To maintain confidentiality with your attorney, you have an obligation to assure your communications with your attorney are, in fact, confidential. It may feel that you have no obligation, but we are in a new world where texts and email make up the majority of communications. Here are a few things you need to know to protect the communications from your end:
- Do not ever use your work email for personal legal matters. No matter how convenient this may seem to you, your employer most likely has the authority to review anything done on a work computer/tablet. This could result in all communications and documents emailed between you and your attorney ending up not only in the hands of the employer, but in the hands of the opponent in your case.
- Do not use a work computer, even with your personal email system, because that, too, is open to employer review because it is a work computer. It makes no difference that it is your personal email account.
- Do not ever use your work phone or tablet or computer for text messaging with your attorney for precisely the same reason. You simply cannot assure that the communications remain confidential.
- Do not use any computer that anyone else can access. Passwords are not that difficult to guess by someone who knows you well, and that person may be on the other side of a litigation. That said, there are challenges beyond confidentiality on this, but best to keep things discussed between you and your attorney secure and confidential.
- Do not have a third party present for any discussions with your attorney as that person is not mandated to keep the confidentiality of the meeting with your attorney. They can be subpoenaed to provide the sum and substance of your conversation with your attorney and there is no way to stop it.
- Do not discuss details of your case in public places where you may be overheard.
- Do not discuss your case at all when children are near!
- Use common sense.
There are now methods for use of dual security entry systems, even for your own email and text messaging systems for an added level of security. You may want to discuss this with your attorney if any of these “openings” for loss of confidentiality exist.
Your attorney has an absolute duty of confidentiality, but you have a responsibility on your end as well. Security of the information happens on your end of the electronic connection, too. Even those who are “low tech” need to take reasonable precautions for security of our personal, confidential information, and this is an area worth protecting.