July/August 2020

Practice Management Advice

Keeping Up With Technology Attracts Talent

Heidi A. Barcus

Lawyers know that we have a duty to keep up with technology. There is no question that we have an ethical obligation under the Model Rules of Professional Conduct to know how to use the latest technology. The obligation stems from the requirement that we provide competent representation to clients. There are also practical reasons to incorporate technology in our practices. We must do this in order to bring in and maintain clients. Every day our clients communicate with their doctor and accountant using client portals and text messages. They are used to checking their medical records and tax returns on a portal. Additionally, most professional organizations now utilize a portal for key documents. It has become expected. We must keep up with the changes in technology in order stay relevant.

Most importantly, failing to keep up with technology can lead to embarrassing and expensive data breaches. Small firms are finding themselves targets of cyber criminals because of the amount of personally identifiable information they maintain in their files and the relatively few protections most small firms take to protect that data. Finally, as economic pressures increase for lawyers, finding ways to work as efficiently as possible is the only way we are going to be able to survive in the coming years. If I can find a way to do my work faster, not only will the client benefit, but I may find a way to get home before dark. These reasons alone should be motivation to update your firm technology.

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