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September 19, 2012

Legal Tech Day Today in SF!

TeachNeed to rack up some continuing legal education credits, especially those hard-to-find ethics hours? Concerned about the changes to the American Bar Association's Model Rules of Professional Conduct that now mandate that lawyers must be cognizant about legal technology? Want to learn more about how to effectively use trial technology?

Well, if you'll be in the San Francisco Bay Area today (Wednesday, September 19), have we got a program for you! Our sister publication, The Recorder, is sponsoring Legal Tech Day 2012 in San Francisco at the Commonwealth Club, located on the second floor of 595 Market Street. (BART/Muni: Montgomery Street station). Walk-ins are welcome!

Continue reading "Legal Tech Day Today in SF! " »

August 08, 2012

ABA Adds Lawyers' Use of Technology to Model Rules

Aba_black_logo128The 560-member ABA House of Delegates voted to adopt recommendations by the the Commission on Ethics 20/20 into the organization's Model Rules of Professional Conduct, reports LTN technology editor Sean Doherty.

Doherty looks specifically at the House's Recommendation 105A on a lawyers' use of technology and confidentiality, and 105B, technology and client development as particularly relevant to lawyers interested in how technology might impact their practice.

Image by ABA

August 07, 2012

Social Media's Place in the ABA's Digital Ethics

0812ltnp27Now that the American Bar Association's House of Delegates has approved the Commission on Ethics 20/20 resolutions to update the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, Robert Ambrogi's 10 tips to ensure your social media practices won't run afoul of the ABA are especially relevant.

For example, remember that "the best way to stay out of trouble with any medium is to understand how it works." This could equally apply to social media in matters of preservation and discovery. Read the full article from LTN, "10 Tips to Keep Social Networking in Line With ABA Ethics."

Editor's note: This post has been updated to reflect the House of Delegates vote.

Image by Scotty Reifsnyder

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

July 05, 2012

John Barkett: ABA Proposed Amendments to Model Rules

Aba_black_logo128 John Barkett,  a partner at Shook, Hardy & Bacon, was recently selected by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to the U.S. Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on Civil Rules. He recently provided an overview of upcoming proposals for modifications to the American Bar Association's model rules.

Here's his intro ... you can read the full story here.  (And watch for the August issue of Law Technology News magazine's August issue, which will have more analysis from Michael Arkfeld, Robert Ambrogi, and Stephanie Loquvam.)

Since 1908, the American Bar Association has published ethical rules to govern the conduct of lawyers. The Canons of Ethics became the Model Code of Professional Responsibility in 1969. The Model Rules of Professional Conduct replaced the Model Code in 1983. The model rules are not binding on lawyers in a jurisdiction until that state's supreme court adopts them. With variations in some of the rules, 49 states and the District of Columbia have done so. The one exception is California, which has its own ethics rules.

The ABA periodically reviews the model rules and their explanatory comments in relation to trends in the practice of law, and when necessary makes amendments to the rules or comments. States typically follow suit with conforming amendments.

In 2009, the ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20 was formed to, among other goals, adapt the model rules to technology innovations in the practice of law. To achieve this aim, the 20/20 Commission has proposed amendments to several rules or comments that will be voted on by the ABA House of Delegates, which meets during the organization’s upcoming annual meeting, August 2-7, in Chicago. The amendments appear modest but their import is significant.

Image: ABA

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