UGA Professor Peters presents to judges in Uzbekistan about social media

Pleased today to welcome a contribution from Jonathan Peters, an associate professor who has faculty appointments in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication and the School of Law at the University of Georgia. (prior posts) Professor Peters teaches and researches in the area of media law and policy, and his post here discusses his participation April 19 in an online training event hosted in Uzbekistan.

I was honored recently to deliver a presentation to judges and court staff in Uzbekistan about using social media to engage with the public and press. The event was hosted by the Supreme Judicial Council of the Republic of Uzbekistan, as part of a project facilitated by the U.N. Development Programme and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

One purpose of the project, called the “Rule of Law Partnership in Uzbekistan,” is to strengthen public access to the nation’s judicial system as well as public trust in it. And a key priority has been to grow citizen knowledge of the courts and to improve the society’s legal culture and the population’s overall legal literacy.

To those ends, I shared an American perspective on how U.S. judges and courts—at the federal and state levels—use social media. Courts often use Twitter and Facebook to share information, and judges often use them to humanize themselves and to discuss matters of trial and appellate practice with other members of the legal profession. Over 42 percent of court public information officers reported in a recent survey that using social media is essential for courts to communicate with the public. As one put it:

There is an emerging recognition among courts that in order to fulfill the requirement that courts are transparent and understandable to the public in the new media age we are in, courts will have to play an active role in facilitating access to information and perform many of the same functions that traditionally have been performed by the now dwindling traditional media.

Judicial ethics codes even encourage judges to engage with their communities in various ways. For example, Canon 4 of the Code of Conduct for United States Judges says that a “judge may … speak, write, lecture, and teach on both law-related and nonlegal subjects.” The associated commentary says that “[c]omplete separation of a judge from extrajudicial activities is neither possible nor wise; a judge should not become isolated from the society in which the judge lives.”

But judges must be careful on social media not to run afoul of certain limits on their extrajudicial speech, namely those on ex parte communications and their ability to comment on cases pending before them. They also must avoid activities that would reflect adversely on their impartiality or independence. As I told the judges in Uzbekistan, recognizing the risks posed by specific types of content will enable them to create and maintain a social-media presence that is effective and productive—and respectful of the unique responsibilities of a judge.

Register now: “U.S. Employment Law in a Global Context” training, May 15-17 at Georgia Law’s Atlanta campus

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Registration is now open for “U.S. Employment Law in a Global Context,” a three-day training to be held May 15 to 17, 2019. Presented jointly by the Dean Rusk International Law Center and CIFAL Atlanta, the training will take place at the University of Georgia School of Law Atlanta Campus, located in the Buckhead neighborhood, 3475 Lenox Road NE.

The training is designed to enable in-house counsel and human resources managers of international companies operating in the United States, or companies seeking to establish a presence in the U.S. market, to obtain specialized knowledge in evolving areas of employment law. Legal academics and students of labor and employment law are also welcome to register to attend.

Prominent experts in the field of employment law will teach the courses, which will be offered for CLE credit. In addition, the full schedule includes a networking reception, lunch with speakers, and a closing ceremony. Training topics and speakers include:

Wednesday, May 15Day 1 speakers

  • U.S. Labor and Employment Law: An Historical Overview (Daniel P. Hart, Partner, Seyfarth Shaw LLP)
  • U.S. Labor Law Today (Kyllan B. Kershaw, Partner, Seyfarth Shaw LLP)
  • Fair Labor Standards Act (Brett C. Bartlett, Partner, Seyfarth Shaw LLP)
  • Employment Discrimination & Title VII (Myra Creighton, Partner, Fisher Phillips)

Thursday, May 16

  • Sexual Harassment Law Day 2 speakers(Amanda A. Farahany, Managing Partner, Barrett & Farahany LLP)
  • Privacy Issues in the Workplace (Montserrat C. Miller, Partner, Arnall Golden Gregory LLP)
  • Dispute Resolution Systems in the Workplace & Arbitration Clauses in Employment Contracts (Daniel M. Klein, Klein Dispute Resolution)
  • Global Mobility Best Practices (Teri A. Simmons, Partner, Arnall Golden Gregory LLP)

Friday, May 17

  • Day 3 speakersTrade Secrets, Non-Compete Clauses, and Employee Mobility (Keshia M. Tiemann, Associate, Greenberg Traurig LLP)
  • Consideration of Employment Contracts for a Global Workforce (Susan Nofi, former General Counsel, Heidelberg USA, Inc.)

CIFAL Atlanta is part of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) network of international training centers. We at the Dean Rusk International Law Center are delighted to partner with them, continuing our twenty year history of providing trainings for foreign judges and other legal practitioners.

Details and registration available here.

Law in Practice International Interns from Sheffield Hallam University visit the Dean Rusk International Law Center for training

Group Photo RuskLast week, the Dean Rusk International Law Center was pleased to co-present a training with Sheffield Hallam University on criminal law and human rights for eight law students from the United Kingdom. Organized by Dr. Laura Kagel, Associate Director for International Professional Education at the Dean Rusk International Law Center, and Michael Edwards (J.D. ’93), Senior Lecturer in Law and Criminology at Sheffield Hallam University, the four-day training was designed to prepare the students for summer internships they will undertake in the United States.

Faculty from both universities lectured on relevant topics. These included Georgia Law professors: Anne Burnett on legal research methods; Andrea Dennis on evidence; and Russel Gabriel on criminal procedure. From Sheffield Hallam University Michael Edwards lectured on international human rights and civil rights law, and Christopher Riley presented an introduction to the student internships.

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In addition to coursework, while in Athens, the students observed court proceedings and met with local prosecutors and court officials to hear about treatment and accountability courts. Organized by Assistant District Attorney Paige Otwell (J.D. ‘88), this discussion was particularly engaging, as England currently only has one court of this type. Students also spent a day learning more about advocacy and civil rights in Atlanta. The students prepared and presented mock oral arguments at the Supreme Court of Georgia, toured the State Capitol, and visited the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Site. They also visited the Southern Center for Human Rights, where Tiffany Williams Roberts, Community Engagement and Movement Building Counsel, discussed the work of the non-profit law firm.

The Sheffield students are now off to begin their internships; we wish them an enriching summer!