Friday, January 28, 2011

Just A Simple Question For Lawyers

Would it matter if you weren't a part of the legal profession? If so, to whom would it matter?

Have a nice weekend.

Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. He is the author of I Got A Bar Complaint.Share/Save/Bookmark

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Loren Feldman Says Good Bye To Social Media

Yesterday I went to see what my friend Loren Feldman of 1938 media was saying on twitter. Loren Feldman is not really my friend, we've never spoken to each other or met, but in the world of social media, if you've heard of someone, they are your friend. For us to think otherwise, would be just nonsense. Discussions and thoughts of real friendships have no place in social media, it's all about the electronic message.

When I searched for Loren's twitterfeed, it was gone. This was obviously an issue with my computer, as Loren was an active and entertaining voice on twitter. So I checked again. Gone. This was surprising to me, and I know shocking to others whose entire existence revolves around the twitter bird.

Then I found this on Loren's blog:

Apparently quitting a twitter and YouTube account with a bunch of followers seems to be unreal to a good portion of people. OMG did you lose your mind?

Loren Feldman is a big thorn in the side of all the losers who see social media as a road to riches, as something that defines their existence, as a "real" world of "friends." Social media evangelists hate Loren, because for one, he makes videos (all now deleted from the internet) that can be summed up with this message:

Are you people kidding me?

Loren attacks the phonys, the frauds, the ones whose image is nothing more than a twitter account and Facebook fan page. He goes after those in social media who have attempted to make money off telling people what they already know, while trying to convince them that the riches will follow if only their advice is heeded.

I never did this to get rich or famous. I did it because somebody had to. I was never truly comfortable with the role either. I am so different than the guy people “thought” they knew. I guess those acting lessons paid off. That’s not to say it wasn’t me. It was. It was the me I needed to be for the task at hand. Nobody wants truth. People want Snooki.

This is how Loren speaks, he has no time for the superficial that permeate the internet these days with nothing of any importance to say.

We have collectively learned nothing. Years later and the same idiotic feuds, the same dopey mistakes. You wont be happy till Zuck and the likes take it all from you. That’s what they are doing you know. What they are taking is your time, and more importantly your intent.

He explains Facebook:

You can only do 3 things on The Facebook.

1. Play games.
2. Talk about yourself.
3. Talk about your “friends”

Then he talks about life outside Facebook:

When you conduct a search you are outside of yourself. You are “searching” for something.

1. Knowledge
2. Information
3. Something you want to know more about.
4. Someone you DON’T know.

Then he smacks us all in the face, hard:

Facebook and twitter do not expand your universe. They constrict it. They put you in a box and look to keep you there.

Loren puts the exclamation point on his goodbye to social media with a rant close to my heart:

No one would ever speak up. C’mon don’t deny it. They were too afraid to say anything for themselves. So they let me do the dirty work for them. They were too afraid of losing money, followers, whatever. What they really lost was themselves. When you censor your own voice, your own gut, you lose so much more than a few bucks. You lose what makes you special. How many emails did I get saying right on, I support you. Many. I would say to these people “Why don’t you say it in public?” The answer was always the same. “I can’t risk it.” Risk what exactly? Money? Followers? What could possibly be more important than your own convictions? As soon as you say “I can’t” you’ve already lost.

Here’s the real secret to social media and how you can conquer it. Don’t be afraid of your beliefs. Don’t lose your voice, and don’t let anyone scare you into silence. No one respects a person like that. I might have been hated by many, but I had respect by all. Step up to the plate and take a cut at the ball. Doesn’t matter if you whiff. You will be in the game.

Man up, grow a pair, and say exactly what you mean and feel. When a few more of you start to do that social media might start to mean something. Until then. It doesn’t matter.

Yep, until then, "it," and you, doesnt matter.

See Ya Loren, Good luck.

Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. He is the author of I Got A Bar Complaint.Share/Save/Bookmark

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Special Comment On The Departure Of Keith Olbermann From MSNBC

I don't know why Keith Olbermann left MSNBC. I would like to think it's because he told the wrong person to fuck off, or that he pulled the chair out from under some network executive, but whatever the reason, Countdown is gone.

I was a fan of Olbermann and of Countdown. I was a fan when sports reporting was his full time vocation and I always believed his show was one of the best written political shows on television.

Political television has become the fabric of our political discourse. We don't refer to these shows by their names, rather, "Olbermann, or O'Reilly," or "Beck."

The popularity of political television is not based on music, or graphics or other technology, it's simply based on the point of view of the host.

And Olbermann, like O'Reilly, and Beck, had a point of view.

As we ponder the state of our political discourse in the wake of the attempted murder of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, political television is at the center of the conversation.

The real problem is not the highly opinionated hosts, but us. We are an embarrassment, for several reasons.

One, we are unable to listen to anyone with an opinion that differs from ours. Anytime I mentioned Olbermann to a conservative I heard the same talking point: "How can you watch that?" "How can you watch MSNBC?"

I watched Olbermann not because I agreed with everything he said, but because I appreciated the writing, the commentary, the humor. I appreciated the fact that he had an opinion, all his own, developed from his view of the world, and not what someone else told him to think.

And yes, I also watch O'Reilly, Maddow, Huckabee, Matthews, Scarborough (who I note is a conservative on liberal MSNBC who often has MSNBC contributor Pat Buchanan on as a panelist), and sometimes Beck (who I will admit is somewhat of a nut. I think he was normal once, but then he got mad about something and hasn't been the same since.) I watch these shows, and form my own opinions. Some entertain me, some make me think. None are the sole source of information which causes me to form my opinions on any topic.

Our inability to listen to those with a contrasting point of view is our shame. It is no surprise though. We live in a world where we only want to be around people who agree with us, and people who will tell us how great we are. We run from those that disagree, and form opinions based on what information to which we choose to listen.

Our nasty, violent political discourse is not based on the opinions of those in political television, it is based on our inability to listen - just listen - to those with other points of view.

We've now lost one of those points of view, for a little while I presume. I predict we'll see Olbermann soon, somewhere else, maybe radio, maybe TV.

There are those that are thrilled that Olbermann is gone. They will tell you various reasons why they are happy. But the real reason is clear:

They didn't agree with him.

Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. He is the author of I Got A Bar Complaint.Share/Save/Bookmark

Friday, January 21, 2011

For Law School Graduates, Debts, If Not Oh My God I Can't Take It Anymore Just Shut The $&*% Up Already

I sat back last week, ignoring the emails, ignoring the messages. There was a new article in the New York Times about whether law school was a "losing game?." You would have thought they discovered the real way to get on the first page of Google.

The argument against law school today goes something like this:

[1] I heard you can make a lot of money as a lawyer.
[2] I heard you can get a job out of school paying $160,000 a year.
[3] This law school says of all their graduates are employed after law school.
[4] If I take out $150,000 in loans and to go to this law school where they say I will have a job making much money, I can pay off my loans and get my Porsche quick.

The trending argument is that law schools are to blame. They are taking advantage of potential law students by trying to convince them that it's all butterflies and rainbows, with a pot of gold at the end. These meek, impressionable potential law students are following the pied piper in to law school and shocked, shocked to hear that there are no jobs at the end of the road.

There are too many people in law school, too many lawyers, blah blah blah. My God I'm tired of talking about this.

So few are actually entering law school today for the purpose of being a lawyer that I could give a crap whether you get a job. If you went because you were convinced that it was like buying a guaranteed lottery ticket, you shouldn't blame the law school for roping you in, you should accept the fact that you are so incredibly stupid that maybe becoming a ticket taker at a movie theater is even beyond your intelligence.

Seriously, you really went to law school because the school convinced you that a job was there at the end? Can I have your name, because I would never hire you as a lawyer. I'm just stunned at your stupidity.

I wonder no more how social media snake oil salesmen thrive in this world of "how to make money as a lawyer." The same people that went to law school because you were "guaranteed" a job, are the ones who think someone can teach you the secrets to twitter.

I don't even know why I'm wasting my time writing about this. The profession needs a cleanse - it needs to rid itself of the morons entering our profession because "the law school made me do it." Seriously people, you don't belong in a "get it in writing" profession.

I'm done with this topic. It just annoys the shit out of me

Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. He is the author of I Got A Bar Complaint.Share/Save/Bookmark

Monday, January 17, 2011

Inside The Florida Board Of Bar Examiners Hearings: Are We There Yet?

I often wonder what is the purpose of a hearing before the Board of Bar Examiners. Is it to ask important questions that determine character and fitness, is it to wonder why someone gets so many speeding tickets, or is it to test the Board Member's ability at cross examination?


"Did you ever tell anyone anything different than what you said today?"

"I don't remember, it was 13 years ago."

"Did you ever say 'I'm not guilty of this?'"

"I don't remember, maybe."

"Well! We have an affidavit from a file that we know you were told didn't exist that says you did."

"Oh, sorry."

Another example is the hearing I had Saturday, where after the formalities, the first question to my client was "Here's what I am concerned about, I want to know why you.........?"

Now narrowing the issues at a hearing is not something I expect. Often the questioning goes off in a direction that makes me wonder what it really takes to be admitted to the Bar these days. I'll never forget when one client was asked why he went to so many colleges in the late 60's early 70's: "Because I was in Vietnam serving our country and got hurt. I attended various schools while receiving treatment and then asked to go back to Vietnam." The Board Member quickly moved on after that answer.

But this hearing Saturday, on a major issue, lasted all of 25 minutes. Why, because the board members knew what they wanted to ask, and weren't there to have a mini trial and test their skills at questioning a young, shaking, almost in tears applicant. The applicant helped the situation of course by answering the questions and not taking the hearing in a direction that created more answers than questions.

Like any legal proceeding, the tone and length depends on the presiding officer and the parties, but I can only hope that what I saw Saturday, how a major issue was investigated in a 25 minute hearing, is going to be the norm and not the exception.

Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. He is the author of I Got A Bar Complaint.Share/Save/Bookmark

Friday, January 7, 2011

What Every Lawyer Really Needs To Know About The Verizon iPhone

My last post here was Christmas Eve, and the topic was the iPad. Since then I've taken some time off and upon return to work, found myself doing things foreign to the new age of social media lawyers, representing clients.

Now a bombshell has been dropped that has motivated me to start blogging in the new year - the announcement that the iPhone will be available with Verizon as the carrier. Upon this announcement, lawyers, the people from whom social media gurus try to make a living, reacted fast and furious. From, "I'm sorry, why does this matter to me," to "OH MY GOD, I (and then the call was dropped), lawyers everywhere reacted in a way that said "what was up with that slap on The Bachelor?"

Now in full disclosure, I attempted to get the folks at Big Legal Brain to blog about this. But in a profanity laced response, they advised that this was neither "big," nor "legal." Idiots, I know.

Before you start to see the dozens of daily posts on the meaning of Verizon entering the iPhone market, specifically as it applies to lawyers, I have for you here, the paradigm shifting game changing changes lawyers will now see with the iPhone on Verizon:

[1] No more blue circle that looks like a sliced something. Now, it's all about the red check mark.

[2] Customer service will be epic in its game changing best practices, as you will no longer hear "thank you for using at&t."

[3] Nothing on the phone will say "at&t." Instead, it will say "Verizon."

[4] No longer will lawyers ask their assistants "did the at&t bill come?" Instead, it will be "we get the bill from Verizon?"

[5] When lawyers with the new Verizon iPhone are asked "you have at&t?," they will now say "no, I have Verizon."

[6] Lawyers frustrated with dropped calls and bad reception will no longer tweet or put in their facebook status "I $&*% hate at&t."

[7] Lawyers will no longer go to the at&t store for issues with their service, instead, they will go to the Verizon store. This will affect Google analytics for months as more and more searches for "verizon store," will be typed.

[8] I don't have an 8th thing.

[9] Several websites will be created to help lawyers cope with issues like "I miss at&t," and asking whether "anyone else having reception issues in Starbucks?"

[10] There's no "10" because I hate those "10 things" lists.

Good luck lawyers. Try to cope with the change, especially if you intend to be early adopters.

Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. He is the author of I Got A Bar Complaint.Share/Save/Bookmark