Posted by: johnocunningham | July 4, 2012

ABA Model Rules Could Push Lawyers To Master Technology

In early August, the ABA House of Delegates will consider proposed amendments to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct offered up by the ABA Commission on Ethics, and among the rules to be considered are a handful relating to law practice and technology.

Most importantly, Model Rule 1.1, requiring competent representation of clients, would require lawyers not only to maintain a knowledge of law and a level of skill in the practice of law, but a knowledge and level of skill in the use of technologies that relate to legal practice.

Other rules pertaining to client confidentiality would require lawyers to become familiar with cyber-security and the protection of client data. Among other things, they would require that lawyers take reasonable efforts to prevent inadvertent or unauthorized (even malicious) disclosure of client information, and such duties would include taking steps to prevent or cure data break-ins.

The Model Rules also address issues concerning technology and client development. For instance, Model Rule 7.3 addresses what might constitute unethical “solicitation” via electronic means, and Model Rule 5.5 addresses issues related to multi-jurisdictional reach and practice enabled by the Internet and other electronic tools.

Lawyers and legal marketers would be well-advised to keep a watchful eye on what emanates from the ABA convention in August. In the meantime, readers might want to check out this ABA Commission on Ethics page, as well as its various links to Model Rules on Technology and Confidentiality and on Technology and Client Development.


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