Supreme Court Seal
South Carolina
JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT
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RULE 3
AVAILABILITY OF RECORDS

Records required by Rule 1 may be maintained by electronic, photographic, or other media provided that they otherwise comply with these Rules and that printed copies can be produced.  These records shall be readily accessible to the lawyer.

Comment

Rule 3 allows the use of alternative media for the maintenance of client trust account records if printed copies of necessary reports can be produced.  If trust records are computerized, a system of regular and frequent (preferably daily) backup procedures is essential.  If a lawyer uses third-party electronic or internet based file storage, the lawyer must make reasonable efforts to ensure that the company has in place, or will establish reasonable procedures to protect the confidentiality of client information.  See ABA Formal Ethics Opinion 398 (1995).  Records required by Rule 1 shall be readily accessible and shall be readily available to be produced upon request of a client or third person who has an interest as provided in Rule 1.15 of the South Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct, or upon official request of a disciplinary authority, including but not limited to, a subpoena duces tecum.  Personally identifying information in records produced upon request of a client, third person, or disciplinary authority shall remain confidential and shall be disclosed only in a manner to ensure client confidentiality as otherwise required by law or court rule.