Will My Advocate Opponent Impeach Me With My Own Legal Social Media?

As we’ve previously mentioned, our editor Jim Dedman is now contributing one monthly post to the North Carolina Law Blog.  Last week, his fourth submission was published at that site.  The topic: “Will My Advocate Opponent Impeach Me With My Own Legal Social Media?”  Do we bloggers and Twitter users face risks in engaging in Internet commentary?  Might some of our opinions or blog posts come back to haunt us?  Might an Internet savvy advocate quote our own posts against us in some future case?

Well, let’s not get too worried about that.  Here’s how his post begins:

At a recent conference at the North Carolina Bar Association headquarters in Cary, I heard a new and much more interesting critique of legal blogging.  A seasoned litigator panelist suggested that whenever she is to appear in court against another lawyer, she always investigates whether that opponent maintains a law blog.  If so, she will scour and scrutinize those posts to see if her opponent has ever taken a position opposite to the one advanced against her in the case at hand.  If she finds evidence of such, she can alert the tribunal that her opponent has taken a contradictory position on the relevant law in the past when writing, presumably objectively, on a legal blog. This is, for lack of a better term, impeachment in court by one’s own law blog.  Ouch.

But this does not seem to be a risk of legal blogging specifically but rather communicating one’s ideas and views generally.  For decades and decades and decades before the advent of legal blogs, lawyers delivered speeches, made presentations to trade and legal groups, and authored law review articles.  Sure, that may have been before everything was neatly placed online, easily searchable, and simple to locate in seconds, but there have always been ways in which one lawyer can find the writings of another if that lawyer knows where to look. Like most things, though, that task has been made far, far easier in the digital age, though it could be done before.

There’s more, so click here to read the rest.

In the end, Jim concludes there’s probably not an increased risk simply because one is blogging.  But, in all such things, beware nonetheless.

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