New ABA Ethics Rules Demand Tech Savvy

Earlier this week, the American Bar Association approved a number of proposals by its Ethics 20/20 Commission that would update its Model Rules of Professional Conduct.

According to the ABA, lawyers have an ethical responsibility to stay abreast of communications technologies. (Reuters)

The proposals from the Ethics Commission comprise a list of odd ends dealing with lawyer mobility and law firm conflicts. One of the new ethics changes dealing with communications technology, however, was particularly striking.

Apparently, according to the ABA’s new rules, lawyers operating in the modern world have an obligation — a real duty — to keep abreast of communications technologies (which falls under the broader “duty to provide competent representation” in the ABA’s Professional Conduct Rule 1.1).

So, to all the lawyers still using typewriters to draft their legal documents — not only are you a Luddite, you may be an unethical luddite!

A more comprehensive report on the rule changes, published by the ABA Journal, can be found here.

Read the resolution proposing the changes right here.

-David Dias

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