In a recent article in The Lawyer’s Weekly, a magazine for attorneys, talked about the terms of social media and other means to collect information. The article was not focused only on family law, but since our firm specializes in family law it is the area that our firm spent its’ time to discussing.
When a client comes in to our office there are a number of decisions that need to be made based on number of considerations. A significant consideration is cost. Our firm is very conscious that divorce cases have the potential to be expensive. However, we also know that for a case to be properly prepared it will take time, effort and expense. The article in The Lawyer’s Weekly discussed the idea of using social media to gather potential information. Undoubted much there is information to be gleaned from social media. There are often interesting photos on Facebook which can show improper parenting, partying, significant others, and who knows what else. The other types of media (e.g. Twitter, Instagram) can also potentially be a gold mine of information. However, reviewing, documenting and preserving this as evidence has an expense.
In addition, it is possible to obtain credit reports on our clients, criminal reports on the other side, driving records of the other side and after information from various sites open both to the public and to licensed individuals (e.g. private investigators).
If money were no object, we would spend time looking at all of those sites and sources for potential information. However, handling a divorce case requires a significant amount of common sense and good judgment. Just because we may find information does not necessarily mean we should spend our time and resources looking. We try to carefully discuss with our clients the cost versus benefit of spending time. Some clients have a need for us to have an “all out assault” on all potential sources of information. Other clients are reasonably sure that they have a thorough enough understanding of the facts of case that the information gathering can be more limited. Obviously, in addition to analyzing social media attorneys still have the usual tools (subpoenas, depositions, interrogatories etc.) to gather information to help put a divorce case together.
At Velzen, Johnsen & Wikander clients can expect to be part of the discussion and decision-making process as to how intense the preparation of the file should be.