ABA Formal Opinion 99-413

Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility


Topics: Protecting the Confidentiality of Unencrypted E-Mail

Summary of the Committee:

A lawyer may transmit information relating to the representation of a client by unencrypted e-mail sent over the Internet without violating the Model Rules of Professional Conduct (1998) because the mode of transmission affords a reasonable expectation of privacy from a technological and legal standpoint. The same privacy accorded U.S. and commercial mail, land-line telephonic transmissions, and facsimiles applies to Internet e-mail. A lawyer should consult with the client and follow her instructions, however, as to the mode of transmitting highly sensitive information relating to the client’s representation.

Rule: Model Rule 1.6


The full text is available at http://cryptome.org…

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Related Document: Do I always need to encrypt my correspondence with clients?