As a lawyer, you have an ethical duty to ensure that your clients’ electronic information is not lost, destroyed, or disclosed inadvertently. Some states have ethical opinions specifically addressing electronic information. In other states, the existing rules and opinions applicable to paper documents logically extend to electronic documents.
You do not need an ethics board to tell you that you should protect your clients’ confidential materials from destruction and disclosure. But it is all too easy to become complacent. Focusing on your ethical duties regarding electronic information may motivate you to make some changes to protect your clients, your practice, and your professional status.
By Wells H. Anderson
Published in American Bar Association GP Solo, December 2008