New Hampshire Guide to Facebook “Friending” Witnesses

New Hampshire recently released Advisory Opinion #2012-13/05 discussing the ethics of  investigating a non-party witness through that witness’s social media accounts. The Committee opined that a lawyer who sends a social media “friend” request to a non-party witness and does not disclose that his identity and role in the pending litigation breaches the ethical duty of truthfulness in statements to others. The Committee reasoned that the likely purpose of a social media request that does not provide full disclosure is to deceive the witness into accepting the request and providing information that the witness would not have provided had the identity and role of the lawyer been known. We can now add the New Hampshire Bar to the list of bar associations, which include Philadelphia, San Diego, and New York that have addressed the ethical dilemmas inherent in witness investigation as the proliferation of social media continues to impact the practice of law. Click to read the Philadelphia, San Diego, and New York ethics opinions.

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