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Legal Ethics

Is a Client Sending You Email on a Work Computer? Duty to Warn Could Apply, ABA Opinion Says

Posted Sep 7, 2011 5:38 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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If a client is emailing his or her lawyer from a work computer or an employer's electronic device, there's a good chance that the communication could be intercepted by the employer.

And, especially if the matter concerns a workplace issue, that may implicate a duty on the lawyer's part to warn the client of the potential confidentiality concern, under the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, explained the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility in an ethics opinion (PDF) announced in a press release today.

The Model Rules are used by many states as a basis for their own attorney ethics rules.

For more details about what is required, read the full opinion, which is known as Formal Opinion 11-459 (PDF).

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: ""If Secret Email Surfaces, ABA Opinion Says Opponent Alert Isn’t a Must—But Local Rules May Differ"

ABAJournal.com: "ABA Opinion Gives Guidance on Changing Legal Fee Arrangements During Representation"

Last updated at 6:23 p.m. to link to ABA press release and additional ABAJournal.com post.

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