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Inns of Court discusses social media and ethics

June 3, 2015 By Rob Abruzzese Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Nathan R. Sobel Kings County American Inn of Court hosted a CLE course on Tuesday titled “Social Media, Litigation and Ethics,” in which members performed skits to play out scenarios of how social media can come into play in the courtroom. From left: President David M. Chidekel, Hon. Carl J. Landicino and Serena Blanchard were among the three groups to perform. Eagle photos by Rob Abruzzese
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For one night, the Brooklyn Bar Association turned into the newsroom at Superman’s Metropolis Daily Planet during the Nathan R. Sobel Kings County American Inn of Court’s monthly Continuing Legal Education (CLE) meeting in Brooklyn Heights Tuesday.

The fictitious newsroom was the perfect setting for the CLE course titled “Social Media, Litigation and Ethics: the Advantages, Pitfalls and a New Frontier,” in which lawyers discussed Facebook, Twitter and other social media.

“What we’re talking about here is a wide range of media, whether it be Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn,” President David M. Chidekel said. “It can be used for you or against you, and more and more in the last three years, there have been some serious issues with ethics being raised.”

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Chidekel outlined two good rules for attorneys to follow right at the start — attorneys cannot assume fake accounts in order to gain access to information on social media sites, and attorneys and police cannot use information contained on private social media pages.

“How do you use this? When do you use this? Can you use it? These are the examples we will bring to you today and discuss,” Chidekel said. “The three important areas are criminal issues from jury selection, challenges as it affects the criminal and civil practitioner, how you use it in family law matters, and social media in tort cases.”

Three separate skits were performed by Chidekel, Chuck Otey, Charisma Troiano, Sheridan Chu, Judy Mock, Michael Yadgarov, William Gentile, Andrea Hill, Hon. Carl J. Landicino and Serena Blanchard.

The skits raised questions like, “What happens when a juror posts a comment on social media?” or “Can an attorney ask a client to delete a social media post?”

The questions were very effective in sparking questions and discussion, since many jurists are still relatively new to the effects of social media. In fact, one judge said she would have allowed a certain scenario to play out in her court, but eventually changed her mind after she heard more debates.

“Some of these questions are going to take some time to figure out because we, in the law profession, must take our time to think through these issues,” Landicino said. “Even something that seems innocuous may end up being important.”

The Inn will host its annual gala on June 8 at the Morso Restaurant on East 59th Street in Manhattan, starting at 6 p.m.

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