Some lawyers were concerned when the Model Rules of Professional Conduct were changed to include a comment that competence as a lawyer included an appreciation of “the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology.”
Now 31 states have adopted some version of this language in comment 8 to Rule 1.1, according to legal technology journalist Robert Ambrogi who maintains regularly updated information about the comment adoption on his blog.
Many of the legal technology community thought this comment was so obvious in today's times that it was difficult to understand those who object to the comment.
Reading an article in The New York Times this summer titled Thermostats, Locks and Lights: Digital Tools of Domestic Abuse made me think about how the lawyer who works in the family law arena faces a vastly different set of technology concerns (and competencies) about client safety and privacy compared to just a few years ago when few were familiar with the Internet of Things. But there's more to this than just telling a client to change their WiFi password.
So I wrote Technology Competence for the Family Lawyer as both a thought exercise and a guide for family lawyers. The question I attempted to answer is broad: What do you need to tell today's family law client about what that should be done to digitally protect oneself in the event of a separation or divorce, especially when the client may not have set up or be very familiar with the technology they are using? I'm sure I missed something but am pleased with the result. And while asking for social media shares sometimes comes across as self-promoting, I believe that there are many family lawyers that would like to read this column. So feel free to share or ask us about reprint rights.