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Social Media Ethics Guidance Needed (New Jersey Law Journal)

New Jersey Law Journal, June 12, 2017

Social Media Ethics Guidance Needed

“Many of us remember the admonitions given when we began practice: Confidentiality is paramount, and what is said in the office does not get repeated at home or elsewhere. These fundamental lessons still apply, even in the age of social media. Similarly, rules of professional responsibility governing advertising, solicitation and communications with those represented by counsel apply in the case of social media as well, to name just a few….One area of concern relates to jury selection. ABA and New York City Bar Association formal opinions permit attorneys to review the social media page of a potential juror, but not to communicate with the jurors or potential jurors. An endeavor or attempt to “friend” a potential juror has been criticized, even if done without deceit. In another area, the evolving case law concerning discovery seems to permit access to information posted on websites that would be available to a ‘friend,’ but the discovery should be the product of a formal application to the court for same—not by an endeavor to ‘friend,’ which may be fraudulent or misleading.”

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