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Judicial Candidates Face Off on Facebook

Gildea_gopher While some lawyers debate whether to dip their toes into social-networking site Facebook, others are charging through the surf and diving right in. The latest twist in how the legal profession is using social networking comes from Minnesota, where dueling candidates for a seat on the Minnesota Supreme Court are hoping to find friends on Facebook.

Mark Cohen at Minnesota Lawyer Blog discovers that both Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Lorie Skjerven Gildea and her opponent in the upcoming election, Hennepin County District Court Judge Deborah Hedlund, have profiles and more on Facebook. Justice Gildea's profile includes the requisite Facebook photo album, which is devoid of any particularly compromising pictures, save for one of her hugging a person in a gopher costume. Also on her profile is a link to her campaign Web site and lists of events related to her campaign. Her profile lists 55 supporters and includes several comments on her Wall, such as, "Hello, I think we're like fourth cousins, but I really like the way you do things!"

Hedlund's full profile is open for viewing only by her Facebook friends. Not being one, I can't tell you what's on it. But she also has a group, Deborah Hedlund for Minnesota Supreme Court. Like her opponent's Facebook page, hers also points to her campaign Web site. But there are no photo albums or postings on her Wall and the group so far has just 12 members. In the true spirit of social networking, Hedlund also has a YouTube page, where she has posted seven videos showing her with her family, with a woman who describes herself as a "victim" of the court system and with a former police officer.

"While campaigns run in the virtual world are all well and good, I would like to see a real-world debate between Gildea and Hedlund," Cohen writes in his blog post. "They have one of the more engaging races, and I think it might generate some public interest in judicial elections." Minnesota Lawyer newspaper has much more on this year's judicial elections.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on October 16, 2008 at 11:49 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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