Social media has become a crucial, over-arching, and integral part of life today. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, WhatsApp and Instagram are just a few of the many social media platforms in use today – and are impacting the way humans interface with each other. A Pew study in 2015 showed that 74% of all Internet users use social media on a daily basis – a figure which has undoubtedly grown since then. As a result, attorneys must appreciate the impact of social media on their clients and on their legal cases-- failure to understand how social media can impact clients’ cases could lead to a malpractice complaint. Savvy attorneys will want to take advantage of the wealth of information available on social media to advance their client’s positions, as well as potentially discredit the opposition or unfavorable witnesses. Attorneys need to be aware of the vast number of social media sites that contain potentially relevant information, and how to advise their clients on preservation, collection, and how to get this data admitted in court. Screen shots are not sufficient any longer, as the data cannot be effectively captured that way (video content, comments, “likes,” emoticons, and embedded links to other sites will not be captured appropriately.) Attorneys need to understand the proper mechanisms for preservation and ultimately the use of such data in court.
Diane Kilcoyne, Esq. of ESI Group (in collaboration with Jennifer Ellis, Esq. of Lowenthal & Abrams, PC) recently presented on E-discovery of Social Media at the 2017 Maryland State Bar Association Annual Meeting in Ocean City, Maryland. Contact ESI Group for more information.