Trickery May Be For Kids, But Not Lawyers

The New York City Bar Association recently released an ethics opinion that instructs lawyers not to use false identities on social media sites to “friend” litigation adversaries. So, for example, it would be unethical for me to use a phony profile to become Facebook friends with a party on the other side of a case. And I can’t have a third party do my dirty work either. One interesting aspect of the opinion is that the New York Bar Association does agree that, so long as there is no deception involved, a lawyer can obtain and use online information that is publicly available. So there are now additional (and I guess virtual) rocks to turn over. Parties to litigation (or maybe more importantly folks about to become parties to litigation) may want to keep that in mind.