Its safe to say that social media has taken over the world we know today. From everyday life of individuals to advertising campaigns, social media is everywhere. Because of this is, it is now a tool utilized in civil litigations. Without a second thought, people often post intimate or personal information on social media that could potentially damage their position in litigation.
A post made on social media years ago could haunt a litigator–whether it’s their future client’s social media or even their own. It could bring a law career to a screeching halt before it even begins. Which is why privacy settings are a litigator’s best friend. Before even entering a courtroom, aspiring litigators are closely watched on social media. If a law school or law firm sees something they do not like that raises some red flags, their chances of finding work in the law field become very slim.
In the process of civil litigation, social media can completely transform a case. Not only can these posts and messages be used as evidence, it can represent the entire case. It’s seen every day in the news–people getting fired or contracts terminated because of something they posted, blogged, or tweeted. The personal information or intimate thoughts people post online being used in court is no longer an invasion of privacy. If it was open for the public to see, it can be used in any civil litigation.
To avoid any bombs being dropped on a litigator’s case from a client’s social media, litigators should run a social media search of clients, opponents, and witnesses beforehand. This way, there won’t be any surprises in court. Clients also must be warned the threat of social media holds in any case. New or old online posts or blogs could jeopardize any chance they ever had in court. Although obtaining information from social media profiles and posts must obey the rules of evidence in any case, it can make or break a litigation.
Even if a post was five months ago or five years ago, it can still have an effect in civil litigation. It may feel like the norm to post personal thoughts and feelings online, but it’s giving the public a gateway to a person’s privacy. The sooner litigators have an understanding of this, the better chance they stand in court.