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Friday, July 19, 2013

Social Media Reminder: How Facebook, Twitter and Instagram Can Hurt Your Legal Case

Today I would like to share a letter I send to all my clients regarding SOCIAL MEDIA. While we all enjoy some time on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, we must also be cautious in our use of it when we have on-going legal matters!

Below is my letter.

Dear [Client]:

I am writing to give you some advice regarding your use of social media as you progress through the legal matter you have placed in our hands. As I am sure you are aware, social networking in the form of Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, blogs and the like has become an almost ever-present part of our lives. Often we post a thought, feeling, or photo without a second thought. In the context of a legal issue though, these actions can come back to cause you headache and hurt your case. I must advise you to use extreme caution when making any sort of post, update, or upload to any social networking outlet.

It is becoming a common practice for attorneys to request copies of any and all posts any interested party, including you, have made online. While we can object to these requests based on their relevancy, the courts have nonetheless been agreeing with defendant’s requests and allowing them access. In fact, District Attorneys Offices and other government agencies have successfully subpoenaed these accounts.

• Do not mention anything about your case online.
• If you absolutely must post something about your case online, do not enter anything detrimental to your case.
• You can’t delete it! Once you post something to a social networking site, it is there forever. If you go into your accont and delete anything, it still exists as the social networking site’s administrator keeps archives of all the material ever on their site. The information or photos still exist and parties can ask for, and usually get it.
• Review your “privacy settings” to make sure they are set at the tighest restraint possible. You can change them back once your case is over but while your matter is pending, it is in your best interest that your “friends” not be aware of your every move.

Please keep in mind that these warnings are not to make your life more difficult, but rather they are for your own protection, as well as to help make your case as solid as possible. Being cautious and making smart choices will help your case in the long run.

Please feel free to call our office at (718) 317-5007 if you have any questions at all or need additional information. Also, I ask that you contact us immediately if you feel you have any sort of social networking post that might be detrimental to your case so we may assess how to deal with it, and what action to take.

- Kevin McKernan

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