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Why Lawyers Love Facebook

By Aline Miranda on November 6, 2011

Lawyers love social networking sites such as Facebook and Linkedin because they can be evidentiary gold mines. Most people don’t think twice about posting personal information on these sites without realizing who may be viewing this information or how they may be using it.

An injured client who posts photos of herself crossing the finish line at the La Jolla Half-Marathon can bet she’s going to have some explaining to do when those photos come up at her deposition. Are those photos fair game in her injury lawsuit? Just as technology continues to evolve and change the way we interact with each other, the law continues to change too.

The SD County Bar Association recently issued an ethics opinion cautioning attorneys against using social networking sites for the purpose of gathering information against opposing parties in lawsuits. It is important to note, however, that the use of social networking to gather information is not by itself an ethics violation, but how the attorney goes about doing so may be a violation.

Specifically, attorneys cannot contact someone they know is represented by another attorney, so sending a friend request to a represented person violates attorney ethics. What about hiring an investigator to do? What about if the other party is not yet represented because the lawsuit has not yet been filed? Is it an outright lie to send a “friend” request to someone for “un-friendly” purposes?

Most social networking sites permit users to place limits on who may view your personal information. Use them!

You can read more about how lawyers use social networking sites here: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1904147,00.html#ixzz1cxH2UsvH