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Posted by: Christy Gibson on May 14, 2013

     Here are some recent technology developments:

     In one of the presentations at the TBA Law Un-conference this year there was a comparison of start up costs for law firms in the 1980s versus the “virtual” law firm of today.    This comparison was used to illustrate the lower start up and maintenance costs for law firms today as telephone, fax, and files can be internet cloud-based with cost disbursement among many users resulting in greater law firm profitability.

     This same “virtual” illustration is applicable to the many forms of legal web information/updates available to lawyers today. There are many websites that offer RSS – Rich Site Summary - or social media links – feeds - that serve to bring content to the user.  Web based information provides a more efficient methodology to stay informed – whether it is a browser, a platform with extensions for bringing internet information to the user, or mobile devices providing the same type of features and availability via apps.  Also, some social media set up allow for this update feature including folders.

     The American Bar Association recently amended The Model Rules of Professional Conduct - comments to Rule 1.1 – Client-Lawyer Competence:

     “To maintain the requisite knowledge and skill, a lawyer should keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology, engage in continuing study and education and comply with all continuing legal education requirements to which the lawyer is subject.” (emphasis added) Comment 6 to Model Rule 1.1

     In fact, some corporate clients are now requiring law firm technology ability audits of attorneys.

     The best way to stay informed about legal technology developments is still the TBA Technology Un-Conference held at the Tennessee Bar Center each February.

William F. (Rick) Kendall, III