September 01, 2012

Techno Ethics: Sharing Real (and Virtual) Offices

James Ellis Arden

Jean-Nicolas Bouilly (1763–1842) said, “Whatever we possess becomes of double-value when we have the opportunity of sharing it with others.” But fellow Frenchman Edgar Quinet (1803–1875) saw it differently: “What we share with another ceases to be our own.”

There is nothing new about attorneys sharing an office, but the more virtual the office, the greater the sharing of facilities beyond real estate. Yet, a shared physical office and a shared virtual office operate under the same ethical reigns. Ethics rules lag far behind the advances in technology that have made virtual practices workable, so risks are inherent in using or ignoring new technology in a shared office.

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