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The Blurred Boundaries of Social Networking in the Legal Field: Just 'Face' it

60 Pages Posted: 29 Aug 2010 Last revised: 15 Dec 2012

Kathleen Elliott Vinson

Suffolk University Law School

Date Written: March 25, 2011

Abstract

A lawyer gets a third party to "friend" an adverse witness; a judge "friends" defense counsel during a trial; a juror posts a poll on Facebook regarding the outcome of the case; a litigant boasts on Facebook about how much money he anticipates recovering from his lawsuit; a lawyer vents on Facebook about judges, clients, and opposing counsel; photos of a defendant on Facebook show him taking drugs and holding a weapon; and photos on Facebook show a lawyer partying during the week when he was granted a continuance due to an alleged death in his family. Indeed, Facebook can be a treasure trove of information, not only for those with whom users intend to share, but also to unintended audiences. This article explores how the pervasive use of Facebook plays a role in the legal field, puts a spin on old legal issues, and creates new ones. The article examines how the relationship between social networking and members of the legal community continues to evolve, and blur the boundaries between personal and professional worlds, creating legal and ethical minefields. The article provides guidance regarding how to navigate these minefields, beginning in law school and continuing throughout the legal profession.

Suggested Citation

Vinson, Kathleen Elliott, The Blurred Boundaries of Social Networking in the Legal Field: Just 'Face' it (March 25, 2011). University of Memphis Law Review, Vol. 41, p. 355, 2010; Suffolk University Law School Research Paper No. 10-37. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1666462 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1666462

Kathleen Elliott Vinson (Contact Author)

Suffolk University Law School ( email )

120 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02108
United States

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