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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Ind. Courts - Rule changes proposed, would impose duty of technological competence on Indiana lawyers and judges

Lawyer and media consultant Robert J. Ambrogi wrote October 2012 for the MassBar Association:

The legal profession underwent a sea change last month, but few lawyers even knew about it. In a historic but little-heralded move, the American Bar Association said that lawyers must be competent not only in the law and its practice, but also in technology.

The ABA's House of Delegates, meeting in August, voted to amend the comment to its Model Rule of Professional Conduct governing lawyer competence to make clear that a lawyer's skill set must include technology. * * *

There are some who argue that this urging of technological competence is too little, too late. It is hard to argue with that position. Although the 20/20 Commission's report alluded to "the sometimes bewildering pace of technological change," the fact is that lawyers have been using PCs since the late 1970s and the Internet for at least two decades.

From July 10, 2015, a must-read article at Lawyerist.com, by Megan Zavieh, headed "Luddite Lawyers Are Ethical Violations Waiting To Happen." The long story concludes:
New rules and comments on attorneys’ need to keep up with technology have begun to propagate, and more will follow. With substantive rules come ethical obligations and malpractice standards. The age of the law firm partner who can’t remember what Facebook is called, or who asks his secretary to print out his emails, or who goofs up a video conference during trial, is past. Technology is integral to the practice of law, from both a practical and ethical perspective.
From the Texas Lawyer, a January 1, 2017 article by Stave Thomas, headed "Legal Tech Skills Are No Longer Optional."

Robert Ambrogi reported December 28, 2016, at his blog Law Sites, that "Another State Adopts Duty of Technology Competence; Makes it 26."

Posted for comment this month by the Indiana Supreme Court Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure, two proposed rule amendments, re Technology relevant to attorneys, and Technology relevant to judicial officials. The changes appears to conform to the 2012 ABA recommendation:

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, engage in continuing study and education and comply with all continuing legal education requirements to which the lawyer is subject.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 15, 2017 04:36 PM
Posted to Indiana Courts