June 12th, 2019
Can I Text my Attorney?
Texting has become a standard part of today’s communication. In addition to the text communications that we exchange with friends, family members, and colleagues, we also receive text messages from doctor’s offices, hair salons, pharmacies, restaurants, delivery services, and other businesses to make and confirm reservations and appointments, relay that orders are ready, or provide other information to help facilitate things in our busy lives.
Because texting is so common, many clients may want to use it as a way to communicate with their attorney during the course of a lawsuit. While texting with your attorney can be a quick and easy way to share information, there are important considerations to take into account when texting with an attorney, and in many circumstances, texting may not be the appropriate method of communicating with your lawyer.
The most important consideration when communicating with your attorney in any manner, including text message, is that the attorney-client privilege remain protected. This means that the communications between you and your attorney need to stay between you and your attorney. As a general rule other people should not be able to participate, listen, or read what you and your lawyer discuss, otherwise the attorney-client privilege may be deemed waived and these communications may be subject to disclosure to the other side in your lawsuit. Texting can pose some significant risks to protecting the confidentiality of communications with your lawyer. Depending on privacy settings on your cell phone, the texts may be visible on the home screen for anyone to see as they are delivered to your phone, or someone may be able to simply pick up your phone and read through all of your text messages, including with your lawyer. Texts can also be harder for your lawyer to document in their file than emails, which are usually linked to a server and able to be saved in their original format, or hard copy communications such as letters, which are copied and filed when the letter is drafted and sent. Text messages can also be difficult for communicating complicated or in-depth information, and are not ideal for conversations where you may have a lot of questions for your lawyer and they will need to give you answers with lengthy explanations.
In short, while it may be convenient and not pose problems to text your attorney for some basic communications, such as to confirm the time of a meeting, or the location of a deposition, keep in mind that text messages with your attorney should be exchanged with some caution and are often not ideal for discussions about your case. Emails and telephone calls are a more secure and practical way to effectively communicate with your lawyer in a way that ensures confidentiality and the attorney-client privilege are maintained.