District of Columbia Bar Opinion 302

Opinion No. 302 of the District of Columbia Bar’s Legal Ethics Committee


Topic: E-mail Encryption, Lawyers’ Use Of Internet-Based Web Pages

From the Opinion:

As we have already discussed in Opinion 281 (1998), the transmission of information from a lawyer to a client by unencrypted electronic mail will not violate Rule 1.6 unless special circumstances require greater means of security. All of the same considerations we discussed in Opinion 281 would apply in analyzing the need to encrypt e-mail communications in the context at issue here.

[NOTE: See how Opinion 302 has been substantively affected by the amendments to the D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct that became effective on February 1, 2007]

Rules: 1.6, 3.6. 4.3, 5.4, 7.1


Referenced Authority:

  • D.C. Ethics Op. 281
  • N.Y. State Legal Ethics Op. 709 (1998)
  • Conn. Legal Ethics Op. 97-29 (1997)
  • Ill. Ethics Op. 96-10
  • Utah Legal Ethics Op. 97-10 (1997)
  • N.C. Legal Ethics Op. RPC 239 (1996)
  • Pa. Legal Ethics Op. 96-17 (1996)


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