Legal Tech and Ethics

Evolve. It is now your ethical duty. Ready to get spamming emails from Amazon Law, asking if you would like to take a 25% reduction in salary, or die on the vine? Yeah, me either. But is it coming? How can we avoid this? Evolve. Or click on that invite from Amazon.

On February 18, 2021, the California Supreme Court approved a new rule requiring technical competence for lawyers. Starting the week of March 22, 2021, Comment 1 to Rule 1.1 to California’s professional conduct rules now reads: “The duties set forth in this rule include the duty to keep abreast of the changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology.” With the stroke of a pen, technological competence became an ethical conundrum.

Bottom line: If your clients are absorbing your bad decisions about overhead, paying thousands of dollars, when an easy tech solution exists – you are in a pinch.

The natural questions are why? And why now? First, the why – the old way of doing business is over. This is a truth we all need to accept. Complaining about it and whining about it will not help us succeed; we need to understand the importance of technology in our profession and how it will help us and our clients.

We must let go of the old way of doing business and accept that the new path – legal services combined with tech will help both clients and lawyers. More importantly, we need to internalize it and continually ask ourselves – is this the easiest way to handle this task? Is there a way to use tech to automate this task? How do I ensure efficiency in my law firm?

Some lawyers were early adopters, they quickly adopted SMS for clients, using cloud-based storage and communication systems, and generally seeking out new tools and finding things that helped stream line their business. But now, everyone else must take notice – “legal tech” is no…

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