A law firm maintains a web site that is intended to be accessed by persons who could become clients of the law firm. The web site provides information about the law firm, its practice areas, and the lawyers who work in the firm. The web site provides email links so that prospective clients may email lawyers who work in the law firm. The web site is arranged so that the person seeking to email the firm or one of its lawyers receives the following prominently displayed warning notice and must affirmatively accept its terms before sending information:
Warning: Do not send or include any information in any email generated through this web site if you consider the information confidential or privileged. By submitting information by email or other communication in response to this web site, you agree that the communication does not create a lawyer-client relationship between you and the law firm and its lawyers and that any information submitted is not confidential and is not privileged. You further acknowledge that, unless the law firm subsequently enters into a lawyer-client relationship with you, any information you provide will not be treated as confidential and any such information may be used adversely to you and for the benefit of current or future clients of the law firm.
A prospective client locates the law firm’s web site, accepts the warning notice quoted above, and transmits through an email link on the web site a request that a lawyer in the law firm represent the prospective client in a matter. In the request, the prospective client transmits confidential information concerning the matter. The lawyer receiving the email determines that the law firm already represents a client in the matter and that the current client is adverse to the prospective client. The lawyer communicates to the prospective client that the law firm will not be able to represent the prospective client. Information contained in the email transmission from the prospective client would be helpful in the law firm’s representation of the current client. The law firm proposes to use this information from the prospective client adversely to the prospective client in representing its current client.
Tex. Comm. On Professional Ethics, Op. 651 (2015)