Text messaging has become a mainstream form of communication. Clients now routinely text their lawyers about pending matters.
They may ask about the status of a case, provide facts about a case, communicate decisions to a lawyer, or message other sensitive information. These messages are often to a lawyer's mobile phone that is used extensively for personal purposes, unsecured in their transmissions, and easily accessible by third parties.
This new wave of lawyer-client communication raises many difficult ethical questions, including preservation of the attorney-client privilege.
This program provides a guide to the major ethics issues when lawyers and their clients text message about pending matters.
- Confidentiality issues involving unsecured transmission of texts involving sensitive case issues
- How to handle mobile phones used for both personal purposes and law practice
- Potential loss of the attorney-client privilege when text messages are accessible by third parties
- Tension among the duties of competence, prudence and to communicate with clients
- Understanding the ethical risks and counseling clients about the risks to their case when texting