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Tweet Practice

December 11, 2017

Just when things were looking bleak for the legal industry economy, an unlikely hero stepped forward last week to unveil a new and quite possibly lucrative practice area: tweeting.

Milt Policzer

By Milt Policzer

Courthouse News columnist; racehorse owner and breeder; one of those guys who always got picked last.

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Just when things were looking bleak for the legal industry economy, an unlikely hero stepped forward last week to unveil a new and quite possibly lucrative practice area: tweeting.

In case you missed it, a lawyer for the president of the United States claimed that he wrote a tweet that we thought came from the president.

If the president had written that tweet, it looked like he’d been obstructing justice. If his lawyer wrote it, it looked, well, weird.

Admittedly, there are some out there who don’t believe the lawyer wrote the tweet, but I don’t know why it’s so hard to believe. After all, most people don’t write their own contracts. Heck, most people don’t even read their own contracts. That’s what lawyers are for.

So it makes perfect sense for the president to have a lawyer draw up his tweets. They are, after all, what passes for official government policy these days. Just because they’re short, to the point, and often make no sense doesn’t mean they’re any less valid.

Most contracts are long, not to the point, and often make no sense. The only real difference is length.

Which brings me back to my original realization – this is a whole new practice area for lawyers: tweet creation. Clients shouldn’t have to risk legal exposure by drafting their own tweets.

I see this as a legal specialization. Classes in Tweet Law are liable to be extremely popular in law school. If nothing else, the essay assignments are going to be very short.

How does this specialty work in practice?

To begin with, the lawyer must be available 24 hours a day because a client (or president) may feel an inclination to tweet at any time. If the client has a sudden urge to confess to a crime or annoy a foreign power, the attorney must insist on drafting the tweet so that the client has appropriate deniability or can claim the tweet was issued on advice of counsel.

The lawyer must also be prepared to share a bathroom with the client.

The lawyer must be well-versed in Twitter terms of art, such as “covfefe,” in order to fully express the client’s intentions. The tweets should go out without being read by the client.

Remember: deniability.

Taking Offense? There’s a very famous lawyer whom I won’t name that I used to make fun of a lot because he used to regularly turn his somewhat run-of-the-mill cases into faux crusades by holding press conferences and playing a bit fast and loose with the facts. Think of a more benign Donald Trump.

Media – particularly editors, despite groans from reporters – would eat up the act because there were always good quotes and often good photos. And to bolster the act, the lawyer would also claim to represent a social justice group that I’m pretty sure he just made up.

I seem to have been the only one to question the existence of this organization and nobody paid attention to me.

I bring this up because another “group” – described as “an unincorporated association which includes at least one California citizen and taxpayer” – filed a suit in Sacramento last week defending our constitutional right to use whatever pronouns we like.

The plaintiff was something called Taking Offense, which is a great Twitter handle, but I haven’t seen any evidence of its existence. Be that as it may, Taking Offense has taken offense to a state law that says care facilities and their staff may not “willfully and repeatedly fail to use a resident’s name or pronouns after being clearly informed of the preferred name or pronouns.”

That seems fairly clear, doesn’t it?

The lawsuit, however, goes on at length about how the law is unconstitutionally vague because there are many, many pronouns, and it’s also unconstitutional because it denies equal protection to people with “gender dysphoria.” I don’t understand how, but that’s what the suit says.

We don’t want to live in a world where the Pronoun Police are locking up our health care providers.

There’s no telling how many people have been arrested under this law. Really, there’s no telling.

Tell me if you see it happen.

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