THE LAWYERS WEEKLY
June 1, 2012 | 21
Ever wonder how easy it is to
research people using the Internet?
“Several years ago, default
privacy settings on social net-
working sites were set to no pri-
vacy,” says Brian Vail, an Edmon-
ton-based partner at Field Law.
“It was a gold mine.”
A gold mine, that is, for litiga-
tors who research people involved
in their matters. Opposing cli-
ents, their own clients, opposing
counsel, jurors, witnesses,
judges — the Internet can provide
invaluable information on them
all to search-savvy lawyers, much
of it coming from the subjects
themselves and their social network posts.
Omar Ha-Redeye believes
researching opposing counsel is
becoming the norm. “Every time
I open a file, I get hits on my web-
site from the opposing counsel
firm’s IP address.”
Try the following tips on
searching the web for useful
information on people involved
in your cases.
Daniel E. Pinnington
Raymond G. Leclair
Lawyers’ Professional Indemnity Company
Lawyers’ Professional Indemnity Company
The LAWPRO Board of Directors is pleased to announce
the appointment of Susan T. McGrath as Chair of the Board.
Since her call to the bar in 1979, Ms. McGrath has been a
very active member of the legal community. She has served
as president of her local law association, the Ontario Bar
Association and the Canadian Bar Association. As well, she
has contributed in many capacities on committees and task
forces of these and other legal associations.
LAWPRO President & CEO Kathleen Waters announces the
appointment of Daniel E. Pinnington as Vice-President of
LAWPRO’s newly created Claims Prevention and Stakeholder
Relations Department and Raymond G. Leclair as LAWPRO’s
Vice-President, Public Affairs.
As a bencher of The Law Society of Upper Canada
since 2007, Ms. McGrath has served on numerous Law
Society committees dealing with issues such as access to
justice, professional development and competence of the
profession, government relations, and the Law Society’s
compensation fund. She is well-respected for being an
advocate for sole practitioners/small firm lawyers and those
working in remote areas.
As director of practicePRO for the past 11 years, Mr. Pinnington
built LAWPRO’s risk management program into one highly
regarded within the legal community in Canada and the U.S.A.
He has served in many roles at all levels of the Ontario, Canadian
and American bar associations, and is a frequent speaker
and writer on risk management, technology and law practice
Ms. McGrath currently practises as a sole practitioner based
in Iroquois Falls.
Mr. Leclair joined LAWPRO in 2008 as Vice-President, TitlePLUS
and in 2011 was appointed LAWPRO’s Vice-President, Public
Affairs on an acting basis. He has served in senior capacities
with the real property sections of the Ontario and Canadian bar
associations, as well as representing the interests of the real estate
bar on numerous task forces and working groups.
LAWPRO provides malpractice insurance and risk and
practice management programs to more than 23,500
Ontario lawyers, and title insurance in all Canadian
jurisdictions. LAWPRO’s TitlePLUS title insurance program
is the only all-Canadian provider of title insurance in the
LAWPRO provides malpractice insurance and risk and practice
management programs to more than 23,500 Ontario lawyers, and
title insurance in all Canadian jurisdictions. LAWPRO’s TitlePLUS
title insurance program is the only all-Canadian provider of title
insurance in the market today.
name, company and professional
interests (via LinkedIn groups)
among other criteria.
Once you join, start building
your network by connecting to
people you know. Ha-Redeye
says that between his 3,500 Facebook connections and 2,000
LinkedIn connections, he can get
a good sense of social circles, political affiliations, and sometimes
even hobbies for most people
under 40 in Toronto, just by looking at connections they have in
common. “Lawyers who don’t use
social media simply will not be
able to obtain these insights.
On Facebook, people post
vacation photos and share details
about their “club life and things
they would not share in networks
like LinkedIn,” says Monica
Goyal, founder and CEO of online
service My Legal Briefcase.
Caveat: Stuart Rudner, who
works with HR professionals in
employment law, advises them to
take Facebook findings with a
grain of salt. “You don’t always
have control over what’s posted
about you,” says the Markham,
Ont.-based partner in Miller
Thomson LLP’s labour and
Rudner says that, since Twitter is a fairly casual medium,
lawyers can glean a tweeter’s
family, hobbies, views on politics,
business and so forth.
Twitter is not as popular as
LinkedIn or Facebook. “There’s a
certain class of people who use
Twitter: tech people, media
people, celebrities, business
people,” Goyal says. She also says
that tweeters may use aliases on
Twitter, which makes their Twitter streams more difficult to find.
WestLaw, CanLII, QuickLaw
(owned by LexisNexis, which also
owns The Lawyers Weekly) —
these and other such resources
can offer information on people
who will participate in litigation.
For instance, lawyers can use
these resources to learn how certain judges dealt with issues in
the past, as well as the expertise
and experience opposing counsel
bring to the case.
Try online courthouse records,
where available. “I had one case
where my client rear-ended
somebody on a right turn at a
particular intersection,” Vail
recalls. “The plaintiff here was
also the plaintiff in 14 previous
cases, all rear-enders, all at that
intersection. This suggested that
the accident was staged and my
client was sucked into it.”
“I encourage my clients to
Google themselves before coming
to examinations for discovery or
court proceedings,” says Eric
Magraken, a Victoria -based
partner at MacIsaac & Company.
“Litigants need to know what
people can learn about them