Many lawyers have had at least one experience with a client where a social media post stirred up quite the controversy in the courtroom and some have even experienced it before the litigation process began. New rules to address client social media clean up are evolving in some states..
Most recently, lawyers living in the Sunshine State, may be able to mitigate some of these client social media woes from ever occurring thanks to a proposal from the Florida Bar Association’s Professional Ethics Committee.
According to the Proposed Advisory Opinion, a lawyer may now advise a client on social media clean up prior to litigation to remove any embarrassing or irrelevant information that could interfere with the suit at hand.
If approved, Florida would join New York, North Carolina and Pennsylvania in holding that lawyers can advise their clients to change their privacy settings and remove photos and other information from social media accounts as long as substantive rules are not violated and the data is preserved.
Note to Florida lawyers, Florida Bar’s Rule 4-3.4(a) provides that one cannot destroy or hide evidence that is relevant to the case at hand or relevant to any additional proceeding in the foreseeable future.