I am sure that by now you know that the Model Rules were amended a few years ago to include a comment about the use of "technology" in the practice of law. Specifically, it says that it is part of the duty of competence to understand how to use, and the risks of using, "technology" in the practice of law. And, I am sure you have heard of instances of lawyers making mistakes when using technology, such as hitting reply all when sending e-mail, or disclosing confidential information by mistake by sending a word document with visible comments/corrections, or losing stuff because the lawyer did not back up the files etc
I am writing about this today because today's news have another example of a common mistake: not understanding how to redact a document in a word processing program or as a pdf file.
The ABA Journal is reporting today that U.S. Magistrate Judge Pamela Meade Sargent has ordered Jones Day and another firm to show cause why they shouldn’t be sanctioned after they filed a document that was incorrectly redacted in a criminal case against their pharmaceutical client.
As you may know, if a document is not redacted properly, all you need to do is copy the portion of the document you can't see, and then cut and paste it into a blank document. If the document was not redacted properly, the originally hidden text will appear in the new document after you paste it.
This is what happened in the case and the error allowed others to get access to protected grand jury information.
You can read the story here.