Pittsburgh Legal Back Talk

Legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus.

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Facing Up to the Reality of Social Media.

Posted By Cliff Tuttle | August 22, 2011

No. 691

What ethical issues are there for lawyers who do or don’t invade adversary’s Facebook pages looking for evidence?  I have heard various pronouncements that it may be malpractice for a lawyer to fail to investigate the opponent’s Facebook Page.  But what about the subterfuge that might be required to gain access?  I am assuming that the adversary would not admit you as a friend if she knew exactly who you are. So, is it ethical to disguise your identity or to engage a spy to friend your enemy?

Yet, some people do let their legal adversaries through the electronic door. And that door swings both ways.  Tell your client to shut down the page for the balance of the litigation. Even then, with the techniques available in recovering metadata during electronic discovery, it may be too late.  Expect interrogatories that will probe the existence of websites, present and past.  And consider requesting the information from the other side.  Its a new world, baby.

Personally, I have no interest in setting up a Facebook page, ever.  There are only so many hours in a day.



CLIFF TUTTLE has been a Pennsylvania lawyer for over 45 years and (inter alia) is a real estate litigator and legal writer. The posts in this blog are intended to provide general information about legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus. However, this information does not constitute legal advice and there is no lawyer-client relationship created when you read this blog. You are encouraged to leave comments but be aware that posted comments can be read by others. If you wish to contact me in privacy, please use the Contact Form located immediately below this message. I will reply promptly and in strict confidence.

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