Technology is evolving at an unprecedented rate. 25 years ago, many law offices were still reliant on typewriters and tools like billing software and online research databases were still unfamiliar and expensive. In the relatively short period of time since, we’ve seen voicemail become commonplace; fax machines become a law office staple and then drop off again as newer technology took their place; the proliferation of the Internet; the introduction of mobile phones and then increasingly smaller and more capable cellular technology; wireless Internet access; cloud-based tools for law firms; mobile devices like the iPad and more. The new developments just keep coming, and with each an uncharted territory in legal ethics.
Legal Technology Today
While there remain many unanswered questions with regard to the use of technology in legal practice, some state and local bar associations have weighed in on specific technology-related issues, and other professional organizations have endeavored to create standards to bridge the gap and help attorneys understand how to use technology securely.
The Future of Legal Technology
As technology changes the way we practice law and offers ever-evolving opportunities, the ABA and state governing bodies are working to clarify existing rules and, where necessary, promulgate new ones to ensure that attorneys have the guidance they need to take advantage of these new tools while fulfilling their ethical obligations.