Are you a Litigator? Learn How to Use Social Media Evidence Effectively!

Social Media in the Courts Image

UPDATE: This seminar occurred in the past, and the seminar materials are now available.
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• You can also view the list of upcoming seminars to discover live programs that are available now.

LESA’s Social Media in the Courts program is running in April and, whether you practice in civil or criminal law, this fascinating seminar will give you an edge on understanding how to make the most of social media evidence.

Seminar chair Jack Kelly shared his insights with us about why this program will be so enlightening to attendees.

Why will Social Media in the Courts be valuable to practitioners? What will they gain?

Social media is a common form of expressing oneself, and, because of that, there are instances where people will put information online that is relevant to court proceedings or cases that go to trial. It’s essentially a gold mine for information about witnesses, plaintiffs, or defendants.

This program will be useful for both civil and criminal litigators, is that correct?

Yes, it’s really aimed at answering questions that all litigators should be thinking about in terms of what to do with social media evidence. One of the things that will be addressed is admissibility. Another question that will get answered is how you as a practitioner would use it, particularly in cross examination.

What do you think will be the main takeaways for participants?

I think that the main takeaway is going to be that people will have a better understanding of what social media is and how it can be used in court. … It’s going to provide practical knowledge on social media as evidence.

I’m going to also say that participants will learn about social media as a concept and what it really is, from the standpoint of the way social media works. … Some of the material will look at security concerns, particularly state monitoring. In relation to that, there’s going to be some commentary on how the users of social media often overexpose themselves online in relation to the security concerns of state monitoring and public access to these comments.

I would also say that when we move into the practical uses of social media as evidence, people are going to learn about how the courts treat social media in terms of admissibility. There are going to be examples of social media treatment in Canada and foreign jurisdictions.

And then finally, I’m going to say that there will be examples of how a skillful litigator will be able to take advantage of social media to attack the credibility of witnesses.

Is there anything else you’d like to say about the seminar?

One of the things I think we need to point out is that Dr. Tom Keenan is going to be giving a very broad and thorough explanation of social media as an unfolding phenomena in society. He is very concerned about the amount of information that is available from the users of social media and so his inclusion is really going to provide insight into social media beyond the limited scope of social media as pure evidence, or on a purely evidential basis. It’s my opinion that it’s going to be a really interesting seminar for that reason alone. There are a lot of people who are going to learn things about social media that they don’t know.

John Gregory and Brian Vail are going to be talking about the case law on admissibility.

John Gregory will examine the evolution and the mechanics of using social media and what concerns the courts may have when faced with social media evidence.

Brian Vail has a lot of experience using social media and will be able to provide good ideas on how to use social media in the course of cross examining witnesses. In other words, Brian Vail is going to show how it’s a useful, very useful, and a valuable tool.

Just about everyone seems to be using social media, but not everybody fully appreciates what it is. This seminar, although it’s just for lawyers, does answer a lot of the questions that many people in the public have or should have. So it’s certainly interesting from a public interest stand point. … [It will probably answer questions that lawyers have] not just as practitioners but also as people who use social media.

Register now to secure your spot in Edmonton (April 10) or Calgary (April 17).

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