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A Note on MySpace

March 6, 2007

You would think that what I am about to say is pretty evident to young lawyers and law students, but apparently it’s NOT: be careful and conscious of what you write about yourself on the internet. It can and will come back to haunt you.

At a New Year’s party, I spoke with someone who is currently clerking for a judge in the Eastern District. He told me that his judge had rejected a potential law clerk after he searched MySpace and found that she had posted about illicit activities at a party and some “questionable” pictures.

Intrigued, I conducted my own search of MySpace and was surprised at how much information about local lawyers and law students was readily available.  Law students in particular seem to misrepresent their legal experiences and qualifications. I found a law student who claimed to be the “head of the real estate department” of a local law firm and she named the law firm on the webpage.  Another law student claimed to be getting her “JD in Entertainment Law” from Temple.  I don’t remember specializing and as I remember it – and it hasn’t been that long since I graduated – there was only one class in entertainment law offered… 

I found a young attorney who had listed “boobs” as his main interest… It may be true that a large segment of the population spends a good amount of time thinking about boobs, but listing the law firm that you work for on the same page is not a good idea for many many reasons.  Seriously, do you want to have a conversation about this with the partner who you work with?  And I somehow doubt that women are going to line up to give him referrals.

Another common theme for young lawyers is to dedicated half of their page to the fact that they are lawyers — you know, because we should all be worshipped as gods — while they dedicate the other half of the page to comments and pictures of scantily clad people who they have partied with, pictures of them drunk and passed out…and sometimes even covered in puke.

It wasn’t my intention to offend anyone, but if you are offended, then you should think about it — I easily found this information and so can your boss, grandmother and everyone else on the planet.  I’m not suggesting that you can’t be yourself; I’m just warning that if you don’t want anyone (or everyone) to see it, don’t post it openly on the internet.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. art kyriazis permalink
    March 13, 2007 2:22 pm

    re: rejecting an employment candidate for “my space” content

    probably a dubious labor screening tactic.

    of course, federal judges are immune from any and all labor laws, so it’s academic what they do to screen and hire.

    however, law firms and employers should not conduct in-depth background checks like these without an opinion of labor counsel that it is legal to do so.

    the advice that you should not be too free to post your thoughts on the internet because of what your employer thinks strikes me as Orwellian in the extreme.

    for one thing, philadelphia has an extreme reputation as being conservative and stuck up. obviously san francisco, silicon valley, la, nyc and other places, where homosexuals, transgendered individuals and people of color and of race have forged ahead in far greater numbers than in Philadelphia suggests that the people who run the courts and law firms of Philadelphia continue to examine the backgrounds of candidates for jobs in places like my space, not for the content of their character, but more so for the color of their skin and the the nature of their sexual preferences.

    perhaps this is why the third circuit has become a repository for extreme white male conservatives like Justice Alito who recently was elevated to the Supreme Court.

    noteworthy is that philadelphia booed Jackie Robinson for years after he entered the leagued, booed Richie Allen out of town, and is still slow to advance people of color, of gender, of various diversities into the legal and business communities.

    this is a big reason we lag the rest of the country in growth.

    this is a big reason comcast has a culture clash with disney.

    this is a big reason why a local employer might be peeking at your my space comments. they want conformity, not diversity, in philly.

    well my view is diversity is good. be diverse, express yourself and the heck with employers who don’t want to hire based on your diverse comments and interests.

    google the #1 place to work in america according to fortune, probably will take you instead and pay you three times as much.

    –art kyriazis, molecular biologist


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