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Berkman Fellow Gene Koo, who is working with our friends at the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI) to build eLangdell : The Legal Ed Commons (a platform for collaboratively creating legal teaching materials), is also helping to organize the Social Media Best Practices Workshop at this year's CALI Conference. From Gene's blog:

CALI is pleased to announce that it is convening a workshop to help law schools develop sensible guidelines for their students on the use of social media (e.g. MySpace and Facebook). A few examples of bad online behavior has made some schools understandably wary of technologies that might expose their students in an unflattering (and unemployable) light. Yet social media are growing in importance as networking tools that can connect lawyers with potential employers and clients in positive ways.

The Social Media Best Practices Workshop builds on the work of Laura Bergus (Iowa College of Law), who felt that her own school was accentuating the negative and ignoring the positive value of online social media. Ms. Bergus, a guest blogger on Social Media Law Student, began a campaign to reform her school’s policies and won the buy-in of her administration. This triggered the thought that other schools might also be seeking better policies and guidelines for their students.

Our goal for the Workshop is to generate best practice suggestions for law schools. We also hope to start a nationwide discussion among law schools on how to approach social media and its potential interaction with students’ current performance and future career prospects.

Professor John Palfrey (Harvard’s Vice Dean of Library and Information Resources), who is a keynote speaker at the conference, will be contributing to this workshop. Prof. Palfrey is co-author of Born Digital and known for his expertise on both the perils and promise of social media for young people.

Steve Langerud, Assistant Dean for Career Services for Iowa College of Law, will also be joining the workshop. Dean Langerud has been working closely with Ms. Bergus on developing new media guidelines for their school.

Sign up now for the 2009 CALI Conference for Law School Computing®.

[Correction: Laura Bergus is not "Social Media Law Student;" that's Rex Gradeless at SLU Law -- Laura is a guest blogger on that site. Thanks to Jim Milles for pointing this out.]

(Gene has subsequently blogged about privacy questions in this context.) The workshop promises to raise questions specific to law schools and their students — but also questions whose answers may have a broader application in terms of "digital natives," social media, and privacy. Apropos, as Gene mentions, Berkman faculty co-director John Palfrey will also be keynoting the CALI conference.

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