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Board Approves Tracking Software and Imputed Disqualification Ethics Opinions

At the Jan. 26 Board of Governors meeting in Rockford, the Board adopted two ethics opinions.

Opinion 18-01 considers whether the use of undisclosed "tracking" software (e.g., "web bugs," web beacons," or "spymail") in electronic communications with other lawyers or clients is ethically permissible. The opinion concludes that a lawyer may not use such software in e-mails or other electronic communications with other lawyers or clients in the course or representing a client without first obtaining the informed consent of each recipient to the use of such software. 

Opinion 18-02 addresses issues of conflicts of interest and imputed disqualification. The opinion concludes that, as a means to avoid imputation of a conflict within a law firm, the Illinois screening provision applies only when a newly associated lawyer joins a firm. Screening is not available to insulate existing members of a firm from potential conflicts. 

For more advisory opinions on professional conduct and information about the ISBA Ethics Infoline, visit our Ethics page. 

Professional Conduct Advisory Opinions are provided by the ISBA as an educational service to the public and the legal profession and are not intended as legal advice. The opinions are not binding on the courts or disciplinary agencies, but they are often considered by them in assessing lawyer conduct.

Posted on February 5, 2018 by Sara Anderson
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