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Understanding the Benefits and Risks Associated with the Use of Technology




Maintaining competence

To maintain the requisite knowledge and skill, a lawyer should keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, engage in continuing study and education, including an understanding of the benefits and risks associated with the use of technology, and comply with all continuing legal education requirements to which the lawyer is subject.


Ethics Informational Packet on Technology

This packet includes ethics opinions relating to social media, cloud computing, e-Portal filings, electronic storage, providing legal services over the Internet and electronic signatures. Additionally, the packet includes an advertising opinion relating to chat rooms and guidelines for social media and video sharing.


Below are some of The Florida Bar opinions related to the use of technology


OPINION 06-2, September 15, 2006, A lawyer who is sending an electronic document should take care to ensure the confidentiality of all information contained in the document, including metadata. A lawyer receiving an electronic document should not try to obtain information from metadata that the lawyer knows or should know is not intended for the receiving lawyer. A lawyer who inadvertently receives information via metadata in an electronic document should notify the sender of the information’s receipt.

OPINION 21-2, March 23, 2021, A lawyer ethically may accept payments via a Web-based payment-processing service (such as Venmo or PayPal), including funds that are the property of a client or third person, as long as reasonable steps are taken to protect against inadvertent or unwanted disclosure of information regarding the transaction and to safeguard funds of clients and third persons that are entrusted to the lawyer.

OPINION 06-1, April 10, 2006, Lawyers may, but are not required to, store files electronically unless: a statute or rule requires retention of an original document, the original document is the property of the client, or destruction of a paper document adversely affects the client’s interests. Files stored electronically must be readily reproducible and protected from inadvertent modification, degradation or destruction.

OPINION 21-1, June 10, 2021, A lawyer may not disclose information concerning a client’s representation without the client’s informed consent when responding to negative online reviews posted by individuals who

are not current clients or former clients. If accurate, the lawyer may state that the person who made the post is not a current client or former client. The lawyer may generally note that the comments in the review are inaccurate but that the lawyer’s response is constrained by the lawyer’s ethical obligations.


Ethics Opinions regarding Technology

Advising client to clean up social media 14-1

Chat rooms A-00-1 (Rev)

Cloud computing 12-3

Destruction of Storage Media Devices 10-2

Disclosure of Confidential information by adversary 93-3

Confidential information in Metadata 06-2

Confidential information through use of technology 10-2

Confidentiality in response to online review 20-121-1

Documents wrongfully obtained 07-1

Email encryption 00-4


Electronic Filing

Lawyer’s signature on electronic documents 87-11 (Rec)

Providing log-in credentials for E-Portal to nonlawyer employee 12-2

File Storage, Electronic 06-1

Filing court documents using the lawyer’s electronic credentials 12-2

Inadvertent release of confidential information by adversary 93-306-2



Internet bulletin boards & chat rooms A-00-1 (Rev)

Prospective client’s communications 07-3

Provision of legal services 00-4

Lawyer’s signature on electronic documents 87-11 (Rec)

Metadata 06-2

Misdelivered documents 93-306-2

Outsourcing non-lawyer work 07-2

Payment Apps 21-2

Social media, advising client to clean up 14-1


See the Ethics Department’s complete Subject Index of Ethics Opinions.


*Note: Advisory Ethics Opinions are not binding.