Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Beware of Client Internet Postings

Everyone is on the internet. Our kids, our neighbors and our colleagues. And, for some of you lawyers, your clients.

It's a scary thing when your client goes to the world wide web and discusses whatever legal matter you are working on. Case in point, the infamous "divorce rant" youtube video. Click above and you'll see what I'm talking about. This video shows a woman, Tricia Walsh-Smith, trashing her husband, Philip Smith. Her lawyer explained her actions by saying she was "acting out of passion."

The judge, who granted Philip Smith a divorce on the grounds of cruel and inhuman treatment, didn't buy the explanation. He blasted the client, calling the video stunt "a calculated and callous campaign to embarrass and humiliate her husband." He even went on to add that this video was an attempt to pressure her husband into settling the divorce case on more favorable terms than were stated in their prenuptial agreement.

What's the lesson here for lawyers? When you get a new case or client, make sure that part of your consultation discusses the web. Be sure to ask your client if the legal matter at hand has been discussed or posted on any internet site, including facebook, youtube and my space. This is very important because whatever is "out" there can come back to haunt your client and your case. The more you know about what your client has posted , if anything, the better prepared you can be.

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