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On Demand

The Ethics of Social Media Research

Total Credits: 1.5 including 1.5 Ethics

Average Rating:
Credit Type:
Law Practice Management |  Legal Ethics |  Research
Carole Levitt
Course Levels:
Access for 60 day(s) after purchase.


Learn how to avoid potential ethical traps when you research social media profiles for investigative/background purposes and to use as evidence. The seminar is partially based on the speakers' fifty-five page Social Media chapter from their book, "The Cybersleuth's Guide to the Internet."


This program specifically addresses how MPRC Rules apply to social media research: Rule 1.1 (and the new comment 8), as well as MPRC Rules 3.3, 3.4(a), 3.5, 4.1, 4.1(a), 4.2, 5.3(b)(1), 8.4(c),


This program also reviews pertinent Ethics opinions in more than two dozen jurisdictions, discusses relevant caselaw, and reviews detailed Guidelines for social media research issued by the New York State Bar’s Commercial and Federal Litigation Section.


The speakers will review:

     • Social Media Research Ethical Guidelines

     • State Bar, Local Bar, and ABA Ethics Opinions

     • Cases Decided in Various States

     • How They All Tie into the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct


The program will also explore:

     • Who's your friend? Could "friending" violate the deception or ex parte communication ethical rules?

     • Whether it is ethical to research the social media profiles of parties and witnesses during discovery or trial?

     • Whether it is ethical to research the social media profiles of potential jurors before trial or seated jurors before and during trial?

     • If advising clients to delete, deactivate, or adjust privacy settings on their social networking accounts lead to an ethical violation or spoliation charge?

     • Configuring security/privacy settings in your own profile to avoid ethical breaches.



Carole Levitt's Profile

Carole Levitt Related Seminars and Products

Internet For Lawyers

Carole Levitt, founder/principal of Internet For Lawyers (IFL), is an internationally recognized CLE seminar speaker and best-selling American Bar Association author. She writes and speaks on Internet investigative and legal research, social media research, social media ethics, and technology for lawyers.  Since 1999, IFL has provided law firms, corporations, and local and state Bar Associations around the country with professional and entertaining turn-key CLE programs. The company focuses on delivering information about free investigative and background research resources available on the Internet.


Together with co-author Mark Rosch, Levitt has written several ABA Law Practice Division books, including "Google Gmail and Calendar For Lawyers in One Hour" (2013), two editions of "The Lawyer’s Guide to Fact Finding on the Internet," "Google For Lawyers," and "Find Info Like a Pro," Volumes 1 and 2. They have also just completed the thirteenth edition of their book "The Cybersleuth's Guide to the Internet" (2015, IFL Press). Levitt also co-authored “Internet Legal Research on a Budget (ABA, 2013) with Judy K. Davis.


Previously, Levitt was a California attorney, a law librarian in Chicago and Los Angeles, and a Legal Research and Writing Professor at Pepperdine University School of Law. She graduated with distinction from The John Marshall Law School in Chicago and was a member of the school’s law review. Carole has a Masters in Library Science and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Illinois.


She is active in numerous professional associations, including the American Bar Association (ABA) and the Association of Continuing Legal Education (ACLEA).



Overall:      4.5

Total Reviews: 264


James H - Saint Charles, Missouri

"Always be mindful when on social media and viewing others’ profiles."

Chris C - St. Louis, Missouri

"When in doubt contact my state's ethics cmte to see if there is already guidance on a given topic"

Stanley S - Hillsboro, Missouri

"Business clients will get notification of media impact on information the disperse"

Natalie R - New Haven, Connecticut

"Significant differences in rules over jurisdictions"

Kenneth J - Gladstone, Missouri


Darcy R - St. Louis, Missouri

"Changing my linkedin seetings and checking the NY guidelines"

Karen D - Parkville, Missouri

"Check the ethics opinions in the applicable state because the states vary on how they view this issue."

Walter G - Pineville, Missouri

"have clients find out useful info and don't do it yourself"

Katie W - St. Louis, Missouri

"don't make "friends" with opposing counsel or witnesses during litigation."

Robert F - Sedalia, Missouri

"To evaluate potential jurors based upon their public profiles."