The Buzz About Lawyering and Google Mail
As a small boutique firm, I try to follow the latest and greatest of the solo all-stars, those self-appointed or self-proclaimed know-it-alls in solo law practice. For the past year or so, they've tooted their horns about the need for solos to leverage all the newfangled social networking avenues. "If you're not on Facebook, twittering your practice, and Linked In to everybody and his dog, you're toast," so they say. Don Cruse of Supreme Court of Texas Blog fame has just posted an article about Google Buzz. In it, he shows how Google has re-engineered Google Mail to allow it to leverage all of a Google email user's information—profile and email content— for its Google Buzz social-networking platform. As Cruse points out, it's an opt-out program, meaning that you have to take a number of affirmative steps—hard ones— to avoid the public dissemination of your private information if you want to continue to use Gmail for your law practice.
It's probably just a matter of time before we hear of a malpractice action for a lawyer's unauthorized dissemination of client information on one of the popular social sites—all because the lawyer didn't take the pains to opt his client's information out of the network.