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Do NOT Tweet, Blog, or Any Other #*$&! While in Trial

So on LinkedIn I am a member of a group called Legal Blogging. Various bloggers share their thoughts on a variety of topics. It’s a pretty decent group, although I wish there were less Social Media marketing BS.

Regardless, today someone posed the question:

  • Is it ok to blog or tweet during a jury trial? I just heard of a lawyer who got in trouble for blogging during a trial.

I replied first stating:

I can’t imagine why any lawyer worth their salt would think that’s appropriate. In regards to jurors, this posted today at Law.com is relevant:

http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1202473157232&Facebooking_in_Court_Coping_With_Socially_Networked_Jurors

A couple of other people chimed in, before the original poser of the question made a comment:

I wrote to the author of the article Keith Lee referenced. Here is what he said:

My thanks to you for your kind remarks. I can’t say I’ve specifically looked at this from counsel’s perspective, but I can see no legal basis to prohibit trial counsel from using social media or search engines during trial. Obviously, the Rules of Evidence and local court rules remain applicable to the use of any information counsel may seek to introduce into evidence. But merely using any non-disruptive technology during trial is (in my opinion) permissible.

All the best,

Harry A. Valetk
www.valetk.com

Here is my just posted reply:

Reporters, spectators, or anyone else not involved in the trial are free to do whatever they like. The question is it okay for lawyers. My answer is below, but here’s a TL;DR for those in a hurry: Hell no.
Look, it’s one thing to Google potential jurors during voir dire, that’s been given tacit approval by at least one State Appellate Court, actually serves a legitimate purpose, and is probably in the client’s best interest:
http://www.law.com/jsp/lawtechnologynews/PubArticleLTN.jsp?id=1202471933994


It’s a whole different thing to be “live blogging” or tweeting or whatever while actually in trial. You’re no longer devoting your full attention to the matter at hand and are instead broadcasting your activity for either self-promotional or narcissistic purposes.
That’s not providing your best possible advocacy to your client, it’s rude to opposing counsel, and disrespectful to the judge and the Court. There’s no compromise on this issue, period.

I’ll update this post later if discussion continues. I seriously can’t imagine it could. It blows my mind that someone would think it’s appropriate to be tweeting or whatever the hell while actually engaged in trial. It just doesn’t fit into my mindset it seems so brain-dead stupid.

 

 

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About Keith Lee

I'm the founder and editor of Associate's Mind. I like to write, talk, and think about law, professional development, technology, and whatever else floats my boat. I practice law in Birmingham, AL.

4 comments

  1. I agree completely. It’s one thing to use computers in the courtroom to advance your presentation, completely another to tweet from the courtroom while engaged in trial

    • Exactly. You should have seen my initial response that I didn’t put up anywhere. This is the toned down version.

      I tried to think of some justifiable reason last night as to why an attorney might do so and can’t even come close to thinking of a reason.

  2. It’d be like a priest blogging at a funeral. (You know they’re hip with the tech too.)

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