Friday, July 25, 2014

Philadelphia Bar Association Issues Advisory Opinion on Facebook Issues

The Professional Guidance Committee of the Philadelphia Bar Association recently issued guidelines on how lawyers may instruct their clients on the use of social media sites after the legal representation has begun.  Among the highlights were the following notes:

-"A lawyer may advise a client to change the privacy settings on the client's Facebook page, but may not instruct or knowingly allow a client to delete/destroy a relevant photo, link, text or other content."

-"Though an opposing party may not be able to gain unrestricted access to a client's information after the privacy settings are changed, the opposing party may still obtain the information through discovery or subpoena."

"A lawyer may not instruct a client to either alter, destroy, or conceal any relevant information regardless [of] whether that information is in paper or digital form."

-"A lawyer must obtain a copy of a photograph, link or other content posted by a client on the client's Facebook page in order to comply with a Request for Production or other discovery request."

Here is a LINK to the Pennsylvania Law Weekly article on the topic by P.J. D'Annunzio which serves as the source of this Tort Talk blog post.

Here is a LINK to the Ethics Opinion.  I send thanks to Attorney Thomas Wilkinson, Jr. of the Philadelphia office of Cozen & O'Connor for securing a copy for me.

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