Technology, Ethics And The Modern Lawyer

In the comment to Rule 1.1 of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, it states that attorneys must maintain competence “including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology”. This was an important point in the “The Low Tech Lawyer’s Guide to Ethical Competence in a Digital Age” presentation at this year’s ABA Annual Meeting. Just how technically proficient does an attorney need to be to use law practice management software?

Competence Vs. Expertise

You don’t have to know how to build a car or even how to change your oil in order to drive to work. You can be competent at the basic operation of a motor vehicle without having an engineer’s understanding of the physics involved. The same concept can be applied to a lawyer’s use of technology. You don’t have to have a Computer Science degree to know that you should protect online documents with a password, or have a virus scanner on your work computer.

The tricky part is knowing what you should know. Yes you need to understand some basic security protocols such as how to create a secure password but that doesn’t mean you need to understand the intricacies of SSL encryption and SAS 70 certification. Where do you draw the line? By working with an expert. Your clients come to you for your expertise in the law. You probably hire an accountant who has expertise you don’t to handle your tax filing. Similarly you can work with someone who knows information technology.

Cloud-Based Software: No IT Knowledge Required

One of the many benefits of using CosmoLex cloud-based law firm billing software is that we handle the technical side of things so you can focus on the law. You don’t need to worry about installation, hardware compatibility, software updates, backups and security threats. The software is hosted on professionally managed servers that implement a level of information security that a small firm simply wouldn’t be able to afford.

By trusting your files to a reputable information specialist, you satisfy the ABA’s requirements to address the risks associated with using technology without having to become a computer expert yourself. Our experts not only watch over your data, but also are available if you have any questions.

Ignoring technology doesn’t do either you or your clients any favors. Try CosmoLex billing software for attorneys free and discover how easy it is to adopt new technology into your practice.

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