South Carolina State Bar Ethics Advisory Opinion 97-08

WARNING: The South Carolina Bar Technology Committee has requested that Advisory Opinion 94-27 be re-examined in light of the current state of technology.


Topic: May confidential client communications be transmitted via electronic mail (e-mail)?

Summary of the Committee:

There exists a reasonable expectation of privacy when sending confidential information through electronic mail (whether direct link, commercial service, or Internet). Use of electronic mail will not affect the confidentiality of client communications under South Carolina Rule of Professional Conduct 1.6.”


The Committee warns:

An attorney owes a client a duty of reasonable care in keeping information confidential. There exists information that a prudent attorney would be hesitant to discuss by facsimile, telephone, or regular mail. A lawyer should discuss with a client such options as encryption in order to safeguard against even inadvertent disclosure of sensitive or privileged information when using e-mail.”



SC Rule of Professional Responsibility 1.6

Electronic Communications Privacy Act, 18 U. S. C. §§2701(a) and 2702(a)


Cited Opinions:

South Carolina Bar, Op. 94-27

Illinois State Bar Assn. Advisory Opinion No. 96-10


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


The full text is available at…