I think ‘libel’ and ‘slander’ are the most used online words other than the standard: I, and, but, well, you know and lmao.
As a website owner, what do you watch for when you get popped your first ‘legal beagle’ email? And how can you know if it’s legit or not? Let’s take a peek at BoingBoing’s current adventure:
A person claiming to be a Canadian barrister has threatened to sue Boing Boing over a post about a Canadian family that refuses to return an expensive digital camera they found while on holiday in Hawaii.
While following this nail biting, thrilling example of online Law & Order, I learn a few things to watch for:
- A lawyer contacting you on a legal issue should be able to spell the word: lawyer
- The lawyer should understand what the difference between libel and slander is.
- The lawyer should be able to spell counsel
- The lawyer should be registered or listed *somewhere* in that country (law associations, bar associations, business listings, yellow pages, etc.) of that country.
If there are blatant inconsistencies such as the ones above, you have good reason to question the legitimacy of someone’s legal background.
As Cory notes:
This is illegal. Falsely presenting oneself as a lawyer is a violation of provincial laws like Ontario’s Law Society Act. As Lisa Hall, Acting Manager, Communications and Public Affairs for the Law Society of Upper Canada explained to me, “We could prosecute him on the basis of the Act. If he’s trying to practice law, that’s quite something. On conviction he’d be liable to a fine of not more than $10,000.”
I can’t say for sure that this cyberwarrior is not a real lawyer, and I can’t say for sure that BoingBoing isn’t in REALLY REALLY BIG LEGAL TROUBLE.
But I can say I’m finding this story a good watch & learn.
We all get to sit back and learn how to ferret out and deal with Pretend Lawyers – if any try to mess with us online (btw).
What would I recommend to anyone dealing with a ‘Pretend Lawyer’? Contact the ISP. No more internet for Mr. Crazy.
ETA: The post title is heavy sarcasm btw