Tuesday, 15 January 2013

From Zero to 140: the Law's Fastest Interview with Charles Christian



















This is the law's fastest cross-examination where the respondent has to give up an answer between Zero and 140 characters. Today's interviewee is barrister, Reuters correspondent and Legal Tech blogger Charles Christian. Here it goes:

Brian John Spencer: What are you up to right now?
Charles Christian: Right now I'm in a cocktail bar in downtown St Paul, Minnesota



BJS: Why and where did you choose to read law?
CC: Ludicrously I wanted to be a politician so I did my Bar finals at the College of Law in London


BJS: What does the law mean to you?
CC: In practical terms - altho I once used to write a lot of legal columns - it taught me a discipline for analysing problems


BJS: What about the internet?
CC: The Internet is the essential communications channel of the moment - we had paper, we had telegraphic, now we have the interweb


BJS: When did you get online?
CC: I was first online with Compuserve email in about 1982 and launched my first website in 1996


BJS: When did you jump onto Twitter, LinkedIn etc.?
CC: First joined Twitter in 2008 but not really active till 2009 - LinkedIn, I'm on it but I find it boring


BJS: What do your friends and family make of you Tweeting?

CC: Mrs C aka @janeitlegal also on twitter & in the words of Gary Numan "my friends are electric" so they are here too


BJS: Why do lawyers have such a mistrust of technology and social media?
CC: It's the Olde Worlde Legal Mindset - they still see law as a 19th century profession not a 21st century service industry


BJS: Should we encourage more legal silver surfers (older generation people)?
CC: Age has nothing to do with it - law attracts more than its fair share of Young Fogeys


BJS: Are you a blogger?
CC: Yes - I run 2 blogs: LegalTechnology.com day job, the other UrbanFantasist.com for my fiction


BJS: Thoughts on blogging and what it can do?
CC: I'm biased as I'm in the publishing & communications industry - it's how your reach your audience in the digital age. If you have a message & a market, you blog


BJS: Social media and the rule of law, do they make a happy couple?
CC: No because the law is always playing catchup & is about 15 years behind the digital curve


BJS: What about social media & law practice - what role does social media have to play?
CC: Lawyers need to communicate with clients on the platforms clients use - in 2 years Facebook-type communications will be the norm


BJS: Reaction to Keir Starmer's draft guidance for social media prosecutions please?
CC: It highlights the fact the law cannot keep pace with the digital age - we need to rethink how we make tech-related laws


BJS: The French government wants to censor hate speech on Twitter - good or bad?
CC: The French are the French but I don't see them as a major player in the digital world


BJS: Have you been trolled?

CC: Yes, by a crazy person with a crazy agenda


BJS: Thoughts on legal apprenticeships?

CC: I'm so old I had to pay my pupil master & his clerk 50 guineas to train - apprenticeships are just another distraction from fact legal training is in a mess


BJS: Should law school teach digital literacy?
CC: They need to realise there is more to digital literacy than teaching students how to do Lexis searches but by the time most students hit law school they are already literate


BJS: What about primary schools, should they teach coding and more fundamental computer literacy skills?
CC: Teachers lack the teaching skills & by the time the kids grow up, those skills will be outdated - I think they already embrace general computer literacy well enough given limited resources


BJS: Should law school teach commercial acumen like marketing and business development?
CC: A big YES - lawyers need to realise that law is only one very small part of running a successful legal practice today


BJS: Any personal online/social media ambitions?
CC: I'm in the middle of a website rebuild & developing more apps - I don't set myself targets because in 18 months they'll be obsolete & I'll need to reinvent myself


BJS: Advice for aspiring solicitors and barristers?
CC: Accept that law is a 21st century business & run your practice accordingly - if you don't fall asleep at night still clutching your iPad you are not trying!

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