Law-School Deans Give Troublesome Message Board Some Free Publicity
from the good-work dept
Last week, some law students complained that message-board postings were costing them job offers. Though the claim seemed pretty questionable, apparently the front-page story in the Washington Post about it was enough to get the deans of some law schools all riled up. The head of the schools at Yale and Penn are now whining about the site, though they realize they're powerless to stop it. The problem here isn't the site itself, really. While the content of postings on it may be annoying, if any messages are defamatory or libelous, the subjects of such messages have legal recourse against the author, not the forum provider (thanks again to Section 230 of the CDA). The problem (if there really is one) is potential employers reading way too much into some anonymous messages on some web site. While granted that it's probably some HR-tron checking out applicants' Google results, you would imagine that law firms would have some competency in evaluating the credibility of sources, and anonymous web postings, particularly when they're as colorful as the ones described in this case, wouldn't rank too highly. Now, of course, by sending out letters about the site to their schools' communities, the deans have simply made any students who didn't know about the site very aware of its existence, which will do little to accomplish their goal of eradicating it.