Is your law firm up-to-date with today’s legal tech standards?
Enhancing and developing your technology skills isn’t just for the younger generation of lawyers anymore. Technological competence is now a professional development requirement for lawyers in 27 states. In addition, it is now an ethical duty for lawyers to understand technology and know how to use it. The priority for keeping up with new law firm technology trends has never been higher.
The ABA’s Official Stance on Technological Competency
Back in 2012, the ABA voted to amend Comment 8 of Model Rule 1.1. This Comment deals with maintaining competency. In addition to keeping up with changes in the law and in the practice of law, the Comment now includes the benefits and the risks associated with the use of relevant technology.
While the Model Rules are exactly what they purport to be, many bar associations across the nation adopt them or variants of them. With 27 states adopting technological competence as a professional development requirement, it’s a fair presumption that the rise and advancement of technology will eventually lead to all 50 states adopting it.
A Growing Movement
There are 23 states that have not officially adopted this requirement, but many of those states still acknowledge the need for competency through published opinions. Since it is probably only a matter of time before all 50 states have the requirement for competence in technology, it would be beneficial for all lawyers to begin exploring the world of legal tech.
The Legal Technology Core Competency Certification Coalition (LTC4), a grassroots organization dedicated to standards in technology proficiency, further highlights this technology movement. LTC4 develops legal technology core competencies and certification for law firms to promote and measure technology proficiency for their lawyers and support staff. Law firms around the world are adapting their training curriculum to mirror the LTC4 standards and through evaluation and testing, they can showcase their LTC4 certification to clients as proof of technology competency and efficiency from a legal service delivery standpoint.
Professional Development: Legal Technology You Should Familiarize Yourself With
Technology changes fast. It can be overwhelming for lawyers who aren’t used to using technology in their firm life. The following list isn’t meant to overwhelm you. It’s meant to help you find a starting point for professional development in this area. You don’t have to learn about all of these things at once; you also don’t have to implement everything that you read about. Think about technology and competence in terms of which things you would be most likely to implement or that you’re already using as a lawyer.
1. The use of social media.
This may include contacting people who may be in need of your services, sharing relevant legal news, answering questions, and expressing your personal opinions. Make sure that you understand the ethical rules in your state that are related not just to technology (social media in particular), but also to advertising.
2. Reliance on cloud computing.
Cloud computing is a broad term. It can refer simply to backing up your files on a server that is not physically located where you are or it can refer to programs that you access to run your law firm (such as practice management software or secure file exchanges with your clients). While cloud computing is convenient and a great way to increase the efficiency of your firm, it is important to enlist the expertise of IT professionals to ensure your documents and data are secure and protected.
3. Cybersecurity risks.
From phishing emails that are sent and received to malware, there are a number of cybersecurity risks that generally give pause to lawyers who may be interested in using technology. While lawyers don’t need to IT expert, it is in your best interest to understand the basics of cybersecurity and your firm should have a cybersecurity policy for your entire office to follow.
4. E-discovery and Internet searches.
Electronic discovery is a complex topic but technology is rapidly evolving to improve processes and enhance efficiencies in this area of the law. Keeping pace with changes technology is critical to efficiently service clients as well as ensuring that procedural and ethical considerations are properly considered and managed.
Using New Legal Technology to Make Your Law Office More Efficient
Infoware has been helping law firms embrace and leverage technology to enhance efficiency and profitability for over 30 years. Our software applications optimize and extend Microsoft Word and dramatically reduce the time and effort required to create and format legal documents.
As an LTC4 vendor member we understand software training and why driving user adoption is the key to ensuring a positive return on your software investment. Learn more about our legal software products today or contact us to schedule a free demo of one of our products.