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Opinion 680

Question Presented

Under the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct may a lawyer use cloud-based client data storage systems or use cloud-based software systems for the creation of client-specific documents where confidential client information is stored or submitted to a cloud-based system?

A lawyer is considering subscribing to various cloud-based electronic storage and software systems that allow users to store confidential client information or prepare form legal documents by uploading confidential client information for insertion into those form documents.   The lawyer is concerned because these cloud-based electronic storage and software systems are owned by private companies, the various computer servers on which this client confidential information would reside are or may be located in other countries, the client information could be accessed by employees of these private companies, and there is the possibility of these servers and the confidential information residing on them being “hacked” by third parties or being rendered inaccessible as a result of a cloud storage vendor going out of business.  The lawyer questions whether it is ethical to use cloud-based electronic storage or software systems given these conditions and the potential disclosure risks to confidential client information.  

Bluebook Citation

Tex. Comm. On Professional Ethics, Op. 680 (2018)