State Bar of California Formal Opinion 2012-184

State Bar of California Standing Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct Formal Opinion 2012-184

Topic: Virtual Law Office

Digest of the Committee:

As it pertains to the use of technology, the Business and Professions Code and the Rules of Professional Conduct do not impose greater or different duties upon a VLO practitioner operating in the cloud than they do upon an attorney practicing in a traditional law office. While an attorney may maintain a [virtual law office practice] VLO practice in the cloud where communications with the client, and storage of and access to all information about the client’s matter, are conducted solely via the internet using a third-party’s secure servers, Attorney may be required to take additional steps to confirm that she is fulfilling her ethical obligations due to distinct issues raised by the hypothetical VLO and its operation. Failure of Attorney to comply with all ethical obligations relevant to these issues will preclude the operation of a VLO in the cloud as described herein.”


Rules 1-100, 1-300, 1-310, 3-100, 3-110, 3-310, 3-400, 3-500, 3-700, and 4-200

Business and Professions Code section 6068, subdivisions (e), (m), and (n)

Business and Professions Code sections 6125, 6126, 6127, 6147, and 6148

California Rules of Court, Rules 3.35-3.37 and 5.70-5.71


The full text is available at…