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Texting with clients can be an easy and efficient way to keep
in touch, however, remember to stay mindful of your client's
expectations as well as the risks associated with how we choose to
communicate with them.
Utilizing Texting in Your Practice
* In determining how to communicate with clients, know
what works for you and your clients. In order to provide the
best protection to both you and your clients, consider:
Limiting use of texts to brief, non-substantive subjects such as
arranging for appointments, meetings or deadlines. If a client
asks a substantive question via text, consider suggesting that
you discuss the issue via telephone conference to ensure that
the information provided is received in an appropriate context
and that it is understood.
* Keep a record of all texts between you and your client. Just
as with any other written communication relating to your
representation of a client, it is important to document your
file. Most text platforms allow you to send your text chain
to an email so that you can either save it to an electronic or
paper file relating to that client.
This article was prepared by Holly M. Whalen, Esq.
We trust that the above article was useful and thought
provoking; however, please note that it is intended a
general guide only, not a complete analysis of the issues
addressed, and readers should always seek specific legal
guidance on particular matters.
For more information on LPL coverage generally and
Cyber Liability insurance, contact Ray Keough at 610537-1393.
Model Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 1.4.
Model Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 1.6.
In fact, the Comment to Model Rules of Professional Conduct,
Rule 1.1 provides that lawyers "should we keep abreast of changes
in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks
associated with relevant technology[.]"
* Secure your electronic device and advise your client to do
so as well. In order to protect communications between you
and your client under the attorney-client privilege, you must
ensure that the communications are not provided to anyone
other than you and your client. This may include making sure
the screen of your electronic device is locked so that messages
cannot be viewed until you access the device.
Maintaining security of your communications is one of the
most, if not the most important factor in considering whether
and what to text with a client. Security of text messages means
not only ensuring that the electronic devices used by you and
your client are physically secure, but also that the messages you
exchange are secure. Many texting platforms are not secure.
End-to-end encryption such as used by text platforms WhatsApp,
iMessage and Signal is considered the best protection by
cybersecurity experts, however, both parties must be using the
same platform to maximize the benefits of the security protection.
However, even use of end-to-end encryption is under attack.
In June 2019, the National Security Council met to consider
whether to ask Congress to outlaw end-to-end encryption.
The debate is not a new one and pits tech firms and other
privacy advocates against law enforcement agencies seeking
backdoors into communication software where strong encryption
hinders criminal investigations. The debate is far from over but
highlights many concerns we, as lawyers, may have regarding the
confidentiality of communications with our clients.
President and CEO
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To help achieve their mission, Humane Pennsylvania relies on
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