In March 2011, the International Bar Association (IBA)’s Legal Projects Team took up an important global initiative to examine the presence and role of online social networking within the legal profession and practice. As part of the initiative, a benchmark survey entitled ‘The Impact of Online Social Networking on the Legal Profession and Practice’ was drafted and sent to all of the IBA member bar organisations around the world.
The survey represents a first attempt to shed light on the above issues on an international scale. The IBA Legal Projects Team felt that the IBA was best placed to undertake a study of this magnitude, as it currently includes over 45,000 individual lawyers and over 200 bar associations and law societies spanning all continents worldwide. In this way, it can fairly be said to be truly representative of the international legal profession. READ MORE (pdf)
to consider the impact of online social networking on the legal profession and practice;
to analyse whether there is a need for bar associations, societies and councils to come together to address this global issue and develop guidelines regarding the use of online social networking within the legal profession and practice;
to ascertain whether there is a need for the IBA to work with member bar associations, societies, and councils to construe guidelines and toolkits regarding the use of online social networking within the legal profession and practice.
Facing Online Social Media, The In-House Perspective, January 2011
The Court of Public Opinion_#TwitterandtheEnglishBar
Law Society of South Africa Introduction to Social Media Guidelines
This guideline has been compiled for the Law Society of South Africa primarily as a tool to assist attorneys in considering the use of social media. Read more
ABA: Judge's Use of Electronic Social Networking Media
A judge may participate in electronic social networking, but as with all social relationships and contacts, a judge must comply with relevant provisions of the Code of Judicial Conduct and avoid any conduct that would undermine the judge’s independence, integrity, or impartiality, or create an appearance of impropriety. Read more
Jail term for juror guilty of Facebook-chat with accused
This is the first ever prosecution of this kind in the world. A juror was sentenced to 8 months jail for ‘friending’ and ‘chatting’ with the accused over Facebook, while jury deliberations were still underway. As a result the jury were discharged, causing the collapse of the 10-week trial, involving 500 witnesses and £6M in legal fees. The juror was found guilty of contempt of court. Read more
Judge catches lawyer in Facebook lie
A state court judge in Texas discovered that a lawyer who had asked for a continuance of trial due to a death in her family had posted pictures and status updates about ‘drinking, going out and partying’ during her week off. Read more
Courts order claimants to provide Facebook passwords to defendants
In personal injury actions, US and Canadian courts routinely order plaintiffs to allow defendant’s access to their private Facebook and Myspace pages – both current and historical – and deleted pages. Defendants must merely establish that the sites are likely to contain information relevant to the defence case. Read more
Would-be rioters sentenced to 4-years imprisonment for Facebook page
During the August 2011 London riots, Jordan Blackshaw and Perry Sutcliffe created Facebook pages inciting riots in their home towns. Within hours the pages were shut down and no rioting eventuated. The Court of Appeal upheld their 4-year imprisonment sentences. They were 21 and 22 with no significant criminal record. Read more
Watch interview with Anurag Bana, Senior Staff Lawyer of the IBA Legal Projects Team, and Mark Stephens CBE, media law specialist and Vice-Chair of the IBA Art, Cultural Institutions and Heritage Law Committee, on the survey and its findings.