South Carolina State Bar Ethics, Advisory Opinion 18-04

Ethics Advisory Committee


Topic: Copying an opposing party on an email Lawyer sending emails to other lawyers and copying several people, including one of the lawyers’ clients


Summary from the opinion

Copying an opposing party on an email or letter is communication for purposes of Rule 4.2, SCRPC. Absent the consent of Lawyer A, Lawyer B may not communicate with Lawyer A’s client about the subject of the representation either directly or by copying Lawyer A’s client in an email sent in response to Lawyer A’s email on which the client was copied. The mere fact that a lawyer copies his own client on an email does not, without more, constitute implied consent to a “reply to all” responsive email.


Questions Presented:

If Lawyer B receives an email from Lawyer A on which Lawyer A’s client is copied, may the lawyer “reply to all” – copying Lawyer A’s client with the response – without the express consent of Lawyer A?


South Carolina Rule of Professional Conduct: 4.2


Referenced Ethic opinions:

Utah St. Bar Eth. Op. 15-02

S.C. Bar Eth. Adv. Op. 91-02

S.C. Eth. Adv. Op. 93-16       

CA Standing Comm. on Prof’l Responsibility & Conduct, Formal Op. 2011-181



South Carolina Ethics Advisory Opinion 18-04 is available at…