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Virtual Paralegalism

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Is the Internet Hurting Your Client’s Case?

All legal professionals should read InjuryBoard.com’s June 10, 2009 article, “How to Wreck, Ruin, and Terminate Your Personal Injury Case” by Texas attorney Jeff Rasansky, who warns that Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter may keep clients from recovering monies that they deserve after an injury.

In order to protect your client and best represent him or her in any type of litigation claim, Mr. Rasansky recommends the following:

  • Obtain a complete list of your client’s social media sites and postings, and have the client authorize complete access by your firm. Review the content carefully for anything that may be damaging to your client.
  • Using Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Myspace, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr, and Twitter, search for your client’s name (or names).
  • Remove everything that “you wouldn’t want your grandmother or boss seeing, even if you think it’s restricted and private. Investigators are experts at taking a few bits of innocent-looking information and twisting it in a negative fashion.”
  • Check the client’s privacy settings and set to only allow access to immediate friends and family. “Block the opposing lawyer and law clerk.”
  • Direct your client not to accept or send new friend requests on Facebook.

Most important, Mr. Rasansky recommends to clients:

Throughout the course of mediation, litigation, or trial, do not post anything about your case, the people you’ve interacted with since filing your claim, information or details about the accident or injury, or any compromising materials to your claim. Have your attorney review your online profiles, and when in any doubt about photos, videos, friends’ comments, do not make them available online until after the conclusion of your case.

With the increasing popularity of social media sites, having a written social media policy for clients seems like a prudent course of action.Does your firm have written social media policies or instructions for clients?

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Contact Info:

Lynne J. DeVenny, N.C. State Bar Certified Paralegal

Owner & Virtual Paralegal, DeVenny Paralegal Services

Email: lynne.devenny[at]gmail.com

Telephone: 336-582-0003

Inquiries are welcome, with free quotes available.

Meet Lynne:

Lynne DeVenny is a North Carolina State Bar Certified Paralegal with over 27 years of experience working on complex litigation cases, including medical malpractice, personal injury, workers’ compensation, and Social Security disability.

Disclosure: I am not a lawyer and cannot provide legal representation or legal advice.

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