Facebook posts are now being used for evidence in divorce cases. Before long, social media based evidence will pop up in all sorts of other cases. When you sign clients to retainers, are you talking to them about their social media usage?
Talk about it right away
When a client signs a retainer, you need to talk about social media. Have they already talked about the case on Facebook? Did they tweet about how much they hate the Defendant or the Plaintiff?
If there is information out there, you need to know about it. Just as important, your client needs to understand the ramifications of continuing to blab to the entire internets about their case.
What are your options?
One solution is simply telling your client to stop using Facebook, Twitter, etc. Realistically, however, most people are so accustomed to using social media that is not going to happen.
Another option is to tell them not to talk about anything related to their case. That is probably too vague, and clients’ versions of what is important to their case can be different from your opinion. If you can define it, and you trust your client, this is worth a shot.
You could tell your client not to post anything. They can still go on Facebook and read other people’s posts, but they should not post anything themselves. Again, this requires believing your client can restrain themselves.
You can also sit down with your client and make sure all their social media accounts have the proper privacy settings. The problem here is that you never know what was already made public. In addition, if the other party is somebody they know, the other party still probably has access to their social media updates.
The best practice? Stop using it during a case
You might have a hard time getting a client to agree to a vacation from social media. But if they are serious about their case, it is the only way to definitively avoid their next post becoming evidence in their case.