Lawyers in Cyberspace: The Impact of Legal Listservs on the Professional Development and Ethical Decisionmaking of Lawyers
36 Pages Posted: 14 Nov 2009
Date Written: Summer 2005
This article explores the impact of trial lawyers= associations on the professional identities of its members, their professional development, their understanding of practice norms, and their ethical decision making. It does so by looking at the New York State Trial Lawyers= Association (ANYSTLA@), and more specifically, the conversations that occur on its listserv. When these conversations are viewed in the context of the history and current operations of NYSTLA, it is possible to see how such listservs powerfully promote shared professional values and views within NYSTLA=s membership. The listserv extends the advice networks of trial lawyers far beyond the small number of attorneys with whom lawyers have previously been found to consult when questions arose in practice. These computer-mediated communications also result in increased opportunities for extended dialogue about a wider range of issues than previously occurred through more traditional methods of communication. Through these communications, trial lawyers are able to gain more accurate information to assist them in the representation of their clients and a more conscious and informed approach to the ethical issues they face in practice. At the same time, trial lawyers= associationsBand their listservsBcontribute to the segmentation of the legal profession through rhetoric that encourages its members to view themselves as having different roles and holding different values than other members of the bar.
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