Jury Research and Social Media

“Just as the internet and social media appear to facilitate juror misconduct, the same tools have expanded an attorney’s ability to conduct research on potential and sitting jurors, and clients now often expect that attorneys will conduct such research. Indeed, standards of competence and diligence may require doing everything reasonably possible to learn about the jurors who will sit in judgment on a case. However, social media services and websites can blur the line between independent, private research and interactive, interpersonal “communication.” Currently, there are no clear rules for conscientious attorneys to follow in order to both diligently represent their clients and to abide by applicable ethical obligations. This opinion applies the New York Rules of Professional Conduct (the “Rules”), specifically Rule 3.5, to juror research in the internet context, and particularly to research using social networking services and websites.”