MAJ GENERAL LIST SERVER USAGE AGREEMENT


Updated August 2016

(1)        Qualification for List Serve Participation: 

Participation in any MAJ list server is limited to voting members, out-of-state members paying in-state dues and lifetime members who also meet the qualifications, terms and conditions set forth in the MAJ Bylaws and this General List Server Agreement.

 

(2)        Documents and Signature Requirements:

Any qualified MAJ member who wishes to participate in any of the MAJ list servers must expressly agree to the terms and conditions set forth in the bylaws and this agreement.  Such agreement shall be acknowledged by the participant’s signature on the last page of this agreement or by confirmation to MAJ headquarters via any electronic means approved by the Executive Director and permitted by the MAJ Bylaws, such as those used for the membership-application process.  This agreement shall supersede any previous similar agreements between the member and MAJ.  MAJ may modify the terms of this agreement from time to time and any such modification shall be effective upon written notice to the member, which may be transmitted electronically.

 

(3)        Standards of Conduct for List Server Participants:

a.         Pursuant to Sections 3K and 3L of the MAJ Bylaws, participation in MAJ’s list servers is subject to oversight by the List Server Committee. 

 

b.         Although an attorney may be a voting member of MAJ and still do limited (no more than 30%) civil-defense or criminal-prosecution work, the primary purpose of MAJ and its list servers is to promote the just causes of plaintiffs in civil actions and defendants in criminal cases.  Therefore, use of the list servers in any way whatsoever to aid, promote, assist, inform or educate the defense of a civil action or the prosecution of a criminal case is expressly prohibited and is a violation of this agreement.  By entering into this agreement, each participating member acknowledges and gives his or her oath to MAJ and each MAJ member that he or she will not purposefully use any MAJ list server or any information obtained therefrom to promote, assist, inform, educate or in any way aid the defense of a civil action or prosecution of a criminal case. 

 

c.         It is understood and acknowledged that by entering into this agreement, each participating member has ethically agreed to protect communications on MAJ list servers as “confidential” as provided by Rule 1.6 (Confidentiality of Information) of the Mississippi Rules of Professional Conduct.  And furthermore, that disclosure of the content of any information posted on any MAJ list server to any person or entity not expressly authorized to receive such transmission or disclosure is a breach of this agreement and may constitute a breach of Rule 4.1 (Truthfulness in Statements to Others) and/or Rule 4.4 (Respect for the Rights of Third Persons) of the Mississippi Rules of Professional Conduct.

 

d.         If a participating member of any MAJ list server receives a subpoena, discovery request, court order or other request for the production of list server messages, attached materials or the contents thereof, he or she is required to oppose production and immediately notify the List Server Committee, unless prohibited from doing so by law.  The List Server Committee shall promptly notify the sender of the message in question, as well as any respondents thereto, and take such additional action as it deems warranted. 

 

e.         No posts shall be forwarded or otherwise distributed to non-subscribers, including members of the media.  Participants may forward list server posts to members of their office staff who are non-subscribers, but it is the duty of every participant to express to any such staff members the importance of list server confidentiality and to specifically instruct him or her that no post, or any part thereof, shall be shared with any other person.

 

f.          No participating member shall talk about or in any way communicate the contents of messages with non-subscribers if such communication might harm, prejudice or make public a member or client’s ideas, questions, strategy or plans; may in any way aid, enlighten or inform an opponent; or, otherwise harm or embarrass a member.

 

g.         Unless required by law, no list serve messages or attached materials shall be reproduced or referenced in any document filed in court or furnished to a civil defendant, civil defense interest, criminal prosecutor, member of the media, or any other person not authorized by this agreement to receive it.

 

h.         List serve posts are easily forwarded and reproduced.  Despite the best efforts of the List Serve Committee and MAJ, no list serve can be made completely secure.  Violations of this agreement are serious and will be dealt with appropriately, but participants are urged to use caution when posting to the list servers, understanding that their posts may be made public.

 

i.          As stated above in Paragraph (1), participation in any MAJ list server is limited to voting members, out-of-state members paying in-state dues and lifetime members.  The qualifications for membership are defined in Section III of MAJ’s Bylaws, including the requirement that an attorney’s “caseload, time, and/or income through the practice of law is not comprised, either individually or through a firm, of thirty percent (30%) or more representing civil defendants in Tort cases or representing governments in criminal prosecutions.”  Therefore, depending on the percentage of an attorney’s caseload, time or income, or that of his/her firm, it may not be a violation of the bylaws or this agreement for a voting member of MAJ, who is also a list-serve participant, to represent some civil defendants or serve as a part-time judge or prosecutor. 

Therefore, this subsection is designed to minimize the risk of list serve posts concerning matters where members may be adverse or in cases pending in the courts of members who serve as a part-time judges or prosecutors.

In the event that a participant on an MAJ list server becomes aware that he or she is opposed or adverse to another participant in any litigation, whether as a party, witness, attorney or otherwise, it is the duty of such participant to immediately alert the other participant of such action and to the fact that he or she is on the list server.

Any member who servers as a part-time prosecutor or judge shall notify the Executive Director of this fact.  The Executive Director shall maintain and, upon request, make available to all members a list of members who are part-time prosecutors or judges. 

No member who serves as a part-time prosecutor or judge may be a subscriber to the Criminal Law List Server. 

In the event that a participant on an MAJ list server who is a part-time prosecutor or judge becomes aware that a post has been made concerning a matter which is, or may be, pending in his or her court, it is the duty of such participant to immediately alert the other participant thereof, and to the fact that he or she is on the list server. 

 

j.          Should a participant’s law practice change in such a way that he or she is no longer eligible for participation in one or more list servers, he or she shall immediately notify MAJ and be removed therefrom.  Each time a member posts to any of MAJ’s list servers, the member is certifying that he or she continues to be qualified for participation under the terms of this agreement and the bylaws.

 

k.         It is important for each participant to know the identity of the person making list serve posts and how to contact him or her.  Therefore, at a minimum each list serve post shall include a tag line with the participant’s name, address, telephone number and email address. Members are not required to use their entire names, but each post should include the member’s last name and the first name he or she commonly uses.

 

l.          List serve user names should identify the member by name.  User names such as “jdoe@gmail.com” or “John’s list serve account” are prohibited.  Members are not required to use their entire names, but at a minimum user names should include the member’s last name and the first name he or she commonly uses. 

 

m.        Do not send administrative messages through the list servers.  Messages such as “remove me from the list” should be directed to the MAJ Executive Director or other staff member employed and working at MAJ Headquarters in Jackson.

 

n.         Stick to the topics intended for discussion.  MAJ list servers were created to foster the free exchange of information between its members to promote the just causes of plaintiffs in civil actions and defendants in criminal cases.  The occasional off-topic post is permitted, so long as it complies with the rules and spirit of this agreement, but the designation “OT” should appear in the subject line of any such post.

 

o.         Be polite, professional and civil.  Do not attack others.  Discussions on MAJ list servers should stimulate conversation, not create contention.  If you have a conflict with another member that you want to email him or her about, do so privately.

 

p.         Members shall not post anything to MAJ list servers that would tend to embarrass, scandalize or ridicule another member or the association as a whole.  Defamatory, obscene, abusive, profane, threatening, offensive and/or illegal posts are prohibited.

 

q.         No participant shall make an attack on a judge or attorney that would be in violation of Rule 8.2 of the Mississippi Rules of Professional Conduct.

 

r.          MAJ’s list servers should be treated as the professional forums they are, and not as social-media websites.  While the occasional good-natured banter between members is permitted, posts concerning bona fide disputes between members are prohibited.

 

s.          Upon request, participants shall fully cooperate with any investigation by MAJ, the List Server Committee, Executive Committee and/or Board of Governors.

 

(4)        Procedure and Protocol for Handling Allegations of List Server Agreement Violations and Participant Qualifications:

a.         The List Server Committee will endeavor to identify and resolve all alleged list server violations subject to the provisions of the MAJ Bylaws and this Agreement.

 

b.         Any participant who is aware of a violation of this Agreement shall immediately report that to the List Server Committee.

 

c.         Any reported or suspected violation of this Agreement shall be investigated by the List Server Committee and ruled upon pursuant to the provisions of the MAJ Bylaws and this Agreement.

 

(5)        Consequences for General List Server Violations or Disqualifications:

a.         A violation of this Agreement, depending upon its severity, may result in a friendly reminder of the terms of this Agreement and the MAJ Bylaws; a private reprimand; a public reprimand; removal of the participant from the list servers; termination of membership in MAJ with or without membership dues being refunded; reporting of the violation to The Mississippi Bar or any other state bar associations where the participant is licensed; reporting of the violation to any appropriate Court or governmental agency; and/or, other consequences deemed appropriate by the List Server Committee.

 

b.         The List Server Committee shall be responsible for enforcement of this Agreement, pursuant to the procedure described in Section 7 hereof and Section 3 of MAJ’s Bylaws. 

 

c.         In cases of egregious or intentional violations, the List Server Committee is empowered to immediately suspend the offending member’s access to all MAJ list servers.  For all other violations, suspension of list server privileges or imposition of other consequences shall be done with at least 5 days notice to the participant.

 

(6)        General Provisions:

a.         As with any community, there are guidelines governing behavior on the list serves. By joining and using any of the list servers you agree that you have read and will follow the rules and guidelines set forth herein and pursuant to the MAJ Bylaws.

 

b.         This Agreement shall become effective upon its approval and execution by the member and shall continue in full force and effect until terminated by the member or MAJ.

 

c.         Each participant expressly acknowledges and agrees that his or her list server privileges may be suspended or terminated for violations of this Agreement or the MAJ Bylaws, for violations of the Mississippi Rules of Professional Conduct, should the member’s law license be suspended or revoked, should his or her practice change such that he or she no longer qualifies for list server participation, or for failure to pay MAJ membership dues.

 

d.         This Agreement shall be governed by and construed under the laws of the State of Mississippi. 

 

e.         MAJ accepts no responsibility for the opinions and information posted on the list servers and disclaims any warranties with respect thereto.

 

f.          The invalidity or unenforceability of any provision of this agreement shall not affect the validity or enforceability of any other provision thereof, which shall remain in full force and effect.

 

g.         Failure to exercise or delay the enforcement of any part of this agreement shall not operate as a waiver of MAJ’s right to enforce future violations.

 

(7)        Authority for this Agreement:

The MAJ Bylaws contain the following two sections on list servers:

 

Section 3K.  Email List Servers underwritten by MAJ

To the extent practical and possible, MAJ will cause to be operated a General Email List server for the members who are paying in state dues or have paid a lifetime membership and also meet the qualifications, terms and conditions set out in the MAJ List Server Agreement as determined by the List Server Committee.

MAJ shall also be authorized to create other list servers based on need and practicality for purposes of serving paralegals, student members, politics, or other venues to which the above qualifications may not be required.

In the event that any provision of the bylaws and the MAJ List Server Agreement are in conflict or in any manner deemed ambiguous relative to List Server Privileges, the terms and conditions of the List Server Agreement shall control.

 

Section 3L.  List Server Committee

The President shall each fiscal year appoint a committee of at least 3 people known as the List Server Committee.  The List Server Committee shall be comprised of the MAJ Vice President, at least one Board of Governor member and at least one MAJ list serve qualified participant who is not on the Executive Committee or Board of Governors and who has been a member of MAJ for at least five years.  The List Server Committee each year shall submit a proposed General List Server Agreement to the Board of Governors by the first Board Meeting after the Annual Convention for vote and approval.  The General List Server Agreement shall address, but not necessarily be limited to, the following:

    (1)        Qualification for List Serve participation;

(2)        the document and signature requirements for General List Server Participants;

(3)        the Standards of Conduct for General List Server Participants;

(4)        the Procedure and Protocol for handling allegations of General List Server agreement violations and participant qualifications; and,

(5)        a statement of the consequences for General List Server violations or disqualifications.

The List Server Committee shall be responsible for enforcement of the General List Server Agreement and shall provide reasonable process to the alleged violator and shall notify the Participant in writing immediately upon enforcing any consequences.  Such written notification shall simultaneously be provided to the President and Executive Committee members.  Any written notice contemplated hereunder may be given via electronic means, including via email.  Any aggrieved General List Server Participant, within 7 days of receiving the decision of the List Server Committee, may appeal the List Server Committee’s decision to the Executive Committee by notifying the President in writing.

The President shall promptly notify the Executive Committee members of any such appeal and provide them with the written notice thereof.  The Executive Committee shall deliberate and vote within 14 days of receipt by the President of written notice of the appeal.  For the purposes of such vote, a special meeting may be called pursuant to Section 5B of the MAJ Bylaws, but it may also be conducted via telephonic or other electronic means.  At any such meeting, the Executive Committee may vote to affirm, reverse or modify any decision of the List Server Committee.  Any party aggrieved by the decision of the Executive Committee may appeal to the Board of Governors by so notifying the President in writing.  The President shall cause any such appeal to be placed on the agenda of the next regular or special meeting of the Board of Governor, whose decision shall be final.