If you are an attorney in Texas your competency and knowledge of relevant technology is now a duty of yours to maintain.

The Texas Supreme Court amended Paragraph 8 of the comment to Rule 1.01, Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct, which deals with competent and diligent legal representation. Under the amended comment, maintaining proficiency and competence in the practice of law includes knowing “the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology.”

Why does this matter? Well, new technology software and tools are entering the legal market every year. This amendment means you will be expected to know how these advancements in software affect your ability to deliver legal services and communications to your clients. For example, if an affordable technology solution is available that allows for legal services to be delivered faster and more efficiently to your clients, but you choose not to implement that solution because you’ve “always done it this way” or you to continue to operate in an “old school” manner, then your decision could be considered a violation of the ethical duty of technology competence.

For those nestled within a large firm with full time IT staff, chances are you would not individually bear the responsibility for the overall information security of the firm’s data. For small or solo practitioners, this ethical duty of technology competence could present a larger challenge and overall greater risk. Just as you counsel your clients, it may be time that you or your firm seek guidance from a qualified IT security advisor.

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