Check out Beyond googling: More and more, lawyers are using social networking sites as litigation tools (see below) at Indiana Law Blog. We routinely Google. Guess it’s time to get with the times and add Facebook and MySpace.
Vesna Jaksic of The National Law Journal has an informative article today, available via Law.com. Some quotes:
At Malbrough & Lirette in Houma, La., a secretary browses MySpace and Facebook Web sites each day.
She’s not checking the online social networking sites for personal reasons, but is performing one of her job duties.
"It’s an everyday occasion," said Joan Malbrough, a partner at the three-attorney firm, which handles family law, personal injury and corporate law matters. "Every new client we do a MySpace and Facebook search on to see if they or their spouse have any useful information."
In one case, Malbrough said she helped secure shared custody for the father after finding his wife had posted sexually explicit comments on her boyfriend’s MySpace page. In another case, a husband’s credibility was questioned because, on his MySpace page, he said he was single and looking.
Lawyers in civil and criminal cases are increasingly finding that social networking sites can contain treasure chests of information for their cases. Armed with printouts from sites such as Facebook and MySpace, attorneys have used pictures, comments and connections from these sites as powerful evidence in the courtroom. * * *
John Palfrey, executive director of The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School, said that, because social networking sites are fairly new, there are not many court decisions about the admissibility of information from them in court. But judges have indicated that they will treat this information like other electronic evidence, Palfrey said.
"There is a sense that this information would be admissible if it’s verifiable, as with any other form of electronic discovery," said Palfrey, whose focus at Harvard Law School is Internet and law. "The one issue is going to be authentication as far as what is said online and who said it."