North Carolina State Bar 2011 Formal Ethics Opinion 6

Topics: Subscribing to Software as a Service While Fulfilling the Duties of Confidentiality and Preservation of Client Property


Opinion rules that a lawyer may contract with a vendor of software as a service provided the lawyer uses reasonable care to safeguard confidential client information.”

From the Opinion:

This opinion does not set forth specific security requirements because mandatory security measures would create a false sense of security in an environment where the risks are continually changing. Instead, due diligence and frequent and regular education are required.

Although a lawyer may use nonlawyers outside of the firm to assist in rendering legal services to clients, Rule 5.3(a) requires the lawyer to make reasonable efforts to ensure that the services are provided in a manner that is compatible with the professional obligations of the lawyer. The extent of this obligation when using a SaaS vendor to store and manipulate confidential client information will depend upon the experience, stability, and reputation of the vendor. Given the rapidity with which computer technology changes, law firms are encouraged to consult periodically with professionals competent in the area of online security. Some recommended security measures are listed [by the Committee].”


The full text is available at…