ABA Formal Opinion 483

Topic: Lawyers’ Obligations After an Electronic Data Breach or Cyberattack


Model Rule 1.4 requires lawyers to keep clients “reasonably informed” about the status of a matter and to explain matters “to the extent reasonably necessary to permit a client to make an informed decision regarding the representation.” Model Rules 1.1, 1.6, 5.1 and 5.3, as amended in 2012, address the risks that accompany the benefits of the use of technology by lawyers. When a data breach occurs involving, or having a substantial likelihood of involving, material client information, lawyers have a duty to notify clients of the breach and to take other reasonable steps consistent with their obligations under these Model Rules.”


The full text is available at: https://www.americanbar.org…


Model Rule of Professional Conduct:

  • 1.1, Competence
  • 1.4, Communications
  • 1.6, Confidentiality of information
  • 1.9, Duties to Former Clients
  • 5.1, Responsibilities of Partners, Managers, and Supervisory Lawyers
  • 5.3, Responsibility Regarding Nonlawyer Assistance

Referenced Ethics Opinions: