Staying on top of legal technology is important for any lawyer, and this means more than just knowing what new devices have come out that allow for better data and communication. Lawyers also need to keep track of how the laws are changing and evolving in relation to the use of technology. This is important both so that attorneys can make sure they don’t inadvertently violate any ethics rules through their use of technology and also so attorneys can advise clients on how new legal rules might affect their rights.
Recently, the Fourth Circuit made an important decision that could significantly impact your clients. Letting them know about the new decision is important both for their own sake and to help you to make sure that you are able to keep client data and details private.
The New Fourth Circuit Ruling
The new Fourth Circuit ruling addressed whether emails sent from a husband’s work address to his wife were privileged or not. Although marital privilege is a long-standing, hard-and-fast rule, the Fourth Circuit in this case ruled that privilege did not apply here. Marital privilege did not protect the emails because they were sent from a work computer.
This is a key ruling on e-discovery laws and it is very important that every attorney let their clients know the implications of this rule right away. Warning clients in advance of the potential loss of spousal privilege when sending from a work computer is simply smart law practice management since you can protect your clients from sending things they really shouldn’t.