Friday, January 18, 2013

State Bar of California Standing Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct Formal Opinion 2010-179

Given its position as one of the prime information technology centers of the country, it is unsurprising that the State Bar of California has weighed in on the ethical use of cloud computing systems by attorneys.

California addressed the issue in the context of a larger opinion of electronic devices and communications; in Formal Opinion No. 2010-179, the Standing Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct set forth a list of factors to consider before using any technology:

The  attorney’s  ability  to  assess  the  level  of  security  afforded  by  the  technology, specifically: (i) Consideration of hoe the particular technology differs from other media use; (ii) Whether reasonable precautions may be taken when using the technology to increase the level of security; (iii) Limitations of who is permitted to monitor the use of the technology, to what extent and on what grounds.

The legal ramifications to third parties of intercepting, accessing or exceeding authorized use of another person’s electronic information;

The degree of sensitivity of the information;

Possible impact on the client of an inadvertent disclosure of privileged or confidential information or work product

The urgency of the situation

Client instructions and circumstances

While it is clear that California attorneys using any electronic products and devices must be mindful of the risks of disclosure; they can rest assured that use of Online Legal Software mitigates some of these risks for them: bank-level security and domestic, American-based servers and backups, covered by American law, ensure data is secure and protected. 

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