Informal Opinion Number: 20070008
QUESTION: Attorney electronically scans closed files to store them. All clients are aware of this practice. Attorney has been approached by a third party vendor to contract with Attorney to perform scanning for them. The vendor would take the files off-site to scan them. Would the proposed relationship with the third party vendor violate Rule 4-1.6(a) if the third party vendor executes a confidentiality agreement? If the clients are advised of the third party scanning and given an opportunity to object would this be considered consent under Rule 4-1.6(a)?
ANSWER: It is permissible for Attorney to enter into such an arrangement, without the express permission of Attorney’s clients. Attorney has the obligation to make sure that clients’ information remains confidential while it is in the vendor’s possession. A confidentiality agreement would be an essential part of that process. Attorney may also want to contact Attorney’s malpractice carrier for advice on this issue.
Informal Opinions are ethics advisory opinions issued by the Office of Legal Ethics Counsel to members of the Bar about Rule 4 (Rules of Professional Conduct), Rule 5 (Complaints and Proceedings Thereon), and Rule 6 (Fees to Practice Law) pursuant to Missouri Supreme Court Rule 5.30(c). Written summaries of select Informal Opinions are published for informational purposes as determined by the Advisory Committee of the Supreme Court of Missouri pursuant to Rule 5.30(c). Informal opinion summaries are advisory in nature and are not binding. These opinions are published as an educational service and do not constitute legal advice.
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