WHAT DO GOOD LEGAL ETHICS LOOK LIKE?
Legal ethics you learned in law school haven’t changed in their nature or intent for many decades, but recent changes in the legal industry mean that those same legal practices have to be applied differently in response to new, developing technological situations. The information age is changing the way lawyers approach many areas of their legal practice, including how to uphold ethics surrounding client information and privilege. Cybertechnology, data security, and breaches of information all need to be actively monitored as we continue advancing into the digital realm. The competent and reasonable measures taken in the past to protect those fundamentals are not as full-proof, or even relevant, by today’s standards. While the ethics behind recent changes are still the same, how they need to be upheld is not!
Safeguard all DataAs an attorney, you are obligated to safeguard all data, digital and otherwise. Recent amendments to ABA's Model Rules of Professional Conduct include protecting information, in every form, as part of a lawyers basic competency obligations. There is a need for practitioners of law to stay informed and up-to-date on cybertechnology trends and how information can be exchanged.
- Model Rule 1.1: Competence. A lawyer shall provide competent representation to a client. Competence includes keeping abreast of the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology. This amendment was accepted in 2012.
- Model Rule 1.4: Communications. Amended in 2012 to include a lawyer shall inform their client of any potential compromise involving their confidential or personal information.