Heidi Frostestad Kuehl,
Technologically Competent: Ethical Practice for 21st Century Lawyering,
10 Case W. Res. J.L. Tech. & Internet
1 (second article)
Available at: https://scholarlycommons.law.case.edu/jolti/vol10/iss1/4
The impact of technology and social media on litigation and the infiltration of technology into the U.S. and world markets are undeniable. Currently, ABA Model Rule 1.1 and its Comment include a broad requirement of technological competence for ethical practice. This Article will identify the obligations of technological competence embodied in Model Rule 1.1 and examine the current cases and ethical decisions that reveal the evolving national and state-specific technological competence standards. After reviewing the timeline of cases and current scholarly literature, this Article proposes a more specific ethical standard for baseline knowledge of various technologies according to current practice and use of ever-expanding technologies by today’s lawyers. The landscape is constantly changing in the field of legal technologies, and attorneys must follow the new professional norms of technological competence for their ethical practice. Overall, this goal may be achieved by more specific rules or guidelines, CLE requirements, and state ethical mandates or guidance that will create clarity for digital lawyering and boundaries for the ethical practice of law for a digital age. More robust technological guidelines and areas of ethical competence will prepare attorneys to practice law effectively and ethically in the ever-expanding digitized landscape of the 21st century.