In 2012, the American Bar Association amended the Model Rules of Professional Conduct (“ROPC”) to address technology issues. As of today, 40 states have adopted at least some of those changes. Among other things, the italicized language was added to Rule 1.1, Comment 8: “To maintain the requisite knowledge and skill, a lawyer should keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology…” Further, Rule 1.6(c) was added which states that “ lawyer shall make reasonable efforts to prevent the inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure of or unauthorized access to information related to the representation of a client.” As we all know, digital client data is much harder to protect from unauthorized disclosure than the analog (paper-based) data it is replacing. The cold reality is that it’s nearly impossible to practice law today without directly using technology. For many in the generation of lawyers who didn’t grow up with technology, the new tools and procedures being thrust upon us are a constant source of discomfort and irritation. What does a senior lawyer need to know about the ethics rules changes, and how do we uphold our supervisory obligations under ROPC 5.1 and 5.3? What (simple and inexpensive) tools are available to help lawyers discharge their duty to use “reasonable efforts” to protect client data? How can a lawyer (who may not consider him/herself to be tech savvy) learn to be more self-reliant and confident about the technology tools we simply cannot avoid while practicing law? In this segment, we’ll answer all of those questions and more.
- The relevant rules of professional conduct which arguably make technical competence a subset of professional competence
- How to protect yourself, your clients, and mitigate the risk of mistakes that can happen when technology tools are in use
- Cybersecurity measures any lawyer can (and should) take which are inexpensive, easy and off-the-shelf
- Password managers, email encryption services, and how to lock down your mobile devices
- How to share electronic files with others securely and without using email
- Strategies for increasing your technical knowledge, regardless of the year you were born
- Technology tips and recommendations
- What you need to look like a pro in your next web meeting
- Hardware and software recommendations
- Explanation of digital signature platforms and when they’re appropriate
Barron K. Henley, Esq.