In today’s era of social media and the internet, many of us have an insatiable desire for information and a knee jerk reaction when attacked:
- What dirt can we find out about our adversary?
This often happens in litigation – someone sues you or your company, and your first reaction is to jump on Google or Facebook to get some bad information on the other side. What can we find out about him? What skeletons does she have in her closet? What bad stuff have they done in the past?
However, in litigation the best defense is often NOT a good offense, and gathering irrelevant, and potentially harmful information about the other side can backfire.
It is also critical to remember that whether in-house or at a firm, as lawyers, our conduct must be above reproach. That means that even in the heat of battle, you should never forget your ethical obligations and your mandate as an officer of the court to conduct litigation, at all times, within the bounds of the law.