ABA Issues Updated E-mail Guidance

I’ve been writing and lecturing about Internet and e-mail ethics issues since 1998 – there is no shortage of ethics opinions or scholarship on the subject. This did not dissuade the American Bar Association from issuing its own updated guidance, entitled Securing Communication of Protected Client Information on 11 May, or from revising it eight days later. And because it’s an ABA opinion, it’s newsworthy.

Most of the headlines surrounding new ABA Formal Opinion 477R (19 May 2017) will focus on the Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility’s conclusion that, in some instances, an attorney may be required to use encrypted e-mail, a conclusion it resisted making in its 1999 opinion: Formal Opinion 99-413. 

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