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Date Archives: June 2010

Florida JEAC Opinion Allows Judicial Assistants to “Facebook Friend” Lawyers

We previously mentioned the infamous? Judicial Ethics Advisory Opinion 2009-20 which prohibits a judge from “friending” lawyers who appear before the court.  That’s so 2009.

The next logical question for judicial social networking policies has arrived: does this apply to the JA?

Yes, at least in part.  A judicial assistant can friend lawyers who appear before the court.  However, the limitations may devour the rule here.  The JA cannot post anything which makes “reference to the judge or the judge’s office…”  and the posts must be “outside of the judicial assistant’s responsibilities and independent of the judge…”  Given the frequency that people use Facebook at work (including listing where they work in their profile) and the amount of time we all spend at the office, those prohibitions seem fairly high.

JEAC Opinion 2010-04 goes on to note that any lawyer who attempts ex parte communication with the JA via social networking sites should have their head examined and should be de-friended and reported to the judge.

Facebook Settings, Part II of…

The increasingly long history of Facebook and privacy settings continues as users want an easy way to limit access to information on a system designed to exchange information (in fact, the reason it is free, after all, is because you pay with access to your information).  New changes are reportedly afoot (again).

Facebook is good for lawyers in the sense that accessible information about witnesses, opponents, and experts may be easy to find due to Facebook’s privacy settings.  On the flip side, like everyone else, lawyers want their own information nailed down.

The article, Facebook Privacy Settings, was published in the June 2010 Palm Beach Bar Association’s Bar Bulletin (also on the right column of the screen, under Articles).  Hope it helps.