According to a ruling from the Florida’s Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee, lawyers of the state should start “unfriending” their lawyer friends – in Facebook that is.
The committee ruled on November 11 that online “friendships” may interfere with their work, giving the impression that some lawyers may be able to influence other lawyers since they’re “friends”.
And nope, they’re not singling out Facebook.
“Although Facebook has been used as an example in this opinion, the holding of the opinion would apply to any social networking site which requires the member of the site to approve the listing of a ‘friend’ or contact on the member’s site,” the opinion said.
According to Florida Supreme Court spokesman Craig Waters, despite the fact that only the Florida SC can mandate what judges can do, it is likely that others will also follow the ruling out of abundance of caution.
Judge Thomas McGrady, chief of the sixth judicial circuit in Pinellas County is in agreement with the ruling. He said that impartiality is important for judges and having lawyer friends on Facebook may be seen by the public differently and think that “because they are your friend, they will be treated differently”.
McGrady will be sending out a copy of the ruling to the 69 judges in his circuit.