This post is part of a series titled “Social Media Do’s and Don’ts for Lawyers.” Click here to view all the installments.
Today’s trial attorneys commonly deal with social media issues at trial. They leverage social media to research potential jurors and consider special issues of authentication to make sure social media evidence is admissible. Attorneys can improve their changes of prospering at trial by staying on top of social media issues.
DO Research the Social Media Footprint of Potential and Actual Jurors
Before a trial even begins, lawyers should use social media to research potential jurors. Voire dire is an important tool to identify impartial jurors, but it is not a perfect one. Social media research enables lawyers to conduct additional and more thorough research on jurors—both potential and actual—to identify biases and, in extreme cases, disqualifying misconduct.
The American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility recently made clear that attorneys may (and should) review potential jurors’ Internet presences leading up to and during trial. Although the ABA cautions against sending “friend requests” or actively “following” jurors online, the committee recognized the value in understanding a juror’s activity on the Internet to protect the integrity of the legal process. It advocates for the inclusion of such Internet research in lawyers’ trial management plans to avoid overlooking bias or misconduct that could result in a disservice to their clients and our judicial system.
This post was devised from “SOCIAL MEDIA DO’S AND DON’TS FOR LAWYERS,” Business Disputes 2014 Course