Technology and ethical opinions

Megan Zavieh had an interesting article on Lawyerist recently, making the point that State ethical boards shouldn’t try to regulate specific technology use by attorneys directly, but instead posit general guidelines.

The thesis is a good one.  Her argument is rooted in the simple concept that the law is, by definition, a slow-moving process, whilst technology is the exact opposite.  As a practical matter, what this generally means is that often the specific technology being discussed may well be moot by the time a Court gets around to reviewing it.  Broad precepts, on the other hand, tend to better stand the test of time.

Within the field of legal software, specifically in regards to the issue of cloud computing, Ms. Zavieh’s thesis seems to be in effect, with ethical opinions focusing on the idea of “reasonableness” without delving deeply into the morass of the technical nitty-gritty.  Although assuredly, some attorneys might prefer a touch more guidance (although the overall picture is clear), a series of quickly obsolete opinions would potentially do less to provide the same than broad ones.

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