Recently the American Bar Association revised its model rules, specifically addressing the need for an attorney to keep current with advances in technology. The change in rules was proposed by the ABA’s Commission on Ethics 20/20 and was adopted during the annual meeting, held in Chicago, August 2-7. The affected Model Rule 1.1 speaks to the importance of an attorney understanding the “benefits and risks associated with relevant technology.” As stated in the Report to the ABA House of Delegates, “[A] lawyer would have difficulty providing competent legal services in today’s environment without knowing how to use email or create an electronic document.”
The impetus behind the changes had everything to do with developing a set of guidances to assist attorneys in not only representing their clients, but in understanding how to maintain the confidentiality which corresponds to competent representation. The American Bar Association has made practice resources available through its Legal Technology Resource Center. Its Law Practice Management Section’s eLawyering Task Force has also provided resources. The amended Model Rules have rounded back and have now imposed a duty on attorneys to embrace technology.
So how has Charlotte School of Law addressed the need to remain knowledgeable regarding technology and the practice of law? In July, the library staff conducted two student focus groups which addressed how students were accessing legal resources. Another purpose of the focus groups, moderated by Adjunct Professor and Reference Librarian, Cory Lenz, was to ascertain which legal apps students were accessing through mobile phones and tablet technology. This evaluation has been continued into the fall semester by the Advanced Legal Research class. As part of the class, every ALR student is evaluating a specific legal research app and will post the evaluation to the CSL Library blog. So watch this space! In the interim, please take a look at the “There’s an App for That” research guide, created by Metadata & Serials Librarian, Ashley Moye, and available on the Library’s electronic resource page.
~ Susan Catterall ~