Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

ABA: Lawyers Who 'Reply All' To Email Do Not Commit Ethics Violation

ABA News, ABA Issues Guidance for Lawyers on Email Protocols and ‘Reply All’ Use:

ABA (2022)The American Bar Association Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility released a formal opinion today that provides practical guidance to lawyers operating in an email world, cautioning them to generally refrain from including their clients when sending emails to opposing lawyers.

Formal Opinion 503 explores communications and the scope of ABA Model Rule 4.2, which is commonly called the “no-contact” or “anticontact” rule and has been part of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct since its inception in 1983.

The new formal opinion would not tag opposing lawyers with a violation of Rule 4.2 if they respond to a group email or text sent by the opposing counsel with a “reply all” even if that communication includes the opposing counsel’s client.

Reuters, Don't Copy Clients on Emails to Opposing Counsel, ABA Warns Lawyers:

Lawyers who include their clients on emails to opposing counsel open the door for those lawyers to make contact with their clients through a “reply-all” response, the American Bar Association said Tuesday in a formal ethics opinion.

Such reply-all responses generally aren’t a violation of the ABA’s model rule that prohibits lawyers from contacting a represented person without the consent of their counsel, according to the opinion from the ABA’s Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility. The inclusion of a client on an email to opposing counsel implies consent for opposing counsel to respond in a reply-all message, it found.

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