New York County Lawyers’ Association Ethics Opinion 743

Committee on Professional Ethics

Topic: Lawyer Investigation of Juror Internet and Social Networking Postings during Conduct of Trial

Digest of the Committee:

“It is proper and ethical under RPC 3.5 for a lawyer to undertake a pretrial search of a prospective juror’s social networking site, provided that there is no contact or communication with the prospective juror and the lawyer does not seek to “friend” jurors, subscribe to their Twitter accounts, send tweets to jurors or otherwise contact them. During the evidentiary or deliberation phases of a trial, a lawyer may visit the publicly available Twitter, Facebook or other social networking site of a juror, but must not “friend,” email, send tweets to jurors or otherwise communicate in any way with the juror, or act in any way by which the juror becomes aware of the monitoring. Moreover, the lawyer may not make any misrepresentations or engage in deceit, directly or indirectly, in reviewing juror social networking sites. In the event the lawyer learns of juror misconduct, including deliberations that violate the court’s instructions, the lawyer may not unilaterally act upon such knowledge to benefit the lawyer’s client, but must promptly comply with Rule 3.5(d) and bring such misconduct to the attention of the court before engaging in any further significant activity in the case”.


Relevant Law: New York Rules of Professional Conduct 3.5, 8.4

Referenced Ethics Opinion: New York State Bar Opinion 843

The full text is available at: https://www.nycla...