Alaska Bar Association Ethics Committee Opinion No. 98-2

Topic: E-mail Encryption

Conclusion of the Committee:

In conclusion, an attorney is free to communicate using e-mail on any matters with a client that the attorney would otherwise feel free to discuss over the telephone or via fax transmission. The expectation of privacy is no less, and these communications are protected by law. While it is not necessary to seek specific client consent to the use of unencrypted e-mail, clients should nonetheless be advised, and cautioned, that the communications are not absolutely secure. The Committee recognizes that there may be circumstances involving an extraordinary sensitive matter that might require enhanced security measures, like encryption. Attorneys should take those precautions when the communication is of such a nature that normal means of communication would be deemed inadequate.”

Rules: 1.6(a)


Referenced Authority:

  • 18 U.S.C.A. 2517(4) (the “Electronic Communications Privacy Act”)
  • ABA Formal Ethics Op. 92-368
  • ABA Formal Ethics Ops 94-382
  • South Carolina Advisory Bar Op. 97-08
  • Vermont Op. 97-5
  • Illinois State Bar Assoc. Op. 93-12
  • Iowa Advisory Op. 95-30


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