Massachusetts Bar Association Opinion 05-04

[Approved by the Massachusetts Bar Association’s House of Delegates on March 3, 2005]


Summary of the Committee:

A law firm may provide a third-party software vendor with access to confidential client information stored on the firm’s computer system for the purpose of allowing the vendor to support and maintain a computer software application utilized by the law firm. The law firm’s clients are deemed to have ‘impliedly authorized’ the firm to make their confidential information accessible to the vendor pursuant to Rule 1.6(a) in order to permit the firm to provide representation to its clients. However, the law firm must ‘make reasonable efforts to ensure’ that the conduct of the software vendor (or any other independent service provider that the firm utilizes) ‘is compatible with the professional obligations of the lawyer[s],’ including the obligation to protect confidential client information reflected in Rule 1.6(a). The fact that the vendor will provide technical support and updates for its product remotely via the Internet does not alter the Committee’s opinion.


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