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by Vault Law Editors | January 26, 2010


Like George Clooney’s downsizing expert in Up in the Air, frequent flyer Bryan Cave Chairman Don Lents counsels younger colleagues that some bad news should be delivered in person. Lents told The New York Times, “I tell our younger lawyers, if you think you are going to have a difficult interaction with a colleague or a client, if you can do it face to face that’s better, because you can read the body language and other social signals.”

up in the air

Smiley-faces, winks and other emoticons are no substitute for genuine facial expressions and, according to Lents, have no place in business communications. As the Times piece observes, “If you’re depending on a smiley face to communicate a thought to a client or a distant colleague … you should probably step away from the keyboard, get on a plane and communicate in person.”

Twick or tweet?

In separate news, the dismissal of a landlord’s libel suit based on a tenant’s tweets about her “moldy apartment”  has prompted an article in The National Law Journal asking whether Twitter messages represent “a stream of opinion and hyperbole that shouldn't be taken seriously, or a serious form of communication that can expose users to defamation and libel claims?”

The bottom line, according to IP attorney Richard Balough, “People always need to exercise caution, regardless of whether they are tweeting, talking or writing an e-mail."

- posted by vera


Filed Under: Law
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