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Communication is essential to effective client service. Retainer agreements provide a first opportunity to communicate the scope of your engagement and the associated fees. The retainer also allows you to clarify your client’s objectives and expectations, your role and expectations, general timeframes and how best to communicate with you.
Lawyers are required to protect clients’ confidentiality. The use of technology may affect the confidentiality of communications and client documents. Lawyers should seek client consent in retainer agreements to use both email communication and cloud storage. It is essential to establish whether your client agrees to communicate by email. You should also identify the appropriate email address, to ensure that email inbox may not be accessible to others in the client’s home or workplace.
While using the cloud is not prohibited, disclosure of confidential client information is. It is imperative that you exercise care and due diligence when choosing service providers. You need to develop an understanding of the service you use and the security employed by the service provider. You must inform your clients and obtain their consent, when you are storing data and using the cloud outside of Canada: see Personal Information Protection Act, S.A. 2003, c P-6.5, ss. 6, 13.1.
Written by: Practice Management Department