As of September 2017, 29 states have adopted an amendment to Model Rule 1, requiring attorneys to maintain competence in using technology while serving their clients. The amendment states, “…a lawyer should keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology.”
The new amendment begs the question: How do attorneys ensure that they are proficient using the latest technologies while continuing to maintain a high level of competency in the face of constant, often revolutionary change?
Following are some suggestions:
- Use a comprehensive legal case management program whose vendor provides superior training and outstanding client service. A flexible, customizable case management software suite provides a streamlined platform that allows attorneys and support staff to work efficiently while taking advantage of the latest technological features. A high quality legal case management program enables your law firm to easily adapt to rapidly changing technologies.
- Require attorneys to take CLE courses in technology. In fact, the state of Florida now mandates that attorneys must complete three hours of coursework every three years in state-approved technology programs; other states are sure to follow suit.
- Attorneys must become adept at the most sophisticated functions of their word processing programs. Lawyers are required to create complex documents, including briefs, motions, and pleadings. Consequently, having more than a basic knowledge of Microsoft Word isn’t enough to competently perform a myriad of daily tasks.
- Ensure that all confidential data is protected by the most advanced cyber security measures. Every firm should have in place a data security system that includes top-performing antivirus software, either an in-house or 3rd-party IT team, and a rigorous data security training program.
- Institute rigorous training programs that ensure that attorneys and support staff are proficient in using all your firm’s software, especially your case management program. Training programs should identify which staff members are best equipped to perform each specific element of a client’s work.
By embracing, rather than fearing technology, today’s attorneys are able to provide excellent service to their clients. Proficient use of technology also enables your firm to protect your client’s confidential data, which builds trust and confidence in your competence. Digital technology also gives you the flexibility to practice law beyond the confines of your offices, enabling you to complete tasks from virtually any place at any time.
Understanding how to effectively use laptops, tablets, and smartphones can dramatically improve the level of service you provide to your clients.
Needles Case Management Software will provide you with the tools necessary to manage matters efficiently and increase productivity, all without adding additional staff members. Request a free trial of Needles to see how we can transform the way your law firm does business.