News & Resources

Attorneys using Facebook as a background screening source

Feb 23, 2011 Matt Roesly

Traditionally, a strict Q&A session would lead to a prospective juror's admittance or dismissal, but trial attorneys are taking a new approach - Facebook. According to PC Magazine, more attorneys are turning to the social media outlet as a form of background screening to determine whether or not a prospective juror would be beneficial to their case. Amber Yearwood, a consultant from juror consultancy Trial Behavior Consulting in San Francisco, told the publication that using social media as a background screening tool allows attorneys to see if a person has made any public statements regarding a person or industry that would hurt or harm their proceedings and desired outcome. "Sites like Facebook and MySpace offer limited relevant information for the purposes of jury selection, but it does become useful when we have very limited information about the juror," Yearwood told PC Magazine. While Facebook and other social media outlets give attorneys a modern advantage, there should be some consideration that everything they read may not paint an accurate picture about an individual. At the same time, users should continue to respect the public/private boundaries sites like Facebook provide.