While COVID-19 requires lawyers to become creative in our effort to move our clients cases along, in keeping with our ethical duty to zealously represent our clients, it is critical to remember that such conversations may not be considered “confidential.”   When we speak with a client or a client’s agent, such as a consulting expert, those conversations are considered confidential and protected from disclosure to our adversaries.

 

While Zoom is an excellent tool for conducting group meetings, such as mediations and the like, which do not raise confidentiality or protection issues, using Zoom to conduct client interviews and interviews with consulting experts can be viewed as discoverable.  We all know that if we allow a non-client and/or non-client expert to listen in on an otherwise confidential communication, we have violated the attorney client confidentiality and attorney client privilege.

 

Unless you select certain settings in the Zoom settings, all meetings are recorded and stored in the Cloud.  Zoom meetings are also publicly accessible with full names and faces are often displayed.  Preventing Zoom from making a permanent record or storing it in such a way as to make the meetings publicly accessible is a feature that can be turned on in settings.

There are other settings in the Meeting subtab that can also be adjusted, such as disallowing remote control of devices, file transfer, data sharing with Zoom, and screen sharing.

Below are suggested setting:

Please note that most, if not all, of the settings below are not the Zoom default:

Go to: Settings > Recording and click off the Local and Cloud recording features.

In the Zoom Settings section, under the Meeting subtab:

  • Require Encryption for Third Party Endpoints
  • Disable Auto saving chats
  • Disable File transfer
  • Disable Feedback to Zoom
  • Disable Screen sharing
  • Disable desktop/screen share for users
  • Disable Remote control

 

In the Zoom Settings section, under the Recording subtab:

Disable Local recording

  • Disable Cloud recording
  • Disable Automatic recording

I hope this has been helpful to all my colleagues who are enjoying Zoom in the everyday practice of law.

 

 

William F. McMurry