The New Hampshire Bar Association issued Ethics Committee Opinion 2008-2009/4 on April 16, 2009. I've written at length on this subject and one can go here to review my take on all previous bar ethics opinions about metadata. It still bothers me that many of these opinions assume (A) that removing metadata is an expensive, mysterious and sometimes impossible process when in fact it is fairly simple to make sure confidential client information is not disclosed and (B) looking at a document's metadata is often intended to ferret out confidential client information when it is generally looking at routine things like a document's word count.

I was surprised when it was recently reported to me that half of the lawyers in a legal IT conference presentation indicated they were not aware of metadata. How could a lawyer have missed this significant issue at this point in time? I do note my general satisfaction that this opinion, and all recent ones, note that the transmitting lawyer has the clear duty to avoid sending metadata that could reveal confidential client information. And, we all now understand that metadata in evidence (like produced pursuant to discovery) is generally free to be examined.

The ironic and funny thing is that with all of the discussion in the opinion about whether metadata is "inadvertently" included with transmissions or not, the PDF of the opinion inadvertently includes an extra blank page. (Yes, sometimes i am easily entertained.)