Document Type


Publication Date



University of St. Thomas Law Journal




U. St. Thomas L.J.

First Page



Metadata, often referred to as “data about data,” plays a crucial role in the digital world. It encompasses embedded information within electronic documents that reveals details about their creation, modification, and transmission. In legal proceedings, metadata can be both helpful and controversial, as it can expose sensitive information and potentially support or refute claims of fabricated evidence. With the widespread use of smartphones and other electronic devices, individuals generate vast amounts of personal data, including metadata, that can provide detailed insights into their lives.

This Article explores the significance of metadata in various contexts, such as digital photographs, and highlights the ethical and practical implications it poses for practitioners. Understanding metadata is essential for practitioners and consumers alike, as it contributes to our technological competence and raises awareness of the risks and benefits associated with personal data. In this Article, I will break up the explanation of metadata into four parts. First, I will detail my approach to teaching metadata to law students. I start with understanding what metadata is, where metadata can be found, and how metadata can reveal personal information about a particular user. Next, I will explore how the use of metadata has impacted individuals in the news. The third part of this Article will focus on how metadata can be used as a hands-on, practical exercise in the classroom. The fourth and final part of this Article will look at how metadata impacts both attorney-client privilege and the ethical duty of attorneys to maintain privileged information.