Friday, 11 January 2013

From Zero to 140: the Law's Fastest Interview with Anthony Lyons

This is the law's fastest cross-examination where the respondent has to put up an answer between Zero and 140 characters. Today's latest interviewee is legal tweeter Anthony Lyons (@ParalegalTony). Here it goes:

Brian John Spencer: What are you up to right now?
Anthony Lyons: Studying for LPC exams this week. Got a long few nights ahead of me!

BJS: Why and where did you choose to read law?

AL: Law with French Law & French Language at UEA, personal development & financial reward was my motivation.

BJS: What does the law mean to you?
AL: An exciting & ever evolving subject that is continually being developed. Reflects my ambitions (or so I like to think).

BJS: What about the internet?
AL: A tool, a resource & something which everyone should learn to make best use of, whatever their needs may be.

BJS: When did you get online?
AL: As soon as I could. Remember Netscape? (that's old).

BJS: When did you jump onto Twitter, LinkedIn etc.?
AL: About 2 years ago & only just capitalising on it over the past year with @ParalegalTony.

BJS: What do your friends and family make of you Tweeting?
AL: My girlfriend hates it bless her. Reading & writing about law in my spare time? Crazy.

BJS: Why do lawyers have such a mistrust of technology and social media?
AL: Many are anxious not to put something out there they can't remove. Understandable but "you got to risk it for a biscuit!"

BJS: Should we encourage more silver surfers (older generation people)?
AL: Not really. If they are interested or have need then they'll discover it.

BJS: Are you a blogger?
AL: Occasional & very interested in making the time to get better at it. Got any tips?

BJS: Thoughts on blogging and what it can do?
AL: Diary / Networking Tool / Portfolio - it's a great platform to share your ideas.

BJS: Social media and the rule of law, do they make a happy couple?
AL: The fallacy of the latter is highlighted by the former, so yes.

BJS: What about social media & law practice - what role does social media have to play?
AL: Engagement & access. SM is proving to be a very useful tool for those who firms might not normally listen to.

BJS: Reaction to Keir Starmer's draft guidance for social media prosecutions please?
AL: It's been somewhat sensationalised but might be needed having had to explain Facebook in court. Parents should teach their children better manners, not judges.

BJS: The French government wants to censor hate speech on Twitter - good or bad?
AL: M Hollande has some interesting ideas - can't say I agree with them all. Such a nanny state, it's why I moved back.

BJS: Have you been trolled?
AL: Yes, was great fun at first but got tedious quite quickly. Please don't.

BJS: Looking forward what does the web and social media hold for lawyers & law practice?
AL: Client care, brand awareness, employment opportunities, business development - lots!

BJS: Thoughts on legal apprenticeships?
AL: It's an interesting concept that should incorporate a lot of what accountancy firms have developed. I'm for it.

BJS: Should law school teach digital literacy?
AL: No. It's not difficult to teach yourself & I'd be against paying for the privilege. Less education & more personal initiative please.

BJS: What about primary schools, should they teach coding and more fundamental computer literacy skills?
AL: Definitely. I learnt how to write HTML & Java. All kids should have the opportunity - big fan of the Raspberry Pi.

BJS: Should law school teach commercial acumen like marketing and business development?
AL: This I do agree with. Legal education providers really need to lose any sense of technocratic lawyers & teach the practical skills needed by all.

BJS: Any personal online/social media ambitions?
AL: Plenty! I'd like to create my own blog & make regular contributions to legal magazines. Maybe even assist in setting up a "training contract portal".

BJS: Advice for aspiring solicitors?
AL: Dig deep - financially & emotionally.

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