Here is a brief list of selected resources on legal problems arising from social media. The resources listed here concern problems for law-related individuals or organizations — such as lawyers, judges, jurors, legal witnesses, civil litigants, those accused of crimes, criminal investigators, courts, etc. — arising from the use of social media or similar digital communications technologies:
- The ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20 has an issues outline that includes legal ethical issues arising from law-related use of social media and other technology;
- Carolyn Elefant and Nicole Black discuss legal ethical issues facing lawyers who use social media, in their new book, Social Media for Lawyers: The Next Frontier (ABA 2010);
- The Cleveland Plain Dealer case — in which anonymous comments originating from a county judge’s online account were posted on a newspaper’s Website, on news stories about cases over which the judge presided — reported by Jacqueline Lipton;
- Richard Lardner discusses the use of social networks by law enforcement in his article, When Tweets Can Make You a Jailbird, Associated Press, March 17, 2010;
- The March 2010 issue of The Texas Bar Journal is devoted to the topic, “The Attorney and Social Media”, and includes an article on legal ethical issues by Debra L. Bruce entitled Ethically Navigating the Social Media Landscape (HT Ms. Bruce);
- A majority of leading U.S. divorce lawyers surveyed report seeing an increase in the use of evidence from social networking sites in U.S. divorce cases, according to survey results released on 11 February 2010 by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers;
- Professor Joel Reidenberg discusses a number of incidents during his presentation at Harvard’s Berkman Center on 1 February 2010;
- Leslie A. Gordon discusses problems arising from lawyers’ connecting to clients on social networks, in her article, Why Can’t We Be Friends? Having Clients as Facebook Friends Is Full of Risks—and Rewards, ABA Journal, February 2010;
- Courts in Florida, New York State, and South Carolina have recently issued ethics opinions respecting judges’ use of social networks; see the discussion in this December 2009 post by Bruce A. Campbell;
- Steven C. Bennett of Jones Day discusses legal ethical issues arising from lawyers’ use of social media in his article, Ethics of Lawyer Social Networking, 73 Albany Law Review 113 (2009);
- Ken Strutin discusses legal and ethical issues arising from surreptitious gathering of legal evidence from social media in his article, Evidence on Social Networking Sites, New York Law Journal, 11 November 2010;
- A number of these issues were discussed at the conference entitled Social Networks: Friends or Foes? Confronting Online Legal and Ethical Issues in the Age of Social Networking, sponsored by the University of California Berkeley School of Law and held in Berkeley, California 23 October 2010;
- Robert Ambrogi discusses several incidents in his article, When What Happens Online Ends Up in Court, IMS Expert Services BullsEye, September 2009.
- Ken Strutin discusses a number of juror incidents in his article, Jury Deliberations in the Digital Age, New York Law Journal, 30 May 2009.
In response to the juror incidents described by these authors, courts have created jury instructions regulating jurors’ use of technology and social media. Click here for Molly DiBianca’s list of such jury instructions for U.S. state and federal courts.