The Undeniable Tour Day 4 – It’s All About Connections

Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Pier

Day 4 of the tour has probably been the best day of this trip so far – not that Days 1-3 weren’t awesome, but Day 4 surpassed them. One of the gifts I gave myself for The Undeniable Tour is that I get the weekends off from professional networking and I just get to do whatever I want to do.

What made Day 4 so amazing? I got to see my friends.

Ruth and Clinton

Ruth and Clinton

When I left Oregon in 2004, I felt like I was leaving all my friends behind. I knew it was time for me to move on, but I wanted to take them with me. Since then many of them have scattered to different parts of the world – Michigan, Washington, Ireland, and California. My good friend Clinton lives in Hollywood and it was uber important to me to see him while I was in town. We met for coffee and caught up. We didn’t do anything spectacular – just two friends reconnecting in a way you can’t do on social media.

Ruth and Erika

Ruth and Erika

I left LA and headed west to Santa Monica – beautiful beach town – and met one of my gymnastics teammates for dinner. We hadn’t seen each other in a year and there was much to catch up on. We ate Thai food and walked along the Promenade watching street performers. It was a perfect night.

One thing I’ve learned in my professional and personal life is that it’s all about connections – not making acquaintances but forming real relationships with people. That’s where real opportunities for awesome come from. That’s why there’s no difference between my professional and personal lives. It’s all me and it’s all about creating a lifestyle that works for me.

If you are interested in connecting with me while I am traveling please follow me on Twitter. If you have any questions or comments about The Undeniable Tour, please shoot me an email.

The Undeniable Tour would not be possible without my awesome sponsors!

All Tour Sponsors

The Undeniable Tour Day 3 – 1 Blue String

1 Blue StringWhen I realized I was going to be in the vicinity of 1in6, I knew I had to meet with them while I was in southern California. I was so happy to meet with Martha Marin in Pasadena today.

1in6 is an organization dedicated to bringing awareness and providing resources for male survivors of sexual abuse. Many people don’t know that 1 in 6 men have an unwanted sexual experience before age 18. There is a tremendous amount of shame and questions related to masculinity and sexual orientation for these men.

I got to sit down with Martha today and hear more about 1in6. The organization was started over 10 years ago, but they’ve become more well-known through social media in the last year. They definitely serve an under-served population. I was shocked when Martha told me that most men wait 40 years from when they were victimized to when they make their first disclosure. That’s crazy! And for many men, there aren’t services available to them. I’m pleased that 1in6 is validating these men’s experiences, raising awareness, and working with schools, the military, and other organizations to provide much needed training and resources.

1in6 has a campaign called 1 Blue String that I absolutely love. They are raising awareness about the prevalence male childhood sexual abuse by asking musicians to put a blue guitar string on their guitars. It’s an absolutely brilliant idea. When I met with Martha, she gave me my own blue guitar string and some 1 Blue String guitar picks. It made me want to learn how to play guitar in part so I could join the movement (plus it would be awesome to know how to play). If you’re a musician, please join the movement.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month so it’s a great time to follow 1in6 and other organizations that provide awareness and support for sexual assault survivors. I was very impressed by 1in6 because of their dedication to providing competent support and clinically sound information. I’m pleased that I had a chance to get to know this organization better as part of my trip.

The Undeniable Tour wouldn’t be possible without my awesome sponsors!

All Tour Sponsors


The Undeniable Tour Day 2 – Making You Work for You

University of La Verne Law School

University of La Verne Law School

Today was my first speaking gig of The Undeniable Tour at University of La Verne Law School. I had a full room of students who were engaged and it was awesome to see that so many of them were interested in starting their own firm.

Speaking to these students reminded me of my bizarre professional journey – I didn’t have a traditional path to follow. I just kept doing what made sense at the time and so far it’s working out. It’s was great to talk with them about how there’s more than one way to be a lawyer and I also told them about the Rule of Two Feet.

One thing I’ve learned in my professional career is that the biggest limits I have are the ones I put on myself. It’s a lot of hard to work to work outside the traditional framework of what it means to be a lawyer, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t be involved in blogs, vlogs, podcasts, writing, speaking, or creating a special niche for yourself. A lot of times it’s a matter of deciding what you want to do, learning how to do it, and committing to making it happen.

There have been many times this trip already that I’ve found myself repeating Tim Gunn’s trademark line “Make it work.”

If you are interested in connecting with me while I am traveling please follow me on Twitter. If you have any questions or comments about The Undeniable Tour, please shoot me an email.

The Undeniable Tour would not be possible without my awesome sponsors!

All Tour Sponsors

Web3Mavens – Concierge Sponsor for The Undeniable Tour

Origami Figures Turning in to 3-D Animation by Free Press from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Origami Figures Turning in to 3-D Animation by Free Press from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

I am excited to announce that Web3Mavens is the Concierge Sponsor for The Undeniable Tour. This is a software development company that works for many law firms and their business clients. Their goal is to help companies succeed.

Web3Mavens LogoI’ve known one of the company’s founders, Fred von Graf, since 2009 and while I love to listen to him talk about his work, I can barely comprehend what he’s talking about. Web3Mavens creates and updates companies’ software to help them communicate and work more efficiently. Their developers create native iOS and Android applications, web-based applications, and they can build cross-platform applications that allow your team to work from their smartphone, tablets, and computers.

If you’re not sure what you need, Web3Mavens can help with that too. They will consult with you to assess your development needs, suggest strategies to streamline or add to your company’s technologies, and can serve as the interim CTO for the project.

Founded in 2008, Web3Mavens works extensively with the legal community – both for law firms and their clients – but I guarantee you’ve never seen them at a legal conference expo. They’ve built their entire business through word-of-mouth and referrals. It’s almost like a secret society you have to be invited to in order to get them to work on your project.

One of the things that makes Web3Mavens so remarkable and wonderful to work with is that they hand select established developers for their team.  They work quickly and efficiently to create solutions that focus on providing a simple and functional end user experience and help you take your work to the next level. Be sure to check out their list of past clients and current partners.

If you are looking for a way to make your company run more efficiently, please check out Web3Mavens.

The Undeniable Tour would not be possible without Web3Mavens and my other sponsors. If you are interested in connecting with me while I am traveling please follow me on Twitter. If you have any questions or comments about The Undeniable Tour, please shoot me an email.

All Tour Sponsors


Less Than a Week ‘Til The Undeniable Tour Starts!

Footprints by marcelometal from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Footprints by marcelometal from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

It’s hard to believe that The Undeniable Tour, a project I’ve been working on for over 6 months, is almost here. I’m excited to see all the planning come to fruition.

My life feels exceptionally hectic right now because I’m trying to tie up as many loose ends as I can before this trip begins and also trying to get as many things set in my schedule during my trip. There are so many things I hope to see an experience and people I hope to meet with during The Undeniable Tour.

I will be blogging and tweeting throughout the trip and also shooting video along the way. My friend recently reminded me to make sure I get plenty of “B roll” footage and he suggested I keep a notebook where I write down what all the footage is because by the end of two weeks I  may not remember what certain clips are.

On the logistical front, things have been busy. Things with my house sitter didn’t work out so I will have to put Rosie in the kennel while I’m away – which is probably a good thing given the number of medication she is on right now for glaucoma. I’ve also been thinking about what I need to take with me, because as an aspiring minimalist, I only want to take things that I will need it, use, and will add value to the experience.

Web3Mavens Logo

I am excited to announce my final to sponsors for The Undeniable Tour: Web3Mavens and the Enchanting Lawyer podcast. Web3Mavens is a software developer and technical consultant that provides services to many members of the legal community. Enchanting Lawyer is a podcast hosted by Jacob Sapochnick that helps lawyers get clients, build a profitable practice, and have work/life balance. I had the pleasure of being a guest on the show last year.

Enchanting Lawyer Podcast logo

Right now my life feels very busy as I’m trying to get ready for this trip and I suspect that my stress level will go down significantly once I get on the road because I won’t be planning the trip anymore, I will just to be on the trip, and able to be more “in the moment.” Here are all of the places I will be speaking during The Undeniable Tour: University of La Verne, Santa Clara University, Bar Association of San Francisco, Lewis and Clark, and the Tacoma Pierce County Bar Association. Between each of the stops, I will be trying to meet with as many movers and shakers in the legal and social media communities on the west coast as I can. If you are or know someone I should meet along the way, please let me know!

If you are interested in connecting with me while I am traveling please follow me on Twitter. If you have any questions or comments about The Undeniable Tour, please shoot me an email.

The Undeniable Tour would not be possible without Web3Mavens, Enchanting Lawyer, and my other sponsors.

Total Networks LogoAAW Logo

Can Someone Post Your Personal Information Online?

Graffiti by Alberto Garcia from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Graffiti by Alberto Garcia from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

This is a question I’ve been getting more frequently lately – people asking about the legalities of posting another person’s personal information on the Internet, sometimes referred to as doxing. And of course as any regular reader would know, the answer to every legal question is, “It depends.”

If you have shared your information with others in a public place whether it’s through a directory like the white pages or informally through social media, there may be nothing you can do to stop somebody from sharing information that you have previously freely shared with the public. Please note, regardless of your privacy settings, there is no expectation of privacy in anything you post on social media. It may be very easy for someone to piece together your name, your hobbies, where you work, what city you live in, and information about your family from posts and pictures you posted online. Look how easy it was for Jack Vale to surprise and frighten people based on what they posted on Instagram.

Conversely, there may be situations where somebody releases your private personal information, such as your unlisted phone number, your social security number, or other information that any reasonable person would know you would want to remain confidential. You are state may have a law against the public release of private information that you could use to get compensation from the person who shared your information. Depending on the circumstances and your local laws, sharing your personal information may be a type of harassment. If you think you’ve been the victim of cyberharassment, please contact your local law enforcement agency for assistance.

My advice is, “Think before you post.” Never put anything on the internet that you wouldn’t put on the front page of the newspaper. This rule applies even if you think you’re posting anonymously or with an alter ego because there is always a risk that you could be unmasked. In addition to being careful about what you post online, be careful about what information you share with others both verbally and in writing. Also be careful about who you let use your computer or phone if you have information on it that you don’t want to get out, or else you might find yourself in a similar situation as a kind teacher who let students use her cell phone. They repaid her kindness by sharing the intimate photos they found on it.

If you are interested in the dos and don’ts regarding privacy and the internet, please check out my book The Legal Side of Blogging: How Not to Get Sued, Fired, Arrested, or Killed. You can also connect with me on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn, or send me an email.

Why is it Hard to Remove a Post from The Dirty?

Clubbin' by rudlavibizon from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Clubbin’ by rudlavibizon from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

For those of you who don’t know, The Dirty is a website where a person can post “dirt” about another person. It’s a website where you can post celebrity sightings, make fun of people, and call out somebody for cheating on you, etc. The purpose of the site, from what I can tell, is to provide people a forum to post truthful stories and others can read and post comments about them.

As a social media attorney, I regularly get calls and emails from people who claim there is a false post about them on The Dirty or a similar site and they want me to get it removed. Many of these people don’t want to get the police involved, file a lawsuit, or pay a lot of money to make this happen. I think a lot of them hope that a letter from a lawyer would be sufficient to get a post removed. Sometimes that works, but sometimes that is not the case – especially when it comes to The Dirty.

The people who run The Dirty and that their attorney understand the First Amendment. They tell their users only to post truthful information, but for the most part, they can’t tell when someone is telling the truth or not in a post. If the poster says what they wrote is true and the person they wrote about says it’s not, how would the people who run the website know who is telling the truth? The Dirty gets thousands of requests from people claiming that a post on the site contains lies about them. With few exceptions, they won’t remove a post simply because you asked them to.

I’ve never met The Dirty’s attorney in person, but we’ve exchanged several emails. My conversations with him tell me that he is a kind and thoughtful man and also a very good attorney. He won’t tell his clients to remove a post just because a person is upset that a story about them is on the site or because he gets a demand letter from that person’s attorney; however, he will comply with court orders to remove material, which usually requires some type of injunction or prevailing in a defamation, invasion of privacy, or similar lawsuit. The Dirty also appears to have respectful policies related to revenge porn and false posts about an individual having an STD.

When I meet with someone when I meet with someone who claims to be the victim of defamation and/or invasion of privacy on one of the sites, I often have to inform Michael and that the law doesn’t care about what they believe or even what they know; the law cares about what you can prove. When it’s a case of he said v. she said, there is often not much I can do. Yes, my client could sue for defamation; however, if the other party doesn’t have any money, it’s usually not worth pursuing.

If my client feels like they are the victim of cyberharassment or revenge porn, I refer them to the police. Cyberharassment and revenge porn are crimes and there is a lot more information that law enforcement can get from a website related to a criminal case than a lawyer can get access to during a civil lawsuit.

If you feel like your rights have been violated in an internet post, please contact a social media attorney in your community for assistance. If you want additional information about defamation, privacy, and the internet, please check out my book, The Legal Side of Blogging: How Not to get Sued, Fired, Arrested, or Killed. You can always send me an email if you ever have questions, and please stay connected with me on TwitterLinkedInFacebook, and YouTube.

Clothing Line Intellectual Property

Geek & Graphic T-shirts by nicolas 'nclm' from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Geek & Graphic T-shirts by nicolas ‘nclm’ from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Recently I’ve had a few questions about intellectual property related to starting the clothing line or T-shirt business. These people asked me how they can protect their work. Is it trademark? Is it copyright? The answer is, it’s probably both!

A trademark is anything you put on your goods or services to differentiate them from the competition. And a business can have several trademarks. They are your company name, brand names, slogans, logos, etc. Likewise, a clothing line can have several trademarks including your company’s name, the name for each collection, slogans, and your logos. The triangle patch with the question mark on it is a trademark for Guess jeans as is the alligator logo for Lacoste brand clothing.

Before you select the trademarks you want for your clothing line, be sure to check the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) database to verify that the trademark you want has not already been claimed by another company in the apparel industry or a related industry. If a trademark has already been registered that company could stop you from entering the marketplace using a trademark that is confusingly similar to theirs. (See the story of The North Face v. The South Butt for an example.)

Your clothing line may also contain several copyrights. If you design T-shirts, you will have copyright rights in each design. You may also have copyright rights in your logo. You have rights in what you create the moment you create it; you don’t have to register them with the U.S. Copyright Office to obtain your rights (however, you do have to register if you want to sue for copyright infringement.) If your design is simply a short phrase on a shirt, it may not be copyrightable because short phrases are often not original enough to warrant having a copyright. Depending on what your phrase is, if you’re using it as a slogan, it could be a trademark.

If you outsource the creation of the designs for your clothing or the creation of your marketing materials, make sure you have clear written contracts with these independent contractors to ensure that you own whatever you have hired them to create. Otherwise you may find yourself in a situation where the artist owns the intellectual property rights in what they created, and you merely have a license to use it.

As you can see, determining what intellectual property you have may be a complicated question. It’s best to consult an intellectual property attorney to assist you in identifying your intellectual property and determine the best strategies to protect it, which may include registering your copyrights and trademarks.

If you have any questions about copyrights or trademarks, feel free to shoot me an email or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

The Undeniable Tour Update – First Sponsors Announced

Redwood Dawn by Rob Shenk from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

I can’t wait to see these trees! Redwood Dawn by Rob Shenk from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

I have been working on The Undeniable Tour since July 2014, shortly after I finished reading Jason Zook’s book Creativity for Sale. It’s hard to believe that it’s happening in only a few weeks!

Total Networks LogoI’m happy to announce two of my “Fan” Level Sponsors for the Tour: Total Networks and Attorney at Work. I’ve known both of these companies for a long time and I’m so excited that they were among the first to jump on AAW Logoboard to support the tour. Total Networks provides IT services to businesses (including many Arizona law firms) and they are the “only business in Arizona to have achieved the CompTIA Security Trustmark, a respected industry accreditation certifying that the business meets or exceeds the best practices in critical areas such as data protection, personnel security, and access management.” Attorney at Work is a law practice management website that releases new content every weekday by leaders in the legal industry and they have awesome downloadable bonus material. I write a monthly column for them where they encourage me to rant way too much.

In other tour news, I’m building out my travel schedule. I booked all my lodging except for one night – there aren’t any hostels at the California/Oregon border and there aren’t that many people on so I may actually have to by a hotel room for one night of this adventure. I finally booked my rental car and I was shocked that the fees were twice as much as the rental itself. Why did they do that? I hope some of the fees are for optional bells and whistles that I can decline. There are quite a few legal and social media movers and shakers on the west coast that I want to see so I’m trying to get as many of them on my calendar as I can and fill the remaining time with random fun adventures and seeing my friends. It’s going to be a busy trip. (I’m working on a post for The Undeniable Ruth comparing what it’s like to stay in a hostel versus a hotel – at least in my limited experience.)

I need to make a correction from last week’s blog post where I talked about the tour stop I will be doing via webinar for the Washington State Bar Association. We had a miscommunication about the date of my talk so I will not be doing it until the end of May. That got me thinking – I can only bring The Undeniable Tour talk to places in-person if somebody is footing the bill, but I can do a webinar from any place with and internet connection. So if you are interested in having The Undeniable Tour talk presented to your bar association or legal group via webinar once I’m back from my speaking tour, let me know. I won’t charge you as long as you don’t charge your members to attend.

If you’re interested in connecting with me while I’m traveling please follow me on Twitter. If you have any questions or comments about The Undeniable Tour, please shoot me an email.

The Undeniable Tour Update – Everything’s Coming Together

This was the view from my hotel in San Francisco last weekend. I'm so glad it overlooked the water.

This was the view from my hotel in San Francisco last weekend. I’m so glad it overlooked the water.

It’s hard to believe that The Undeniable Tour is less than a month away. At this point I feel like all the pieces are starting to lock into place. I booked my flights and most of my lodging. I’m going to be staying in hostels and couchsurfing for most of my trip. I’m really excited to meet so many new people – law students, lawyers, other social media movers and shakers, and fellow travelers. I’m also looking forward to spending a lot of time near the ocean, which is something I only get to see and pictures since I live in the desert.

This tour will give me the chance to connect and share ideas with others in the legal industry about what it means to be a lawyer and how we can better use social media to create professional opportunities for ourselves. I feel like I got a good primer in both of these areas this week by being a guest on the Human Social podcast hosted by fellow lawyer Mitch Jackson and at networking event for lawyers who work in eat-what-you-kill environments. The internet has provided the opportunity for the legal industry to break out of the stuffy ambulance-chaser stereotype and show prospective clients that there’s more than one way to be an effective lawyer.

I feel lucky to be a lawyer who gets to travel and attend non-legal conferences as part of their job. I spent last weekend in San Francisco at the Dad 2.0 Summit – a conference for men who blog about fatherhood. (I was on hand to answer their legal questions related to their blogs.) Being out of the office for a few days and getting away from my everyday routine was refreshing. Meeting a new group of people and listening to some of the topics that were important to them (how men are depicted in the media, gender roles, and what it means to be a man and a father) got the wheels in my head turning in new and different ways. And these guys were the masters of fun. I’d never attended a conference before where I got to shoot Nerf guns and take a field trip to LucasFilm. It so important to periodically take a break from the norm to prevent falling into a rut. I got all that out of a 3-day trip. We’ll see what a difference of 14-day trip will make.

I’m very excited to announce that I’ve added another speaking gig to the tour yesterday (just after I filmed this week’s video update. I will be speaking to the Solo and Small Practice Section of Washington (State) Bar Association via webinar on March 27th from Los Angeles. I think this will be the first time that I do a webinar that is strictly audio which will be a new challenge for me not to use visuals and to not have immediate feedback from the audience.

Recently, I sent out the contracts to my sponsors and as soon as I have their commitments I will be announcing them on the site – hopefully next week!

Planning this tour has been an exciting, stressful, and to be honest an exhausting endeavor. I’m so glad I’m doing it because it’s teaching me so much about myself and giving me the opportunity to connect with so many people. If you have any questions about the tour or if you live along the west coast and you want to meet with me during this trip, please connect with me via Twitter, Facebook, or send me an email.