This year’s proposed ethics opinion from the North Carolina State Bar follows its 2008 Ethics Committee finding that the use of a web-based document management system allowing both the law firm and a client access to the client’s file is permissible. That opinion suggested that security code access that exclusively allows a client to access its files online would be an appropriate measure to protect confidential client information. The committee also ruled that if a contract is made with a third party to maintain a web-based management system, a lawyer must ensure that the third party also employs measures, which effectively minimize the risk that confidential information might be lost or disclosed.

The Arizona State Bar’s Committee on the Rules of Professional Conduct recently enacted a similar approach regarding client online file storage and retrieval systems.