Litigation almost always involves use of social media information. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and LinkedIn are an integral part of our modern society. If your firm is involved in personal injury, family law, workers’ comp or malpractice litigation, then it is certain that social media evidence will play some type of role.
It is important to consider how you are going to go about investigating social media information involving the other parties in the litigation. Many law firms rely on paralegals to conduct social media investigations. We love paralegals. We work with them on a daily basis and have several on our team. Often acting as a utility player in the law firm, paralegals regularly get thrown tasks outside their area of expertise. They figure it out, which is one of the things that makes them so invaluable. Utilizing a paralegal for a social media investigation, however, is a mistake for many reasons.
Reason #1: Paralegals May Create Ethical and Legal Issues
Attorneys and their employees cannot testify on their own cases. The person collecting evidence for the social media investigation should be independent of the law firm or attorney. A paralegal working for your firm cannot provide unbiased testimony. You should choose an investigator who can testify as an unbiased witness during a case.
If you attempt to conduct your own social media investigation, you are risking ethics violations. The court may throw out any evidence you obtain.
Social media investigators like us are an unbiased third-party. You do not have to worry about the risks mentioned above by using a private and experienced social media investigation service.
Reason #2: Social Media Investigations Require an Advanced Level of Expertise
You are going to need to make sure your evidence has a high level of provability, which requires an extremely advanced level of technical and legal expertise. More and more case law shows that courts will not admit simple screenshot printouts as evidence. Paralegals may be unaware of the requirements for obtaining and presenting social media evidence before a court.
Some social media information cannot be obtained without specific technical knowledge or software. Our team of social media investigators uses advanced software to pull metadata from accounts in a way that meets the standards required by the court. In some cases, we can also pull metadata and create hash value information from accounts that are private or deleted.
Preservation of evidence is key when it comes to conducting a successful investigation. For example, you are going to need to show who made the post, when it was posted, what the post looked like when it was originally published and the author’s account information.
Metadata may show information such as the time a post was created, its thread ID, links, comments and resource identifiers. Creating a hash value verifies data integrity and is essential because it significantly increases the strength of the evidence.
Reason #3: Professional Investigators Know How to Stay Safe Online
Paralegals, as awesome as they are, usually lack specific training in cyber investigation and are far more likely to make mistakes that can jeopardize your investigation. If your paralegal used his or her own social media account for the investigation, it could potentially alert the person you are investigating. As a result, they could obtain information about your paralegal or even the investigation.
It is necessary to use a clean and secure browser for conducting an investigation as well as taking many other steps to stay secure and covert, because it is very easy to leave behind a digital footprint that can identify you or your firm. Simply put, the professionals at Bosco Legal Services, Inc. know the landscape well and how to navigate it.
Reason #4: Social Media Investigations Take Valuable Time Away from Paralegals
Your paralegal’s time is better spent elsewhere. Social media investigations are extremely time-consuming due to the technical and legal expertise required. Given the amount of time an investigation takes, it is possible that you are risking your other cases by using a paralegal to comb through social media for litigation. There is so much they do that can’t be outsourced. Social media investigation isn’t one of them.
Reason #5: Paralegals Cost More for Social Media Investigations
Due to the complexity and time required to conduct a successful social media investigation, you and/or your client are paying far more by using a paralegal. Social media investigations typically take 10-20 hours for a professional social media investigator to do a thorough job. It’s going to take a paralegal much longer because it’s not their area of expertise and they are much less likely to have the skills to find everything that’s out there.
Our team has the expertise and software to quickly conduct an investigation. By using a paralegal, you are paying more and getting less.
About Our Social Media Investigation Company
Bosco Legal Services, Inc. has decades of combined experience conducting social media investigations for law firms, attorneys, legal professionals, paralegals, secretaries and insurance adjusters. You can call us at (951) 289-5761 to learn about why our services are more efficient than conducting an in-house social media investigation.