"Lawyers who copy their clients on emails and other forms of electronic communications when messaging a lawyer representing someone in the same matter have given implied consent to receiving a “reply all” response back from the recipient counsel, absent special circumstances, according to a new ethics opinion from the ABA.

In Formal Opinion 503, released Wednesday, the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility cautions lawyers to not copy their clients on electronic communications to opposing counsel, unless the intended result is a “reply all” response.

An ABA press release is here.

Instead, attorneys should forward messages separately to their clients to avoid this potential scenario. Otherwise, the reply-all communications from the receiving counsel would not run afoul of ABA Model Rule 4.2, which prohibits lawyers from communicating about the subject of the representation with a represented person, absent the consent of that person’s lawyer. The new opinion is intended to “provide a brighter and fairer line for lawyers who send and receive group emails or text messages.”

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