A Lawyer’s Ethical Responsibility to be Tech Savvy

It’s obvious that law firms derive a competitive benefit from being up to date with the latest trends in digital technology. However, what’s not so obvious is the idea that tech savvy attorneys are fulfilling an ethical duty to their clients. In an October 6, 2016 article of Law360.com, writer Melissa Maleske reports that Florida recently become the 25th state to adopt an amendment regarding technological proficiency to the American Bar Association’s Model Rule 1.1, which governs a lawyer’s ethical duty of competence.

The Model Rule states in part:
“A lawyer shall provide competent representation to a client. Competent representation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation.”

The Rule also notes that attorneys must engage in study and education to “keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice.”

The ABA amended Model Rule 1.1 in 2012 to add that changes in the practice of law include the risks and benefits associated with relevant technology.

Florida’s embrace of technology’s role in legal ethics goes a step further than most other states, when it added a 3-hour CLE requirement to its Model Rules, specifying that attorneys must fulfill the obligation in an approved technology program.

How Being Up to Date on Technology Benefits your Clients
Being on top of the latest technological trends provides great benefit to your clients as well as giving you a competitive edge over law firms who are not as sophisticated in the use of digital technology. Following are some tips on how the tech savvy law firm will benefit its clients:

  • Technology allows lawyers to better inform clients.
    Through consistent email contact, you can provide your clients with 24/7 access to information about their cases.
  • Firewalls and other security measures protect against data breach.
    As hackers become more sophisticated, law firms that implement the most advanced security measures will protect client confidentiality.
  • Digital technology enables you to practice law outside the traditional office.
    Tech savvy attorneys can conduct legal research and stay in touch with their clients from virtually anywhere in the world. This enables you to provide more timely and efficient service without being restricted to the four walls of your office.
  • Legal case management software enables you to run your practice more efficiently. For example, a legal case management program such as Needles gives you the tools to gather client information seamlessly, keep your contacts perfectly organized, and can integrate with most email systems. Needles also enables you to engage in both one-on-one and group communication, effortless document management and access to vast research data, including case histories.

If you’d like to find out more about Needles and how it will help your firm take the next step in growth and productivity, give us a call at 410-363-1976. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you want to take advantage of this tax benefit and purchase before end of year! We offer a free demo, so you can see for yourself exactly how Needles’ customizable, feature-rich legal case management software can help your company continue to grow and prosper in the coming years.

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