Katherine Bandy Weber 2014-10-27 12:18:04
Given its staggering audience—which includes 1.3 billion monthly active Facebook users, 200 million monthly active Insta-gram users, and 271 million monthly active Twitter users—social media can no longer be ignored, especially by trial lawyers. Indeed, litigators, judges, jurors, adversaries, clients, fact and expert witnesses, and their friends, families, and acquaintances are engaged in posting, commenting, liking, sharing, uploading, tweeting, and otherwise disclosing information ranging from the mundane to the scandalous. John G. Browning’s Social Media and Litigation Practice Guide (West, 2014) helps demystify this treasure trove of information and incorporates it into trial strategy—from case investigation to cross examination at trial. Browning is hardly a newcomer to social media and the law. His first book, The Lawyer’s Guide to Social Networking: Understanding Social Media’s Impact on the Law (West, 2010), along with steady publications nationwide, have established him as a leading authority on the subject. His latest work arms trial lawyers with a how-to guide supported by thorough research, case law, and analysis. Among other resources, Browning provides practitioners with sample written discovery requests, cross-examination questions, a motion to compel and response, and a litigation hold letter. How much, if any, privacy can one expect in his or her social media presence? Is service of process by social media valid? Is it ethical to research a venire panel by accessing social media accounts? Is social media content admissible as evidence? Browning analyzes such questions and additional quandaries across state, federal, and even foreign country jurisdictions to establish trends in courts’ treatment of these emerging legal issues. The Social Media and Litigation Practice Guide is a one-stop shop for litigators who have never tweeted a tweet or added a friend on Facebook, yet it is likewise valuable to seasoned social media whiz kids. Regardless of the reader, there also may be an ethical reason for buying this book: the American Bar Association has adopted changes to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct to include the lawyer’s duty to make clients aware of the benefits and risks associated with technology communication. Social media is relevant to virtually all practice areas, and Browning’s Social Media and Litigation Practice Guide will help lawyers craft discovery and motion practice within the bounds of evolving case authority. My copy is already showing wear and tear. KATHERINE BANDY WEBER is of counsel to Wilson Elser in Dallas, where she practices in the areas of intellectual property and commercial and intellectual property litigation. A graduate of Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law, she has a diverse background in commercial matters.
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