A Step Towards More Telecommunication in The Legal Profession

The New York State Bar Association Committee on Professional Ethics opined in Ethics Opinion 1019 that a law firm may allow its attorneys to remotely access their clients’ electronic files from home or elsewhere, “as long as [the firm] takes reasonable steps to ensure that confidentiality of information is maintained.”

The Opinion requires that firms determine the suitability of the technology used to provide reasonable protection of the confidential client files before allowing remote access, but states that even when a law firm is unable to make this determination, or wants to take an added precaution to prevent any future liability, it can instead request the client’s informed consent.

The Committee avoids setting a standard for what would constitute “reasonable precautions” to prevent such confidential information from being exposed. Instead, it leaves it to the discretion of law firms and goes as far as saying that client consent is not necessary when such a determination of reasonableness is made.

In today’s digital age, this Opinion may lend some credence and assurances to the innovative thinkers that will pave the way for increased telecommuting in the legal profession.

The full Opinion can be found here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *