Web week

The Lawyer‘s Web Week is a weekly commentary on legal activity on the web. This includes an overview of the best of the week’s blogs. If you want to direct us to useful links, email webweek@ thelawyer. com.

•Caught in the webThe Bar Council has a brand new website. Visit www.bar council.org.uk to see chairman Geoffrey Vos QC introducing the website in moving pictures and read his very first blog: “When you read this, I will be on a BC visit to India, travelling to Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkota over 6 days – it promises to be something of a punishing schedule.”

Lucky Geoffrey. But Tim Kevan and Aidan Ellis of 1 Temple Gardens have more serious things on their minds: “As we launch the Bar Council Blog this week and reflect upon the convergence of old and new, it raises an issue that may become increasingly relevant for prospective lawyers of the future: the extent to which they may take account of an applicant’s online footprint.”

Bloody hell, Web Week has only just got round to sorting out its carbon footprint. Now we’ve got to worry about our online footprint.

They continue: “A recent YouGov poll was reported in IT Pro to show that 15 per cent of firms rejected employees on the basis of their online footprint and this was as high as 25 per cent when it came to HR managers.

“This is not to suggest that everyone should sit around being so cautious that they become like the worst politicians, saying nothing, taking no risks and draining the soul out of any of their communications. However, it is to remind people that just like email, what you post is not the same as having a conversation with your friends, something which disappears into the ether. “This is not to give a view on the rights and wrongs of any such searches. But it is to counsel caution when you sit down in front of a computer and think of writing a rude or indiscreet comment online.”

•Computer monitorsKevan and Ellis may be interested to see the emergence of a bloggers’ code of conduct at radar.oreilly.com/archives/2007/04/draft_bloggers_1.html.

Tim O’Reilly writes: “We celebrate the blogosphere because it embraces frank and open conversation. But frankness does not have to mean lack of civility. We present this Blogger Code of Conduct in hopes that it helps create a culture that encourages both personal expression and constructive conversation.

“The key points so far are:
-We take responsibility for our own words and for the comments we allow on our blog.

-We won’t say anything online that we wouldn’t say in person.

-We connect privately before we respond publicly. When we encounter conflicts and misrepresentation in the blogosphere, we make every effort to talk privately and directly to the person(s) involved – or find an intermediary who can do so – before we publish any posts or comments about the issue.

-When we believe someone is unfairly attacking another, we take action. When someone who is publishing comments or blog postings that are offensive, we’ll tell them so (privately, if possible – see above) and ask them to publicly make amends. If those published comments could be construed as a threat, and the perpetrator doesn’t withdraw them and apologize, we will cooperate with law enforcement to protect the target of the threat.

-We do not allow anonymous comments. We require commenters to supply a valid email address before they can post, though we allow commenters to use an alias, rather than their real name.

-We ignore the trolls. We prefer not to respond to nasty comments about us or our blog, as long as they don’t veer into abuse or libel. We believe that feeding the trolls only encourages them – ‘Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty, but the pig likes it.’ Ignoring public attacks is often the best way to contain them.”

•Hitting the right notes
Dundas & Wilson gets funky with its first construction podcast. But the opening few bars of that opening jingle is about as good as it gets.

However, if you want to know what London-based construction partner Hamish Lal has to say on Paragraph 19.1 of something or other, then check it out at www.dundas-wilson.com.