♬ It's been a long time comin', my dear
It's been a long time comin', but now it's here
And now it's here..♬
Lyrics, music and recorded by Bruce Springsteen.
My friend Bob Ambrogi noted it first. The American Bar Association amended the commentary to Model Rule 1.1 dealing with competence:
Rule 1.1 Competence
A lawyer shall provide competent representation to a client. Competent representation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation.
The amended commentary is as follows:
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 amended words are shown in italics.
There are two aspects that are momentous to this amendment. One is to acknowledge that knowing and understanding the implications of using legal technology has in effect, become a standard of practice. The second is that it has taken so long to reach this point.
No longer will it be possible for a lawyer to claim to be a Luddite and also claim to be considered competent. Ignorance is no defence in the law. Nowhere is this more clear that in the emerging discipline of e-discovery; but this is also true for other areas of practice that are facing unprecedented technological change.
It has been a long time coming, but now it's here…a new day has dawned.