Friday, February 22, 2013

Florida issues opinion on whether lawyers can use "the cloud" to store confidential documents

Legal Ethics in Motion is reporting (here) that last month the Florida Bar Professional Ethics Committee issued Proposed Advisory Opinion 12-3 on lawyers’ use of cloud computing to store and remotely access client files.  (The ABA Center for Professional Responsibility has information and links to all the opinions on this topic here.)  The Florida opinion emphasizes an attorney’s duty to perform due diligence in investigating a vendor’s “terms and conditions” prior to storing sensitive client information on that vendor’s cloud computing service.  It also reiterates New York’s recommendation to limit the use of cloud computing services to vendors who contractually agree to preserve confidentiality and security.  Also, the Committee adopted the view expressed by the Iowa Ethics Opinion 11-01, which states that attorneys need to have unlimited access to their own secure documents, while being able to provide only limited access to third parties.