Monday, November 19, 2007
Leonard Link run by NY Law School Professor Arthur Leonard has an excellent November 17, 2007 story entitled entitled "Personal Diary: The Pains and Perils of Journalism and the Internet" which is about a painful phone call Professor Leonard received who was a party to a case he wrote about. Professor Leonard wrote about his case 5 years ago and but for the internet, only lawyers may have discovered it. Now, if you Google this persons name you can find out that he sued his employer for sex discrimination by claiming that he was illegally fired because he was gay. As Professor Leonard explains:
I just experienced a painful phone call that derives entirely from the recently developed phenomenon of what I call "auto-googling." Most people with an internet presence will google their own names from time to time, mainly out of curiosity to see where they are being mentioned. As access to the internet has become more and more widespread, this phenomenon increases... And it has, I suspect, become as much of a pain to others who have practiced journalism on-line as it has become to me.
Before the advent of the internet and blogs much of what we write about would only be accessible by legal researchers and law professors. It is easy to forget that there are real people and real lives behind what we write about. Prudent lawyers should inform their clients that if they go to court, there story is going to be public. In this day and age, that means that there story may get out.
Mitchell H. Rubinstein