Glenn Manishin, Partner, Duane Morris, Washington, D.C.
Who owns user-generated content on the social Web? That’s a big unsettled question in the courts these days. But it’s almost certain that when the question gets answered, Glenn Manishin will be there—most likely leading the way.
A pioneer in the synthesis of law and technology policy, Glenn has built a practice that involves helping companies’ shape how legislators, courts and regulators classify and treat their products and services, particularly those in computing, Internet and telecom. An intellectual property, policy advocacy attorney at Duane Morris in Washington, D.C., Glenn has seen his practice broaden over the years as technology has developed from telecom to software and from Internet to mobility and content. It is no boast to say that he has participated in virtually all of the most important regulatory, judicial and legislative proceedings affecting telecommunications and the Internet for the past two decades. He is the only antitrust lawyer to have appeared as counsel-of-record in both the United States v. AT&T and United States v. Microsoft monopolization cases. In 1995-96 he represented Netscape when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was answering, “What is this new animal of the Net?” (Netscape WAS the Internet). The case resulted in the inauguration of federal policy that survives in large part today.
Currently Glenn is focused on competition issues such as ownership of the underlying technology methods and assets for a new technology, for example, VoIP (voice over Internet protocol). He is also in the middle of resolving the question of user-generated content. If most, or all, digital content can be “shared,” how do older rules regarding proprietary rights apply in this new environment? And this includes his own rights.
A remarkable communicator, it’s no surprise that Glenn embraces the tools of the social Web, uses them effectively and ultimately develops new business simply by talking about the things he’s passionate about and loves to do. As of May 2010, Glenn has published over 5,000 Tweets (not including direct messages), he has 4,500+ followers on Twitter, and is the author of two blogs: LexDigerati: Lawyering for the Information Age (lexdigerati.com) and Glenn’s Web (manishin.com). Glenn’s content is all over the Web as it gets linked to and from other blogs, Web sites, Tweets and online discussion forums.
It’s not surprising that this exposure has resulted in new business. Glenn has been approached and retained by some half-dozen clients in the past twelve to eighteen months from social-media contacts. He believes the familiarity created by a user’s “social stream” tends to build closer relationships from the start—a great improvement over cold calls. And while the full significance of the social Web may be lost on some lawyers, many of whom are conservative creatures and tend not to embrace change quickly, he believes that the attorney who does not “get it” probably won’t get as many clients or as much work as these new modes of communication develop further.
Glenn’s objectives for social media are fairly simple; satisfy a passion for early adoption, find industries, partners and clients that excite, and generate work that is satisfying rather than burdensome.
The secret to his success: discipline. Social media addiction can consume one’s life, he says. To balance this, he dedicates 30 minutes to it each morning, and periodically through the course of the day reviews and posts stories regarding current events emphasizing law and policy that may be of interest to others. Says Glenn, “Content is the best promotion.”
Excerpted from the forthcoming book, social.lawyers | transforming business development, by Jayne Navarre to be published in Fall 2010 by Thomson.
Glenn Manishin, interview with Lance Godard, November 11, 2009, 22Tweets, live Twitter interviews with practicing lawyers who Tweet, http://22tweets.com/?s=glenn.