The Ethical Limits Of Attorney Social Media Investigations

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Over a billion. That is the number of people who interact on social media. Last quarter alone, Facebook boasted over 1.4 billion users. LinkedIn has 347 million members, Instagram has 300 million, and Twitter has nearly 290 million. YouTube acclaims more than a billion users.

Given these figures across a variety of different social media outlets, it did not take long for the legal profession and social media to intersect, and attorneys are catching on. Indeed, attorneys are increasingly turning to social media for investigative purposes and as an informal discovery tool. But while Rule 1.1 of the New York Rules of Professional Conduct ("NYRPC") requires competent representation of a client, nowhere has an attorney’s aptitude in social media been specifically delineated. But as social media continues to thrive, and ethics opinions proliferate regarding an attorney’s use of social media, this is beginning to change.

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