environmental matters. Our client base reflects the firm’s deep understanding and coverage of today’s leading industry and business segments. For more information, visit www.bonelaw.com.

Is it OK to Google a Client? Of Course It Is. I'm Probably Googling You Right Now.

The American Bar Association Journal recently posted an article called "Is it OK to Google a client?" The story compares the act to a physician searching for information about patients online, which the story suggests is a violation of the patient's privacy expectations.

Frankly, I was a little surprised at this article, because: (1) it's the 21st century; and (2) when I get a call from a new client or a lawyer referring me work, the first thing I do is google them. Sometimes, I run the searches while I am talking to them on the phone.

Why? Because, as a lawyer, you are an extension of the client. A quick google search reveals their business page, news stories about them, and a general sense of "who they are." By hiring you, a client asks you to advocate for their position. Wouldn't it be relevant to see who it is that you're going to stake some part of your professional reputation on?

Let's be honest, the number # 1 test for a prospective client is "Is this a Crazy Person?" (Closely followed by: "Can this client pay my fees?")

Once you represent them, it'd be malpractice not to have googled the client. What if the client was making statements online (or posting videos or photos) that have a direct bearing on their case? If you don't find it, you can be sure that opposing counsel will.

Speaking of which, don't think for a second that I don't google opposing counsel and/or opposing parties. In fact, one of the best items a creditor can obtain on a credit application is an e-mail address, which I've called the 21st century fingerprint. Google, Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter are all fair game.

What a strange article for the American Bar Association. I'm going to google the author now.

 

 

Stephen Zralek will Discuss Avoiding Social Media Nightmares with the Williamson County Chamber of Commerce on Oct. 4

Bone McAllester Norton attorney Stephen J. Zralek will present “Avoiding Social Media Nightmares” during the Williamson County Chamber of Commerce’s First Friday meeting on Oct. 4. Stephen has significant experience helping clients from all industries with issues involving copyrights, trademarks, social media and cybersquatting, among others. The meeting takes place from 7:30 – 9 a.m. at E|Spaces in Cool Springs.

For more information and to register, click here.

 

Bone McAllester Norton PLLC is a full-service law firm with 36 attorneys and offices in Nashville and Sumner County, Tennessee. Our attorneys focus on 17 distinct practice areas, providing the wide range of legal services ordinarily required by established and growing businesses and entrepreneurs. Among our practices, we represent clients in business and capital formation, mergers and acquisitions, securities matters, commercial lending and creditors’ rights, commercial real estate and development, governmental regulatory matters, commercial litigation and dispute resolution, intellectual property strategy and enforcement, entertainment and environmental matters. Our client base reflects the firm’s deep understanding and coverage of today’s leading industry and business segments. For more information, visit www.bonelaw.com.

Stephen Zralek will Discuss Managing a Social Media Nightmare, June 18

Bone McAllester Norton’s Stephen J. Zralek will join Samantha Pyle of Green Apple Strategy for a discussion on how to manage a social media nightmare. The panel discussion, moderated by Greg Bailey, will take place at the PRSA Nashville chapter’s June 18th meeting. Zralek has significant experience helping clients from all industries with issues involving copyrights, trademarks, social media and cybersquatting, among others.

Read more about the panel discussion and register here.

 

Bone McAllester Norton PLLC is a full-service law firm with 33 attorneys and offices in Nashville and Sumner County, Tennessee. Our attorneys focus on 16 distinct practice areas, providing the wide range of legal services ordinarily required by established and growing businesses and entrepreneurs. Among our practices, we represent clients in business and capital formation, mergers and acquisitions, securities matters, commercial lending and creditors’ rights, commercial real estate and development, governmental regulatory matters, commercial litigation and dispute resolution, intellectual property strategy and enforcement, entertainment and environmental matters.   Our client base reflects the firm’s deep understanding and coverage of today’s leading industry and business segments. For more information, visit www.bonelaw.com.

Stephen Zralek to be a guest on "This Week in Law" podcast

IP Attorney Stephen Zralek will be a guest on "This Week in Law," a weekly podcast that is part of TWiT.TV on Friday, July 20th. He will be part of a panel and will discuss topics such as the Righthaven cases, the regulation/lawlessness of the Internet, the evolving law of social media, fair use in copyright and copyright issues in Pinterest.

To learn more about the podcast, click here.

James Crumlin speaks on Social Media and Background Checks.

Social Media Background Checks: A Slippery Slope


By John Borrowman, CPC
Borrowman Baker, LLC, BV Staffing + Consulting
Houston, TX


Interviewee: James Crumlin
Bone, McAllester, Norton
Nashville, TN

Understandably, employers want to get as much information as they can about a candidate. And the Internet makes it easy to use sites like Facebook to do a "social media background check." Taking that approach can be more complicated than it sounds, however.

For a more nuanced view, we turned to James Crumlin, a Partner in the Nashville law firm of Bone, McAllester, Norton. James specializes in the area of employment law.

Borrowman: It almost seems like a no-brainer for an employer to do a social media background check on its candidates. What could be wrong with that?


Crumlin: Well, there's nothing wrong if that process follows the same rules as any other background check. It's in the nature of a social media background check, though, that it can invite employers to look at information that may not be relevant to job performance. For example, your candidate may have posted vacation pictures that may not be very tasteful. But, are those pictures really relevant to whether the person can do the job he's being considered for? Or, is it simply unflattering information?

Borrowman: Is the process of drawing that line any different than drawing the line when it comes to non-work related information gathered in a standard background check?

Crumlin: Not really. You just need to make sure you're not using the social media background check to do something you couldn't do otherwise. In a social media background check, for example, you might find reference to a person's religion, race, marital status, disability or other information that is protected under Federal employment laws. When you're interviewing a candidate, you're not supposed to inquire about any of that information.

As with any other background check, the candidate must consent to the social media background check and be notified of any adverse information that is found. There are companies that do this kind of background check. The FTC has determined that they are compliant with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which governs other forms of background checking.

Borrowman: Fundamentally then, things that you can't ask in an interview, you can't do research on in a social media background check.

Crumlin: Right.

Borrowman: So, why would you go looking at social media sites? Is there likely to be anything there that is truly relevant? Crumlin: It depends. You might not want a candidate who has a history of talking about former employers and bosses in a defamatory way on a social media site. People do weird things with social media. They think they can say anything. If the candidate is bragging about having a few drinks at lunch and then going back to work, that would be information that might be relevant to the hiring decision.

Borrowman: And that's where a social media background check becomes a slippery slope? Crumlin: That's right. It complicates things because you have to wonder whether or not the information that you find is relevant to job performance. If the information is not relevant to job performance and if you use that information, do you violate Federal laws?

I would always recommend that the employer stick to the essentials of the job; that they stick to the job requirements. If the employer learns something that appears contrary to information provided during an interview, there can still be a question about whether the information is job-related.

Borrowman: Can you give an example?

Crumlin: You could be in a situation where the job requires the candidate to do a lot of travel. The candidate says travel is fine. In the interview, you can't ask questions about family. In the social media background check, though, you discover photos of a wife and young kids. If the decision not to hire is based on that information, the employer could be in trouble.

Borrowman: How would an employer handle that new information? You shouldn't ignore it. But, you can't ask about it.

Crumlin: No, you can't use the social media background check to learn information that you can't learn in interviewing or other background checks. You have to look to his qualifications, to see whether he traveled in a previous position. You could ask references whether the candidate ever had problems with the travel requirements of the job. That's about as close as you can get.

Borrowman: Do you have any "bottom-line" recommendations about doing a social media background check?

Crumlin: One thing employers should not do is take a casual approach to using social media background check as a quasi-background check. They should not (and should not allow their employees to) think "I'll just go on Facebook and see what I can find out."

If you're going to use this process, you need to have it as a formal part of the hiring process. You need to treat it just like you would any other background check that the company does. You should notify the candidate that you are doing the background check, have them consent to it, and also inform them of any adverse information you find. If it leads to a decision not to hire, you have to explain that, too. All the while, you have to make sure you're in compliance with Federal employment laws in conducting these background checks.

August 2011 Newsletter Features Can That Post Get Me Fired? The Do's and Don'ts of Social Media and Employment Law

Join us for our interactive panel to learn about common concerns with Employment Law, Human Resources and  Social Media. To read the rest of our newsletter, click here.

Stephen Zralek speaks to PPAMS Mid-South

Jailbirds Don't Tweet: The Smart, Sane, and Legal Approach to Social Media


Social media is changing everyday.  Whether you are a pro or novice, there's always something new.  Come to the PPAMS MidSouth PromoShow and learn:




  • How to avoid liability when making online product endorsements and marketing to children

  • The three features of successful content

  • What to include in a social media policy for employees

  • Real world examples

  • Practical ideas to spice up your own social media strategy

  • Issues surrounding privacy

  • Practical steps to shield against claims of defamation and copyright infringement when using social media


SEMINAR: Jailbirds Don't Tweet: The Smart, Sane, and Legal Approach to Social Media


Sponsored by Bulova


Date/Time: Monday, August 8, 2011 · 12:30am - 2:00pm


Location: Broadlands A


Speaker: Steven Zralek (Bone, McAllester, Norton), Amanda O'Brien (The Harmon Group)


 

Jailbirds Don't Tweet

Wildhorse Saloon, 120 2nd Avenue North, Nashville


Stephen Zralek, and the Harmon Group, will present "Jailbirds Don’t Tweet:

How to Build a Social Media Campaign That Won’t Land You In Legal Hot Water”.


Click here to RSVP. When creating your login, please note that you are a guest of Bone McAllester Norton.


Complimentary light breakfast will be served.

Parking is available at the Commerce Garage on

3rd and Commerce.

Stephen Zralek to Discuss Laws of Social Media

Bone McAllester Norton attorney Stephen Zralek will discuss the laws of social media for "Digital Citizenship and the First Amendment: The final segment of Leadership and Civility in the Digital Age," a series moderated by former FCC Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate.


This event features Gene Policinski, senior vice president and executive director of the First Amendment Center as he joins Deborah Taylor Tate for a discussion of the tenets of the First Amendment – religion, speech, press, assembly and petition – and how all have been affected in a digital world. Stephen Zralek will also join the conversation to discuss the evolving laws of social media, including defamation, marketing to children and employment issues.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011, 6 p.m.
Mullican Television Studio, Ezell Center, Lipscomb University
RSVP to Leah Davis at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (615) 966-6155


 

Stephen Zralek to Present "Legal Issues in Social Media"

Bone McAllester Norton attorney Stephen Zralek will present “Legal Issues in Social Media” at the Nashville Business Journal’s Crash Course on Social Media half-day seminar held Wednesday, March 30 at Lipscomb University Shamblin Theater.


Discussions will include how to create, implement and measure a successful social presence for your business and coaching for building a social media marketing plan.


Click here to register.


 

Stephen Zralek Speaks on “How to Protect Against a Lawsuit When Using Social Media”

Bone McAllester Norton attorney Stephen Zralek speaks to Indie Connect Magazine on issues every social media user needs to know to help protect against a lawsuit ranging from copyrights and trademarks to fair use, privacy and terms of use.


Click here for “’CYA – How to Protect Against a Lawsuit When Using Social Media’ with Stephen Zralek Esq.”


 

Stephen Zralek to Present How to Protect Against a Lawsuit when Using Social Media

Bone McAllester Norton attorney Stephen Zralek will present a session titled How to Protect Against a Lawsuit when Using Social Media at BarCamp Nashville on Saturday, October 16th at Cadillac Ranch.


 Stephen will be among dozens of presenters at this free, new-media focused “unconference” which brings together the brightest minds from the new media, tech, entrepreneurial and “geek” communities.


Below is an overview of Stephen’s topic:


Legal issues are often the last thing people think of when using Twitter, Facebook or blogging. They say that ignorance is bliss, but ignorance of the law is never an excuse in court.


We will explore issues that every social media user needs to know to help protect against a lawsuit, ranging from copyrights and trademarks (copying others’ content, photos or logos) to fair use, privacy & terms of use, along with questions from the audience.


Learn more and register for BarCamp Nashville.





 

September 2010 Newsletter Features 11 Awards, Social Media Tips, Rappelling Off a Building, Economic Tips, ABC's First Liquor License & New Health Care Laws

September has been an especially busy month at Bone McAllester Norton.  To read the rest of our newsletter, click here.