Trantolo & Trantolo prides itself on being one of the hardest-working law firms in Connecticut, one that personally gets to know each client and goes the extra mile in every case. Aside from a strategy of temerity merged with personalization, our approach involves upholding each client’s rights. According to the American Bar Association’s Model Code of Professional Responsibility, one of these is confidentiality.
Technology is an asset in numerous ways, but a drawback in others. Any business, be it law or another field, that stays ahead effectively implements the latest technology. The American Bar Association realized this need and, according to a recent article in the Connecticut Law Tribune, has decided to make changes to their ethics rules.
According to “Changes to Rules Make Sure Lawyers Stay on the Right Side of Technology,” Model Rule 1.1 is being targeted. Lawyers, according to this standard, are expected to offer competent representation, but as technology evolves and takes the legal field with it, “competency” changes, as well. While the new rule does not specify specific types of systems, it details that lawyers are expected to remain up to date on the risks, particularly where confidentiality is concerned, associated with technology. Using paper-and-book approaches won’t necessarily be held against a lawyer, the Law Tribune points out, but not effectively taking advantage of newer technologies might shed a negative light on his or her competency.
Law.com points out, however, that even basic and commonplace technology makes law firms’ and clients’ information and documents vulnerable, potentially violating confidentiality in the process. Risk of disclosure was not high in the days of paper records, but electronic information, devices, and systems, even Outlook, a stolen smartphone, cloud technology, or email without password protection, increase this possibility exponentially.
The American Bar Association has published its ethical rules since 1908, periodically changing them. Rules, however, are not absolute until a state’s Supreme Court accepts them. In Connecticut, the Law Tribune indicates, the Judge of the Superior Court still needs to hold a hearing for discussing and deciding on any changes to the Practice Book in Connecticut.