But before the hegemonic rise of social media, lawyers couldn’t use all evidence available to them simply because it existed. There are ethical rules that attorneys must abide by, and that doesn’t change simply because social media marks new and untested territory. Writing for the New York Law Journal, Christopher Boehning and Daniel Toal point to three recent ethics decisions that may shed a light on the future of social media use for lawyers. These ethical quandaries include the debate over social media use among jurors, propriety issues surrounding social media, and the prospect of “friending” potential witnesses.
There’s no doubt that the stunning rise of social media has left an indelible impact on most professional industries. But few industries have been as troubled by ethical questions following the rise of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter as the legal industry. Many lawyers embraced social media in their personal lives, but professional conduct has proven to be a completely different story, especially when it comes to connecting with other lawyers, or even judges. While the American Bar Association has not yet set clear guidelines for ethical social media use among lawyers, the issue has sparked a spirited debate here in California and throughout the country.