Evan Schaeffer has these comments on the Florida Bar’s Ethics Committee proposed advisory opinion on metadata. The opinion instructs attorneys to safeguard metadata in documents, but at the same time, directs lawyers who receive documents not to view metadata if not intended for them. Evan wonders why Florida doesn’t put the onus on the transmitting lawyers to protect their documents and instead, imposes a burden on the recipient not to read that information.
By taking the burden off transmitting lawyers to protect documents, the Florida bar ultimately sets their clients up for greater problems. What happens, for example ,when a Florida attorney transmits a document out of state? Surely, the Florida bar can’t sanction a New York attorney for reading the Florida attorney’s metadata. If Florida attorneys aren’t encouraged to secure their documents, their clients will suffer in the long run in cases where the Florida Bar has no control over the lawyer who receives the document at the other end.