With 19 years of legal experience, Andrew M. Tolchin has seen a wide range of legal issues and conflicts....
Michelle Cheng is a personal injury attorney at Whitehurst, Harkness, Brees, Cheng, Alsaffar, Higginbotham, and Jacob, PLLC. Ms. Cheng...
Rocky Dhir’s dual interest in innovation and the law prompted him to establish Atlas Legal Research, LP in 2000....
In a state with roughly one hundred thousand lawyers, one might be surprised how disconnected and alone a practitioner can feel in Texas. But when you spread those numbers across more than a quarter million square miles, it becomes easy to understand why many attorneys struggle to connect with the larger community, find mentors, or receive meaningful support from an understanding community. Leveraging the power of social media, attorneys Andrew Tolchin and Michelle Cheng help to bridge the chasm by operating the Texas Lawyers Facebook group, which currently counts more than twelve thousand active Texas attorneys in its membership. State Bar of Texas Podcast host Rocky Dhir speaks with Andrew and Michelle to discuss the meaning of such a large, connected community, why it has succeeded, and some of the surprising things they’ve learned along the way.
Andrew Tolchin is the founder of the Texas Lawyers Facebook group. He is also a solo attorney and mediator and has previously served on the State Bar of Texas Board of Directors.
Michelle Cheng is an administrator of the Texas Lawyers Facebook group. She is also a partner at Whitehurst, Harkness, Brees, Cheng, Alssafar, Higginbotham, and Jacob, PLLC and has previously served on the State Bar of Texas Board of Directors.
Special thanks to our sponsor, LawPay.
State Bar of Texas Podcast
Fostering a Stronger State Bar through Social Media
Rocky Dhir: We would like to thank LawPay for their support of this show. LawPay’s online payment solution was developed specifically for lawyers to correctly separate earned and unearned fees so you can accept credit cards in compliance with ABA and IOLTA Guidelines. A proud member benefit of the State Bar of Texas, LawPay is trusted by more than 50,000 lawyers and integrated with more than 30 practice management solutions. Schedule a demo today at lawpay.com/texasdemo.
Intro: Welcome to the State Bar of Texas Podcast, your monthly source for conversations and curated content to improve your law practice, with your host, Rocky Dhir.
Rocky Dhir: Hi and welcome to the State Bar of Texas Podcast. Social media has been a hot topic for years now. We hear stories about surveillance, tracking and hacking through social media. As lawyers, we often discuss the evidentiary issues surrounding social media, you know what I mean, those cases where a litigant claims to have debilitating injuries only to later post videos of themselves hiking up Mount Rainier.
You know what it is? I know you do. But can we as lawyers use social media to enhance our practices?
Well, according to many speakers on the adaptable lawyer track at the State Bar annual meeting the answer is yes, but what about community. Can lawyers effectively use social media to build a community of professionals, let’s find out?
Today’s guests have done just that Andrew Tolchin is a solo attorney and mediator in Houston who has served as the State Bar Director. Michelle Cheng is a partner at Whitehurst, Harkness, Brees, Cheng, Alsaffar, Higginbotham & Jacob in Austin and is also a former State Bar Director. We’ve got some celebrities amongst us.
Together in their obviously very ample spare time, they run the Texas Lawyers Facebook Group. Let’s find out more about it. Michelle and Andrew, welcome. Thanks for being here.
Michelle Cheng: Thanks for having us.
Andrew Tolchin: Thanks for having us.
Rocky Dhir: Absolutely, absolutely. So tell us about this group a little bit. When did you guys start this up or was it both of you, one of you, tell us about that?
Andrew Tolchin: Well, I’ll start Andrew here. It was started back in 2014. I’m the one who initiated the group. There came a point where operating the group as a solo was difficult because you have to sleep and you can’t be there 24/7. So I invited Jason Rowe, who is not on the call and Michelle Cheng who is on the call to serve as administrators and they both accepted.
Rocky Dhir: And how long Michelle have you been an administrator?
Michelle Cheng: Oh gosh. It was sometime I think in late 2014, do you remember Andrew?
Andrew Tolchin: It’s probably early, early 15, it could have been January.
Michelle Cheng: Okay. So yeah, it was — so I think I recall Andrew was going on a vacation and so he needed some backup and that was about the time that he asked us to join him.
Andrew Tolchin: You were at Nathan’s Thanksgiving of 14. We were going on a cruise on Thanksgiving.
Rocky Dhir: And so you invited Michelle to be an administrator and then either you never — either you never relieved her or she never left, we’re not sure, right, it’s going to be one or the other?
Andrew Tolchin: We have a very good policy. I simply will not remove one of them. They have to remove themselves and that would be a very difficult thing to do. They overrule me. They have free rein to overrule me and they frequently do. They just vote and I lose the vote and I adhere myself to what they have decided.
Rocky Dhir: Well, and then it’s great because then you can blame each other. It’s like look, I got outvoted, right. So you can deflect responsibility.
Andrew, this is smart. I see what you’re doing here. This is good lawyering on your part.
Andrew Tolchin: Yeah, but we don’t publish to the group to vote. The decisions are the decisions but we know what they are between ourselves.
Rocky Dhir: So then you can deflect blame internally. So that’s even better. This is — I’m starting to see more and more layers of the genius that you have put into this. So how did the idea come up though? So it’s been what about five years that you’ve started this group, what prompted you to start a Facebook Group for lawyers?
Andrew Tolchin: Well, there had been Facebook Groups for lawyers before the way that some of them were being managed, may not have been as cohesive as maybe they could be.
Rocky Dhir: Okay.
Andrew Tolchin: And so I decided to create a one size fits all group with delineated standards that would be applied and it seems to have functioned well.
Rocky Dhir: What was the vision when you set this up? I mean what were you — what did you have in mind for what this would accomplish?
Andrew Tolchin: Texas is very, very big, we have a hundred thousand lawyers and many of them feel very alone and a lot of them are solos and they can’t just walk down the hall and ask another lawyer a question, and we wanted to give them the chance and the opportunity both to mentor other people and to be mentored, and that’s pretty much what happens in the group.
Rocky Dhir: Sure.
Michelle Cheng: I don’t know if you Rocky but the State Bar has had a couple of “social media platforms” specifically for the bar over the years, and I think another part of the idea of doing it on Facebook is that you want to go to where people are and people were already on Facebook whereas going to those other platforms they were having to go to a separate place that they weren’t necessarily used to going.
And so I think Andrew’s idea of doing it on Facebook was genius, because so many lawyers were already on Facebook were using Facebook on a daily basis and that really fed the size of the group in a rapid way I think.
Rocky Dhir: So when you say you want to go where the lawyers were and you said Facebook, why not LinkedIn? I mean there is lots of lawyers on LinkedIn as well, so what made you choose Facebook over other social media platforms?
Andrew Tolchin: Facebook has a social parameter to it that LinkedIn just does not have and Facebook groups allow for a more cohesive group to be created, where conversation is more likely to occur.
Rocky Dhir: Okay. Tell us more about that, like if you wouldn’t mind kind of let’s dive into that a little bit more. What is it that Facebook has that other platforms don’t? How do you make a cohesive group out of Facebook that maybe you can’t in other areas?
Andrew Tolchin: LinkedIn after Microsoft purchased them they started trying more and more to imitate what Facebook does, but they’re a little late, because these groups have already been created and there’s a bit of a moat now preventing people from creating groups because people have already decided where they’d like to spend their time. They’re brand loyal so to speak.
Some of the functions are reactions like that you can click that you like something or that you can respond with an emoticon. People can converse with each other and then have reply to a comment, creating a conversation, that’s just not as typical a thing at least among lawyers on LinkedIn as it is on Facebook.
Rocky Dhir: What about a platform like Reddit, Reddit has different groups, different sub-Reddits, could you possibly have done something there?
Andrew Tolchin: It’s possible but Facebook is king. Facebook has two billion members plus, a lot of those going to be attorneys and I guess history has demonstrated that the attorneys if you built it they will come and we built it in Facebook and they’ve come.
Rocky Dhir: So Michelle when Andrew talked to you about starting up this Facebook group, were you all-in right away or did you have reservations?
Michelle Cheng: I’ll be honest I had some reservations. I knew that one of the biggest challenges was going to be that in order to have the type of group that Andrew envisioned someone was going to have to actually check people at the door so to speak. And so, someone mostly Andrew, but occasionally Jason and I jump in will actually go and check each person who applies to be in the group to make sure that they are a licensed active Texas lawyer and that is obviously quite time-consuming and so I just — the sheer volume of it kind of overwhelmed me and I just thought who can do that and it turns out the answer is Andrew.
Andrew Tolchin: I’ve checked about 12,000 profiles at least just for that one group, probably more count the ones not put in.
Rocky Dhir: So Andrew is the bouncer?
Michelle Cheng: Yes.
Rocky Dhir: You’re the bouncer to the Facebook Club, this is awesome.
Michelle Cheng: That’s exactly what he is.
Andrew Tolchin: Yeah. And everyone knows we are about 2000 or 3000 gets the Welcome Notice.
Rocky Dhir: Oh really? And so, tell us about the Welcome Notice. What exactly is it written by you or is it?
Andrew Tolchin: It’s the bare-bones. Facebook is all about writing the bare minimum and people seeing it. There’s no like when you write something you don’t get their header and you don’t get their footer, all of their signature block and everything.
Rocky Dhir: Sure.
Andrew Tolchin: And you know this is confidential, it’s just the words. And so in that same vein, a Welcome Notice is welcome to Texas Lawyers Group you are admitted or welcome to the Texas Lawyers Group, so-and-so invited you, welcome. Just like, just enough to give them a familiarity with why they ended up there. Sometimes they chose to end up there, sometimes someone invited them. But they still now have to affirmatively accept, no one can just put them in there.
Rocky Dhir: Well I guess what I’m wondering is in your Welcome Notice or in any other notification do you have like rules for the group? Do you say look you can post about this you can’t post about that, here’s what’s okay, here’s what’s not.
Andrew Tolchin: The rules are posted to the group these are lawyers, those that actually want to see the group’s rules can look them up in the file section. We described that that’s where it’s located in the about that a brief description of the group that’s found on the right column.
So those few people that actually don’t know how to comport themselves or are curious about some exception can go and look, but by and large people just know to behave relatively professionally.
Rocky Dhir: I would hope that most lawyers would be professional. I guess my question is, is it supposed to be just about professional matters or have you noticed that lawyers get on the group and start sharing — sharing things about themselves personally just to other lawyers. You know saying something like look, I was up really late last night, does anybody know a good coffee joint in wherever? I mean is it always about work or some of the posts about non-work-related items as well?
Michelle Cheng: I think —
Andrew Tolchin: Every once in a while — go ahead Michelle, do you want to talk —
Michelle Cheng: I was just going to say, we do have some leeway for personal stuff. We also have a separate group called the Texas Lawyers Lounge, where people can post personal stuff with impunity.
Rocky Dhir: Okay.
Michelle Cheng: So the idea for Texas Lawyers Group to be mainly legal related articles and discussion, but occasionally someone will post a little something and more personal or less legal and we’ll let it slide just because it’s interesting, or fun, or whatever.
Rocky Dhir: Or at least not inappropriate I guess?
Michelle Cheng: Right exactly, and we also have a separate politics group, where politics is discussed. So we try to keep politics out of the main Texas Lawyers Group.
Rocky Dhir: So you got the main group, you’ve got the Lounge, you’ve got the Politics section, any other sort of subsections to this, to this system you’ve created?
Andrew Tolchin: There’s Practice Area Groups as well, you can probably find one for any practice area now.
Rocky Dhir: Oh interesting.
Andrew Tolchin: There is the States Group, there are some many family lawyers groups, there’s a bunch of criminal defense groups and so on.
Rocky Dhir: Oh, that’s interesting, and so when you joined — when you joined the Texas Lawyers Facebook Group and you become a member of that, does that automatically gets you access to the practice specific groups in the Lounge and the Politics sections and so on and so forth?
Andrew Tolchin: The answer is it kind of does, because anyone running any of these groups and we certainly run a bunch of them, but there are other people too. They get to see a notation from Facebook, that these people are members of Texas Lawyers –
Rocky Dhir: I see.
Andrew Tolchin: And that means they know that Andrew went and vetted them.
Rocky Dhir: Okay. How many members do you have now of say the big Facebook Group?
Andrew Tolchin: We have over 12,000.
Rocky Dhir: Out of the hundred thousand or so?
Andrew Tolchin: Yes, yes, out of the 103,000 somewhat attorneys located in Texas who are licensed, we have 12,000.
Rocky Dhir: So you’ve got — I mean again, roughly doing math — that means you’ve got about 12% of all the active lawyers who are Texas-licensed lawyers on this group, that’s pretty crazy, that’s amazing, that’s amazing.
Andrew Tolchin: That is true.
Rocky Dhir: Wow. Did you expect it to take off like this or was this kind of a pleasant surprise for you guys?
Andrew Tolchin: It was not a pleasant surprise. It was a lot of hard work to invite people but we saw that a lot of people were inviting their colleagues. There was a period of time when Facebook used to be kind of in the dark ages, metaphorically speaking. But we’re now in like the 20th century of Facebook, just over four years we’ve had that much progress. So thousands and thousands of attorneys have come on and adapted themselves through this networking opportunity.
Rocky Dhir: So when you say we were in the dark ages, you mean we as a legal community, we’re just not adapting and becoming open to Facebook the way perhaps we should.
Andrew Tolchin: I wasn’t saying that, but I would say that now that you bring it up. There was a point like Michelle was talking about, there was this bar circle thing that was just antiquated technology, that it didn’t really lend itself to human communication occurring all in a single page without signature blocks, instantaneously, but generate emails between people which is very disjointed conversation.
So there was that functional, technical Dark Age, but then there’s also people who were like afraid to be on Facebook that it was a place where their clients get in trouble and it took a little time for them to realize that in a closed group among just lawyers that had some regulation from the administrators that that could be a very effective place to talk about everything from statutes to case scenarios.
Rocky Dhir: Okay, so that actually — that brings up an interesting point. So there is State Bar Ethics Opinion 673, and I don’t know if — have either one of you had an occasion to review that or be familiar with it?
Andrew Tolchin: We both have.
Rocky Dhir: Okay. So, for those that are unfamiliar, it basically ask the question that if you’re in an online forum with a bunch of other lawyers and you want to ask questions, what are the boundaries of that and I’m paraphrasing in a very pithy fashion, but effectively it says, look you can talk about things in generalities, just don’t discuss any facts or any details that might give away who your client is.
Now have you seen users on Facebook or in this group do anything that you think kind of skirts the boundaries of that rule or has everybody played pretty well within its boundaries?
Andrew Tolchin: Really with the thousands and thousands of posts, it’s extremely rare, maybe five standard deviations over rare for somebody to post something that they didn’t mean to post, and they quickly will remove it when they realize. It’s just — nobody says, we found the knife that the prosecutor couldn’t find and it was somebody else and we’re going to crack the case tomorrow. That just doesn’t happen.
Normally people ask scenarios that are relatively common. The mom was supposed to return the baby, the mom didn’t show up. She went to Canada, what do I do? That happens to family lawyers probably once or twice a month.
Rocky Dhir: Right, right. So, so far 673 has not been — it’s not been a problematic issue for anybody on the group sounds like.
Michelle Cheng: It really isn’t. I mean I think most lawyers know that they shouldn’t disclose privileged information in a Facebook group even though it is a closed lawyer group.
Rocky Dhir: Sure.
Michelle Cheng: So people are pretty careful to just divulge whatever information that they can in order to get the help they need.
Rocky Dhir: So, just switching gears slightly — Michelle, I think maybe as you earlier who talked about the networking benefits of Facebook versus LinkedIn, I think most professionals already understand that, but specifically Facebook, what got you interested in becoming active, professionally active on Facebook and what have you found to be maybe one of the one of the benefits, being part of this Texas Lawyers Facebook Group?
Michelle Cheng: Well, I mean for me it very much was what we talked about earlier which is that’s where I happened to be. I love Facebook, I happened to love the minutiae of people’s lives and I think it’s fascinating in general.
So I was already there. I was already checking it, and when the group started, it’s just was an easy transition for me. And because I’m on there, because I’m an Administrator, I see pretty much every post that gets posted in the group, which as you can imagine is quite a bit, and so, there is a lot of requests for hey, does anyone know a great family lawyer in Austin or a great personal injury lawyer in Houston. And so that kind of networking goes on literally on a daily basis in the group, and I’ve definitely gotten cases that way without a doubt.
I think because I’m on there all the time, I throw my hat in the ring for all the medical malpractice and personal injury cases and I’ve noticed that people who don’t know me have started suggesting me because they see my name associated with that practice area on a regular basis in the Group.
Rocky Dhir: Are these people that you’ve never really met in person or did you already know them and now they’re — you’re just becoming top of mind now that they see your name on Facebook.
Michelle Cheng: People I have never met ever in person.
Rocky Dhir: Wow, because a lot of times when lawyers are referring matters, they will say, well look I want to know who this other lawyer is, because at the end of the day it’s my reputation that I’m putting on the line when I give a referral. But yet people are now doing this sight unseen with people that they have an online relationship with. Is that — is it just me or is that just downright fascinating that lawyers are — I mean it sounds like we’re kind of embracing this, this new normal. Am I reading that wrong?
Michelle Cheng: I think social media is the new normal. I mean I think there are a lot of people who make friends on social media and then they meet in real life later and sort of solidify that friendship in real life, but that is — that kind of is the new normal for this generation I think. I think we’re the old geezers who imagine meeting people in person first but that, that is definitely not the case anymore, I don’t think.
I mean think about dating. How many people do you know who are dating that insist that they must first meet somebody to go on a date with them in-person?
Rocky Dhir: Oh true.
Michelle Cheng: Everybody is online dating. It’s the same thing.
Rocky Dhir: Right. Now let’s talk a little bit about surprises. So, Andrew, I think you said you had a vision for when you started this. For either one of you, have you found any big surprises, things you didn’t expect to happen that have kind of come to fruition as a result of this group.
Andrew Tolchin: Well, the following of the group is more than I anticipated, I go for it. It speaks to the quality of the communications that are presented there, that it meets people’s interest levels.
We hadn’t expected a bit of a pro, you see here’s the thing, back when we first started, there were no lawyer groups that had more than 1500 people. So when we passed 1500 and then we passed 2000, then we passed 3,000, that we were breaking new ground at that point. Now over at 12,000, the State Bar of Texas recognizes us as a Bar Association, people associate with the respect to 00:20:27 Voluntary Bar Association in Texas.
We didn’t anticipate that. We’re very grateful, but nobody set out to create that.
Rocky Dhir: Michelle, how about you?
Michelle Cheng: It has absolutely exceeded my expectations. I really — I am very pleasantly surprised at how big the group is, how active the group is, what goes on there, the types of mentoring that we’re seeing, it’s absolutely fantastic I think. It’s incredible resource for young lawyers, solo practitioners like Andrew said. I’ve been really wowed by what the group has accomplished and I’m excited to see what it accomplishes in the future.
Rocky Dhir: Well, and that’s an interesting question, because what happens now? So it sounds like — it’s sounds like in the beginning it was a whole heck of a lot of work, but it sounds like it’s still quite a bit of work for all three of you. What’s your goal in terms of where this group ought to go and what you want to see it accomplish and why you keep pouring your blood, sweat and tears into it?
Michelle Cheng: For me it’s giving back and it’s very rewarding to see the types of mentoring like I said and trust that we see in the group. It’s just like being a bar leader or serving on the Bar Board, it’s another way of giving back to the legal community and making connections with other lawyers that you might not otherwise connect with.
Rocky Dhir: And Andrew, how about you?
Andrew Tolchin: I have a theory that because people can come in and ask questions about what they do not necessarily know or what is new to them, number one, you’re getting a lot of mentorship as Michelle mentioned before. But number two, those who might be in over their head will hopefully come to realize they’re in over their head based on the responses they’re getting.
And some of the responses will be private responses by a personal message. So people might be a little bit more forthcoming of their opinion of how much you may have possibly made a mistake in checking on a matter or going of certain route with that matter.
So either the attorney who did that might change their strategy or they may co-counsel or just refer the thing out. And in the grand scheme of things, I believe what we’re going to see is fewer disciplinary complaints because the matters were handled more effectively.
Michelle Cheng: We also see a lot of emotional support going on in the group. There are a lot of — well, I wouldn’t say there’s a lot, but we’ve seen posts where someone will say something sort of venting about a client who died or just sad things related to their clients so they’re having a hard time about and there’s a lot of support and outpouring of support from the other lawyers, and I think that is invaluable in this context, because again this person that can be sitting in their office, they don’t have to go anywhere and they can get the support they need immediately.
And I think that is something that lawyers very much need. There’s a lot of mental health problems in the legal community and having that support right there 24/7, I think is something that the group provides and it’s very heartwarming to see.
Rocky Dhir: And that is a very, very important function Michelle that you just mentioned, and certainly on this podcast, we have talked about it before and so we cannot emphasize enough just how important it is for lawyers to seek help from other lawyers, from TLAP, any place they can go to get the support that they need.
It’s interesting that you’re talking about people getting emotional support even on a public forum, because a lot of times when people are dealing with grief or they’re dealing with addiction issues or whatever might be troubling them, talking about it publicly seems to be the last thing that a lot of them want to do.
But it sounds like this group is allowing them a semi-public forum for discussing these issues. Is that something fairly new in this area or are people talking about it fairly freely about what’s troubling them?
Andrew Tolchin: Well, people is relative. We have 12,000 and a handful will open up about things that you might think that people used to not open up about, but then you’ll see many of the 12,000 responding and speaking to their own experiences. We’ve had posts about horrific tragedy, a client who killed her own child after losing custody.
Rocky Dhir: Oh wow.
Andrew Tolchin: That’s extraordinary, it’s horrible.
Rocky Dhir: Absolutely.
Andrew Tolchin: And people just need to vent and people not only need to vent, they want to help the other person, because they have been there where something bad happened and they may have not had a group like this or a support network.
Rocky Dhir: And then this provides them some means of finding other people who understand what they’re going through, which — that sounds like a very, very important function for a lot of lawyers I would imagine.
Now, let’s if you could walk us through, say we’ve got, let’s say we’ve got somebody and I’m asking for a friend, not me, maybe me, I don’t know maybe it’s a friend, but let’s say we got somebody who is not on Facebook, all right. So yeah, full disclosure I am not on Facebook. I don’t have a Facebook profile. And let’s say I wanted to join the Texas Lawyers Facebook Group, so I go in and I set up a Facebook profile, now let’s talk for a second about the mechanics for somebody who is new to this.
If I set up a Facebook profile, does that mean that I now have to reach out to old high school friends and I have to post about what I did on my Saturday or how do I keep my privacy and keep my anonymity while still joining the Texas Lawyers Facebook Group? Can you guys walk us through that?
Andrew Tolchin: Sure. You don’t have to have anything that indicates who you are beyond some kind of reasonably sounding name, okay.
Rocky Dhir: Okay.
Andrew Tolchin: It’s rare that people use pseudonyms, but when they do provided the pseudonym sounds like a normal person that’s not some fire alarm; though we wouldn’t accept someone named fire alarm but we would accept someone named John Jones.
Rocky Dhir: Right.
Andrew Tolchin: But they have to give their Bar Number and I’m going to call them individually and speak with them and make sure that they’re the one that controls that account, and then it’s really them and that they applied.
Rocky Dhir: Got it.
Andrew Tolchin: And we’re going to have a correspondence and some proof.
Michelle Cheng: And there is a way to elect on your profile in Facebook, so other people can’t see it other people. So I mean people in the group once you join the group would be able to see who you are, but if you’re worried about some stalker finding you or something then there are ways to make it very difficult for you to find someone in the group, I’m sorry in Facebook.
Rocky Dhir: So Andrew, if you see a profile come for Johnny Dangerously, that’s me, that’s my pseudonym. I hope it’s appropriate enough. So, I’m like Austin Powers.
Andrew Tolchin: There was an application and I believe you are a producer today and it was denied because we couldn’t find him in the Texas Bar registry.
Rocky Dhir: Oh man, okay, we’re going to have to work on this, we’re going to have to play up to work on this. Now, let’s talk for a second about those who might want to join this maybe they have questions, what’s a good way for them to reach out to you guys, if they’re not on Facebook?
Andrew Tolchin: It’s so easy to join Facebook that people — the easiest thing to do is to have a Facebook account and then click to join or send a private message what’s this Facebook thing, I’m sorry well, what is this Texas Lawyers thing, and then you send them a link and explain how to do it.
There are some — we will call them senior attorneys who are not very familiar with modern technology, I talk to them on the phone, do a little bit of explanation and they get it, and the lot of them participate.
Michelle Cheng: Andrew and I do accept phone calls from people who don’t know how to use Facebook Rocky.
Rocky Dhir: Well good. Well, in that case would you guys mind giving us good contact information for anybody who’s listening might be interested in joining what’s a good way to get a hold of you outside of Facebook, phone, email, whichever.
Michelle Cheng: Okay, so Michelle Cheng, my phone number is 512-476-4346 and my email is [email protected].
Rocky Dhir: That is a great, great website address. Okay, so that that plug aside, Andrew how about you?
Andrew Tolchin: Well, you can call me at 713 MEDIATOR, that’s 633-4286 or you can email me at [email protected].
Rocky Dhir: And guys, before we wrap up, I had one last question just occurred to me. One of the things that’s been in the news a lot lately about Facebook is privacy concerns, and monitoring and hacking and all this type of thing. Has there been any concern that you guys have come across about people saying look, is Facebook monitoring our exchanges and can they learn things about our practices or about the issues we’re facing and used that in some way. Is that a concern that’s been aired or a concern that you guys think needs to be discussed?
Andrew Tolchin: There is no question that Facebook does that because they look at all content to determine what information we want to see first. They’re always triaging based on what we’re talking about our subject matter to decide what gets our eyeballs, but at the end of the day, it’s like when you’re playing poker, okay, only you can protect your cards from being lost when the dealer takes them.
If you don’t put a chip on top of your cards or hold them with your hand, you might lose them. The same is true with your private information. You can decide what you’re willing to share and what you’re not, and keep it within what you believe to be reason.
Rocky Dhir: And so I guess and especially if you’re talking in the State Bar, in the Texas Lawyers Facebook Group that especially holds, holds true for State Bar Ethics Opinion 673, you got to be very careful what you post, because others besides lawyers could be seeing it.
So I guess it just — it all goes back to being careful and using discretion, is that fair?
Andrew Tolchin: Yeah.
Rocky Dhir: Okay.
Andrew Tolchin: The reality is the more open people are with their facts, the more they’re going to get help and the more educational it will be. It’s just really rare that somebody says something that’s so unique and unusual and trade secretive that the other side just wouldn’t have ever known it.
Rocky Dhir: Sure. Okay, well fair enough. Well guys, that is all the time we have for today unfortunately, but I want to thank my guests Michelle Cheng and Andrew Tolchin for joining us.
You guys Rock, and of course, I want to thank you for tuning in.
By the way this podcast is brought to you thanks to the generous support of LawPay. Yay, LawPay.
If you like what you heard today, please rate and review us in Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or your favorite Podcast app. Until next time, remember, life’s a journey, folks. I’m Rocky Dhir signing off for now.
Outro: If you would like more information about today’s show, please visit legaltalknetwork.com. Go to texasbar.com/podcast. Subscribe via Apple Podcasts and RSS. Find both the State Bar of Texas and Legal Talk Network on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn or download the free app from Legal Talk Network in Google Play and iTunes.
The views expressed by the participants of this program are their own and do not represent the views of, nor are they endorsed by the State Bar of Texas, Legal Talk Network, or their respective officers, directors, employees, agents, representatives, shareholders, or subsidiaries. None of the content should be considered legal advice. As always, consult a lawyer.
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State Bar of Texas president Randy Sorrels and Houston Bar Association president Benny Agosto, Jr. share what to expect from their terms in office...
Asha Rangappa discusses the history, current status, and a possible solution to our country’s problems with disinformation and “fake news”.
Wil Haygood, award winning author, explores his book, Showdown, to give listeners an in depth perspective about why he wrote it.