Lawyers may look at what jurors post online, but only if it’s available to the public-ABA Journal

 

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The gist of Formal Opinion 466 is that, within the context of Model Rule 3.5, a lawyer may review a juror’s or potential juror’s various postings on websites and social media. But the lawyer should not send jurors or prospective jurors a request for access, either directly or indirectly, to their social media accounts because doing so would amount to a violation of the prohibition in Model Rule 3.5(b) against ex parte communications with jurors that are not authorized by law or court order.

In a footnote, the ethics committee states that it “does not take a position on whether the standard of care for competent lawyer performance requires using Internet research to locate information about jurors that is relevant to the jury selection process. We are also mindful of the recent addition of Comment [8] to Model Rule 1.1. This comment explains that a lawyer ‘should keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology.’ “

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The ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility Formal Opinion 466(PDF), issued April 24.

Read entire ABA Journal article here.

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