Thursday, September 3, 2009
Florida Bar applicants, lawyers, citizens of the internet, are all a twitter (pun intended) over the notion that Facebook and MySpace pages will be looked at in reference to your character and fitness investigation.
And forget about any narrow or limited application:
According to the story:
"The FBBE’s Character and Fitness Commission had recommended in its final report that the board consider expanding its current review of personal Web sites during background investigations “as deemed necessary” and determine whether a question should be added to The Florida Bar application to require that all such sites be listed and access granted to the board."
The recommendation is also that this be done on a case-by-case (i.e. random) basis.
“In reaching this policy, the board reasoned that if applicants are required to provide access to their social Web sites, they are likely to delete any derogatory material before staff has the opportunity to review it,”
The randomness of these social networking searched should not apply for applicants who:
are required to establish rehabilitation under Rule 3-13 “so as to ascertain whether they displayed any malice or ill feeling towards those who were compelled to bring about the proceeding leading to the need to establish rehabilitation; Applicants with a history of substance abuse/dependence “so as to ascertain whether they discussed or posted photographs of any recent substance abuse;” (Question, is myspace used for any other reason but to post photos of recent drug or alcohol abuse?)
Also, Applicants with “significant candor concerns” (liars) including not telling the truth on employment applications or resumes;
Applicants with a history of unlicensed practice of law allegations; Applicants who have worked as a certified legal intern, reported self-employment in a legal field, or reported employment as an attorney pending admission “to ensure that these applicants are not holding themselves out as attorneys; Applicants who have positively responded to Item 27 of the bar application disclosing “involvement in an organization advocating the overthrow of a government in the United States to find out if they are still involved in any related activities.”
I think they left out Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves.
So here's my take:
Looking at Facebook and other social networking sites has become common place for just about anyone interested in some other person. Some other person like...you.
If you're a law student, realize that future employers are looking (and now the Bar may be looking). You may not like it (I think it's total bullshit), but it's reality.
Just keep that in mind at 3 a.m. when you're at the computer after a night out.
Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. Read his free ebook The Truth About Hiring A Criminal Defense Lawyer. Please visit www.tannebaumweiss.com
Posted by Brian Tannebaum at 2:17 PM