Social Media and Privacy Law


Thompson Reuters invited me to present a webinar on the topic of social media and privacy law in the family court context. This document is an outline of that webinar presentation, initially rendered on Thursday, February 23, 2012.

The outline offers some useful tips for attorneys involved in the practice of family law and divorce. Significant case law, particularly in the area of privacy law, is cited or referenced. Also, there are references to some useful recent publications in this emerging area of law.

Family Law attorneys must at least consider integrating social media into their practices. Even if a divorce lawyer elects not to actively participate in social media marketing, or enhancing their e-profile, the attorney must at least understand the Social Media movement because more than ¾ of their family law clients will be immersed in that medium one form or another. Eventually, one of the issues covered in this webinar [i.e. privacy violations, spoliation or source of evidence issues] will show-up in one of your cases.

Laws, particularly the common law, are slow to address the problems that have surfaced and are surfacing in such a fast-paced medium. Currently, some states are attempting to limit lawyers’ professional involvement in social media; Michigan is not one of those states.

As statutes, case law and ethics opinions are eventually compiled, social media will have moved on; advancing into ever shifting realms. Like all lawyers, family law attorneys must develop best practices to effectively manage this constant flow of data.

As you can see from this outline, the intersection between social media, privacy law and family law will get ever larger. Staying atop developments will be important in the years to come.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Timothy Flynn, Clarkston Legal | Attorney Advertising

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