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Can a Lawyer and Judge be Friends on Facebook?

By: Madison Allen, Esquire

It is Facebook official! The Florida Supreme Court just ruled 4-3 that a judge and a litigator could be friends on Facebook without being subject to disqualification. See Law Offices of Herssein and Herssein PA et al. v. United Services Automobile Association, Case number SC17-1848, in the Supreme Court of Florida.

The issue arose after a law firm sought disqualification of a Miami-Dade County Judge after discovering the Judge’s Facebook friendship with opposing counsel. After hearing argument on both sides of the issue, the Court reasoned that friendships on Facebook are not traditionally personable and are regularly among strangers.

Therefore, the virtual relationship in and of itself does not rise to the level of familiarity that requires disqualification. The long awaited decision is sure to cause a friending frenzy on social media.