Conducting Online Research Of Jurors Just Got Less Perilous – Or Did It?

April 30, 2014  |  The Insider: White Collar Defense and Securities Enforcement

Last week, the American Bar Association’s Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility (“ABA”) gave lawyers the go-ahead to scour jurors’ or potential jurors’ publicly available social-media accounts, blogs, and websites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Although lawyers might be expected to breathe a sigh of relief that they can now engage in conduct considered acceptable and expected for most other professions without the threat of professional discipline, the opinion actually adds to the confusion about how existing ethical rules are applied in the ever evolving world of social media. Indeed, just two and three years ago respectively, two different New York bar associations concluded that the conduct the ABA just approved could be considered a violation of New York’s Rules of Professional Conduct. Thus, whether and how an attorney can research his or her jury pool may depend entirely on where that jury is sitting. [...]

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