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The American Bar Association (ABA) Standing Committee on Ethics and Professionalism recently published a formal ethics opinion about trial lawyers’ obligations when it comes to social media and jurors. While the ABA approved attorneys’ searches of publicly available information, it drew the line at friend requests.
ABA ethics opinions aren’t law, but they do help guide trial lawyers’ behavior. The recent decision regarding social media gives lawyers the go-ahead to “passively” research their jurors’ online identity.
Any time an attorney goes to trial, one of the biggest questions in his or her mind is who will be sitting on the jury. One person with a bias or improper prejudice can be the difference between a win and a loss. That’s why trial lawyers put a lot of time and energy into picking the best jury available.
The ABA’s opinion has given a green light to lawyers searching for jurors’ publicly accessible web presence. This includes websites, blogs, and social media profiles. But they are not allowed to request access, such as by sending a “Friend” request on Facebook. They can only view whatever is freely available to the public.
Given the current trend to document everything from major life events to last night’s dinner, this could give attorneys a wealth of information from which to infer a juror’s preconceptions coming into trial. It will help trial experts like the lawyers at Christensen Law to better predict the outcome of trials and take some of the mystery out of picking a jury.
The No-Fault Insurance providers have no fear of juries. If you are trying to collect benefits make sure you have a lawyer who is just as experienced in the court room. Our trial record is among the top 1% of trial attorneys in Michigan, and we have won multi-million dollar verdicts for our clients. If you need lawyers who know their way around the courtroom, contact Christensen Law for a consultation today.