The Model Rules of Professional Conduct do not contain any specific prohibition against a lawyer’s reviewing and using embedded information in electronic documents, whether received from opposing counsel, an adverse party, or an agent of an adverse party. See ABA Formal Opinion 06-442 (August 5, 2006). A lawyer who is concerned about the possibility of sending, producing, or providing to opposing counsel a document that contains or might contain metadata, or who wishes to take some action to reduce or remove the potentially harmful consequences of its dissemination, may be able to limit the likelihood of its transmission by “scrubbing” metadata from documents or by sending a different version of the document without the embedded information.
Lawyers may review and use metadata embedded in electronic documents
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