June 14, 2018 Top Story

Social Media May Waive Confidentiality Says ABA

Former clients may have “generally known” information used against them

By Benjamin E. Long

ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility (ABA Committee) sought a workable definition to the "generally known" exception to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct 1.9(c)(1).

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The opinion sets forth guidelines that many courts will likely adopt in future cases, say ABA Section of Litigation leaders. The opinion concludes that the community will generally know the client information when the public in a certain geographic area widely recognizes the information. The relevant community may also include the former client's trade or profession. The ABA Committee acknowledged that information made widely available through the Internet or social media could qualify as meeting the generally known exception.

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