Partner Trisha Rich commented on the Florida Supreme Court's ruling on Nov. 15 that concluded the mere existence of a Facebook friendship between a judge and litigator is not grounds for disqualification. Many attorneys applauded this decision as friendships on social media platforms do not mean that the individuals have a personal relationship in the real world. Ms. Rich noted that individuals can receive and accept friend requests from strangers without ever meeting them or having a relationship in person, so to disqualify a judge for a social media friendship was unfounded. Ms. Rich discussed that if an individual cannot have an online relationship with another attorney once they became a judge, then all real-world relationships would have to end as well to be consistent with the ruling.
“It would be adding a prohibition to online networking 'friendships' that doesn't exist for real life friendships,” Ms. Rich said.
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