According to a survey released in February 2015, 62 percent of law firms in the United States maintain a social media presence. A similar survey estimates that nearly 75 percent of law firms in this country are visible on one or more social media platforms for the purposes of marketing and content creation. The legal profession is being irrevocably roped in to the world of Facebook and Twitter communication. As reported by The New York Times in late-February, as online access to legal documents increases, non-parties to cases have begun in droves to read particularly “lurid” lawsuits, much as one might read a tabloid. Social media has a similar effect and the consequences therefrom are yet to be understood in any meaningful way.
Invariably, as usage escalates, thoughtless use of social media has engendered nightmares for some lawyers. One prosecutor in Florida received heavy criticism after posting a “Gilligan’s Island”-themed commentary on Facebook that included a reference to the defendant as a “gang banger.” An Indiana Deputy Assistant Attorney General was fired for tweeting, purportedly in jest, that Wisconsin police should use “live ammunition” to remove protestors from the Wisconsin Capitol building.
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