Getting educated

I'm at the Seattle office of the Wilson Sonsini law firm today, watching a broadcast of continuing legal education presentations from the firm's lawyers in Palo Alto.

Taking classes like this is something the bar association in requires lawyers to do. And every three years, in Washington, we Washington lawyers have to report the credits we've earned.

6a01156e3d83cb970c019b02a10bde970d-580wiAnd Wilson is offering this day of credits for free!

First session is about ethical issues faced by in-house company counsel. I used to be an in-house general counsel, for 3+ years. This session is bringing back to mind the unique pressures faced by a GC.

Next session is about social media. Couple lawyers are going to talk about Reg FD and the aftermath of the Reed Hastings disclosure-via-Facebook episode. (Which we have covered previously on this blog.)

Wilson represented Hastings and/or Netflix in the matter, so it's interesting to hear the perspective here. Keith Eggleton of the firm points out it was an interesting (poor) choice on the SEC's part for a potential test case, insofar as the Hastings FB post generated far more press and investor attention, at least in the first few hours following the disclosure, than a typical 8-K filing with the SEC would have.

Anyway, bottom line today for using social media to make material disclosures: tell the world, early and often, what social media channels you'll use (and probably choose just a few). Interesting feedback from some investor relations firm: "don't make your institutional investors go use social media to find stuff."

6a01156e3d83cb970c019b02a09c66970b-580wiAnother interesting point: the downside of putting a social media policy in place is, you then have to follow it. Better to have no policy than to have one you don't follow.

Moving now to recent developments in privacy law! Starting with the tension between do-not-track laws and initiatives, and the way the internet works. (Don't say "we honor 'do not track,'" say instead what you actually do or do not do, as there is no settled standard on what "not tracking" means.)

I'll post this now as it's coming up to noon.

The view is of Mount Rainier, from the Wilson conference room. There's a passenger jet in there, passing the mountain.


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