Litigation and Social Networking Sites

Lawyers aren’t the quickest to adopt technology, but those of us that litigate have been using social network sites such as LinkedIn, MySpace, and Facebook to investigate witnesses or clients for some time. And we’re probably all familiar with the reports of Dr. Flea’s blogging of his own trial. But this week, there have been two good posts/articles on the use of social networking sites in litigation.

Yesterday, the National Law Journal had an article about using social networking and internet sites to help vet jurors. Those lawyers that have actually tried a case or two know that jurors are generally nervous and don’t want to talk during voir dire. Getting them to trust you and share their views and biases is an art. But not so on the internet. People are much more candid in their blogs or social networking profiles. The article has some great anecdotes of attorneys and consultants learning crucial information from relatively easy internet searches.

Also yesterday, Kevin O’Keefe noted that reporters from the Spokane Spokesman Review and the Idaho Statesman are covering a murder trial via Twitter. Twitter seems like the perfect vehicle to keep interested parties continually updated. The thing that impressed me was the list of groups following the Twitter feed. Several other media outlets are using the Twitter reporting to keep them up to date.

The real question is “where do we go from here?” I’m not the most tech savvy guy (though I do have LinkedIn and Facebook profiles), but it’s clear that social networking is going to have drastic impact, for better or worse, on how litigation progresses. For those of you smarter than me, I’d love to hear your thoughts on these implications.

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