Lawyer Teach Teens the Do’s & Don’ts of Texting

Although most of them never ask to receive credit, there are many law firms that consistently give back to their communities in the form of pro bono work, fundraising activities, and sponsorship of worthwhile charities, just to name a few. In one recent example, the Palo Alto, Calif., office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom is giving back with a project that represents a smartly creative fit for Silicon Valley. 
The firm is giving real-world advice to teens about social media and related online misconduct. The Skadden lawyers answer pointed questions like this one: If a person gets really drunk and something very bad happens at a party, is she going to be charged with underage drinking? (The answer given: No.)
Questions such as that one are being discussed in “Living Skills” classes in the Palo Alto school district. The project was the brainchild of Carrie LeRoy, a Skadden Arps technology and intellectual property lawyer who also is the mother of three children.
Teenagers “don’t really understand the power they have when using social media,” LeRoy tells The Recorder, which covers California legal news. “We start with educating youth about what they can and cannot do.”
Hewlett-Packard is one of Skadden’s clients, and that company also has embraced the project, sending its lawyers to observe classes so they can pitch in. The effort is a collaboration with Legal Advocates for Children & Youth (LACY).
“Silicon Valley is the perfect place for this to be launched,” says Jennifer Kelleher, directing attorney for LACY. “Nobody wants their technology to be used in a way that harms kids.”
So far, more than 700 students have heard the presentation, and organizers hope to expand it to other school districts, providing another example of how law firms often work out of the spotlight to make their communities better.

Posted: 1/23/2014 1:10:15 PM by Editor | with 0 comments

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Thanks for stopping by On the Merits, the first blog from the Texas Center for Legal Ethics. On the Merits will take a close look at significant legal stories with an eye toward addressing the legal myths and misconceptions that turn up in news stories, movies, TV programs, websites, anonymous emails and other forms of mass communications. Our goal at On the Merits is to provide readers with a thoughtful examination of what the media and others are saying about the legal profession and to apply the frequently-absent context of how the legal system actually works.

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