Informal Opinion Number: 2012-01

Rules: 4-1.6
Client-Lawyer Relationship
Confidentiality of Information
Subject: Confidentiality; Email and Electronic Communications
Summary: email disclaimer

Question: Is Attorney required by the Rules of Professional Conduct to include a disclaimer on e-mails sent by Attorney to Client that e-mail is not a secure form of communication and that Attorney is communicating to Client via e-mail because Client has consented to the use of e-mail for Attorney-Client communication?
Answer: No. The Rules of Professional Conduct do not require Attorney to use a disclaimer on e-mails sent to Client. As with any form of communication with Client, Attorney must take reasonable precautions to prevent the unintended interception of confidential information, as explained in Comments [15] and [16] to the Confidentiality of Information Rule, 4-1.6. Special circumstances or the need to transmit highly sensitive information may require special security measures in order to comply with Rule 4-1.6. For further information about the use of e-mail for client communication, Attorney may consult Informal Opinions 990007, 980137, 980029, 970010, and 970161.

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.

To request an Informal Opinion, please visit: https://mo-legal-ethics.org/for lawyers/requesting-an-informal-advisory-opinion/.

© Copyright 2023