BGD Attorney Comments on Social Media Ruling from ABA
A recent opinion issued by the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility advises attorneys against attempting to connect with or “friend” jurors on social media. BGD attorney Margaret Christensen commented on the opinion in a recent article from the Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists.
The ABA opinion goes beyond direct communication from the attorney to the juror (i.e., a private message or a message on the juror’s Facebook wall) and discusses automatic notifications issued by the social media site. For example, the social networking site LinkedIn notifies users of profile views and users cannot prevent these notifications. Because it is the site making contact with the user- as opposed to the attorney- the ABA does not consider this to be impermissible contact. Other commentators disagree, as discussed in the article published by the Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists.
Christensen stated that social media can be useful in hinting at a potential juror’s background or past experiences, which may be relevant to a case. Thus, ignoring social media all together may not be the best strategy for attorneys.
“Social media poses a strategic dilemma,” said Christensen. “If you don’t review it and miss something obvious that’s important to your case, you’re potentially looking at a malpractice suit.”
Read the full article from ACEDS here.