Sara Williams, @lincolnslawyer, is a pupil barrister at 5 St. Andrew’s Hill, who specialises in criminal law.
Twitter is for…
Twitter. A couple of years ago I would never have thought I’d be part of such a phenomenon. Isn’t Twitter just for computer geeks and wizz-kids? Apparently not. I tweet regularly to a loyal following of just over a thousand and I fit into neither of those categories. In fact, I’m so stuck in the last century in terms of technology that I still have video tapes. Yep, the ones you used to buy blank and record your favourite films onto, complete with adverts from 1992.
What’s good about Twitter?
The best thing is that anyone can join in the party. It’s not some members-only club with a padlock on the door. Some individuals choose to have private profiles, and I respect their choice, but it’s not something I’d do. If I’ve something to say then I ensure it’s Twitter-friendly and (I hope) not going to get me into any hot water.
Who do I follow?
Some are individuals I know personally and enjoy receiving updates on their daily activities. Many are fellow barristers or somehow linked to the legal profession, all of whom are excellent sources of legal information. @CrimeLineLaw may be the best example of this. Crimeline has been an invaluable tool to the criminal practitioner for some time, but now we’ve Andrew Keogh himself, ready and waiting to answer your stuck-at-court-and-can’t-get-though-to-anyone-in-chambers-who-might-know queries.
What can Twitter offer?
I use Twitter as a means of getting up-to-date information whenever I want it. I keep an eye on breaking news stories and the latest legal updates. It’s never been easier to access so much information. Twitter can also be a way of getting your views heard. In 2010 I spent three months in Texas assisting a team of attorneys representing individuals accused of capital crimes. Whilst I was in the US, eager to promote the abolition of the death penalty, I set up a blog about my experiences. Of my seven followers, the two most loyal were my mum and dad. When I joined Twitter, Gary Walters, (@legalacademia) founder of Stret Law, got in touch asking if I would write an article about my experiences in Texas. I did and it’s since attracted several hundred followers. Opinions have been varied, but that’s the wonderful thing. Twitter can be a platform for debate, discussion and education.
The other week I was representing a young man due to stand trial. I arrived at court and went to speak to the prosecutor and, low and behold, he recognised me from Twitter. We were ‘followers’ of each other. Oddly enough this was rather re-assuring. Mr Prosecutor went from being a nameless CPS agent to someone who I knew a little about, and could trust not to pull a fast one with the judge when my client turned up ten minutes late. Before you ask, the case was adjourned. It was a bit of a “no-score draw”, as Mr Prosecutor put it. Or, as I put it, I’ll win that one another day.
Next Wednesday: Jane Batcheler, @SgtBatcheler, a response Sergeant for Sussex Police on why she tweets.
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