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Lawyers sharing offices must protect confidentiality of client files

Source | 2017-06-26T18:41:18+00:00 Mar 10th, 2001|Categories: LegalEthics, Post|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

District of Columbia Ethics Opinion 303 (February 20, 2001) spells out the ethical issues for lawyers sharing offices. Included in the discussion on confidentiality, the opinion notes that it is “impermissible for unaffiliated attorneys to have unrestricted access to each other’s electronic files (including e-mail and word processing documents) and other client records. If separate computer systems are not utilized, each attorney’s confidential client information should be protected in a way that guards against unauthorized access and preserves client confidences and secrets.” Similar concerns are raised by sharing a single fax line. The opinion also notes that shared computer resources likely involve sharing of employees or 3rd party contractors for technical support who must be instructed regarding their obligations to maintain client confidences and secrets and the lawyers must ensure that this occurs.