A new article at LawSites notes that South Carolina recently became the 38th state to adopt the “duty of technology competence” as a rule of professional conduct among lawyers.
The author of the article, Bob Ambrogi, points out that the move by South Carolina follows, but varies from, the 2012 amendment to the ABA’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct, specifically Rule 1.1, Comment 8, which states: “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.”
The South Carolina rule, as quoted by LawSites, reads as follows: “To maintain the requisite knowledge and skill, a lawyer should keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including a reasonable understanding of the benefits and risks associated with technology the lawyer uses to provide services to clients or to store or transmit information related to the representation of a client, engage in continuing study and education and comply with all continuing legal education requirements to which the lawyer is subject.”
The South Carolina Supreme Court added two additional Comments to Rule 1 – ones that relate to disclosure and safeguarding client information.
Bob Ambrogi expresses some concerns about the wording of the South Carolina amendments, as he feels they overlook lawyers’ responsibility to be aware not only of the technology they are using, but also of the technology the client is using. However, he commends in general the move by the state to incorporate technological competence for lawyers in its professional competence requirements.
I would be interested to know your thoughts on this – or on any matter relating to the management of law firms. You can contact me either in the comments section below, or directly via email.