What Are Best Practices for Texting Clients?

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By William Vogeler, Esq. on February 14, 2019 1:55 PM

Some things are better left unsaid, and that includes text messaging.

For lawyers, it goes without saying that they must protect client confidences. But when sending a text message, it's easy to breach confidentiality because the sender doesn't really know who will see it.

That's why there are some rules when it comes to lawyer-client texting. Here are some written ones:

Consider Encryption

WhatsApp, Signal, and iMessage offer some end-to-end encryption for messaging. To be effective, both people in a communication must use the same program.

Of course, nothing is perfect in the encryption world either. Perverts, for example, were caught sharing child pornography on WhatsApp.

Lower Expectations

Typically, text messages are short. However, with voice-to-text technology, even a text message can drag on.

In any case, it's a good idea to limit texts to clients. If you text after hours, for example, you may inadvertently raise your clients' expectations about your availability to an uncomfortable level.

Keep It Secret and Safe

Perhaps Gandalf said it best when advising Frodo: "Keep it secret. Keep it safe." He was talking about the famous ring of power, but still it's a good line.

Like the magic ring, text messages will disappear. If you really want a paper trail, screen-shot them and save them in your client file.

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