Time to Revisit The Ethics of Metadata [New York Law Journal]

More than 10 years ago, at a time when much uncertainty surrounded issues related to electronic documents, the New York State Bar Association Committee on Professional Ethics (the New York Committee) issued one of the first opinions addressing a lawyer’s ethical obligations concerning metadata.1 In New York Opinion 749, issued in December 2001, the New York Committee concluded that under the New York Code of Professional Responsibility, lawyers may not make use of computer software applications to “surreptitiously examine” the metadata of electronic documents. In 2006, the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility reached a different conclusion, finding that the Model Rules of Professional Conduct do not prohibit a lawyer from reviewing and using the metadata contained in electronic documents.

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Michael B. de Leeuw

Vice Chair, Business Litigation


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