November 03, 2015 Articles

Pitfalls of Practicing in the Electronic Age

Keep ethical considerations at the forefront when using modern technology

by Diana C. Manning, Benjamin J. DiLorenzo, and Jenny R. Caruso

The day-to-day practice of law is dominated by technology. Mobile accessibility permits access and communication from anywhere the lawyer may be. Law firms routinely employ BYOD, or "bring your own device" policies, and tasks that at one time required the use of a word processor and legal assistant can be addressed in moments from the palm of one's hand. While the convenience of mobile technology is undeniable, attorneys and the firms that employ such technology must be aware of the numerous pitfalls that this convenience presents. Convenience should not be a substitute for the care that attorneys should exercise in conducting their practice on the go. Attorneys should keep their ethical obligations in mind at all times when using mobile technology.

Confidentiality and the Use of Personal Electronic Devices
Attorneys' use of personal mobile devices for both personal and business use presents significant issues. If the firm permits business use on a personal device, an effective BYOD policy is essential. The policy must be tailored to ensure attorneys fulfill their paramount duty to maintain client confidentiality and must advise of the risks presented by mixed personal and business use.

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