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August 06, 2012

Will the ABA Ethics Rules Get a Technological Upgrade?

0812ltnp45With the American Bar Association's House of Delegates meeting today and tomorrow at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, six resolutions from the ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20 proposing changes to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct are expected to be put to vote: "Technology & Confidentiality," "Technology & Client Development," "Outsourcing," "Practice Pending Admission," "Admission by Motion," Model Rule 1.6 (Detection of Conflicts of Interest)."

Michael Arkfeld and Stephanie Loquvam in "Are Proposed Changes to ABA Ethics Rules Too Little, Too Late?" turn their attention to the resolutions, and specifically to suggested changes in the comments to the model rules that bring a lawyer's technological competence to bear upon his or her competent representation of a client.

In Comment 6 to Model Rule 1.1, the commission proposes adding the phrase "including the benefits and risks associated with technology" to a lawyer's responisiblity to keep current with changes in the law and its practice. This is a "game changer," according to Arkfeld and Loquvam, requiring that lawyers firmly understand how electronically stored information is created, stored, and retrieved.

For a better grasp on how these changes might affect the practice of law -- and what benefits and risks technology brings to the legal industry -- read the article on LTN online.

Image by Daniel Hertzberg

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