New York State Bar Opinion 843

Committee on Professional Ethics

Topic: Lawyer’s Access to Public Pages of Another Party’s Social Networking Site, Pending Litigation

A lawyer who represents a client in a pending litigation, and who has access to the Facebook or MySpace network used by another party in litigation, may access and review the public social network pages of that party to search for potential impeachment material. As long as the lawyer does not “friend” the other party or direct a third person to do so, accessing the social network pages of the party will not violate Rule 8.4 (prohibiting deceptive or misleading conduct), Rule 4.1 (prohibiting false statements of fact or law), or Rule 5.3(b)(1) (imposing responsibility on lawyers for unethical conduct by nonlawyers acting at their direction).

Referenced Authority: Philadelphia Bar Op. 2009-02

Relevant Law: New York Rules of Professional Conduct 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 5.3(b)(1), 8.4(c)

The full text is available at: http://www.nysba…