"If 40 states have implemented an ethical duty of competence in technology, why aren’t lawyers completely technologically competent?

That’s a question Kenton Brice, the director of technology innovation at the University of Oklahoma College of Law, posed to the audience Thursday at ABA Techshow 2023. Brice, who moderated a panel discussion titled, “Technology Competence, It’s Required” posited that lawyers may not know what that means.

According to Model Rule 1.1 of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct: “A lawyer shall provide competent representation to a client. Competent representation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation.”

In 2012, the ABA House of Delegates voted to amend Comment 8 to Model Rule 1.1 to include explicit guidance on lawyers’ use of technology.

“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,” the comment reads.

While this spurred most states to adopt the revised comment to Rule 1.1, Brice contended that being competent in technology has always been a part of lawyers’ obligations."

This article was originally posted in the ABA Journal.

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