Upgrading technology can help lawyers comply with ethics rules
Lawyer Megan Zavieh speaks Friday at an ABA Techshow 2021 session titled “Tech Ethics in a World Molded by the COVID-19 Pandemic.”
Home internet, online payment software and cloud storage tools were among the areas in which Zavieh recommended attorneys pay for enhanced products.
She said the upgrades would help attorneys ensure they adhere to their duty of client confidentiality and comply with the general principle stemming from the ethics rules that they use secure technological platforms. Additionally, paying for business-level services could assist lawyers in meeting their duty of technological competence.
“The amount of money we are talking about for most of these platforms is still a drop in the bucket compared to the protection you get—and also compared to what it used to cost to run a law firm,” said Zavieh, an ethics lawyer who defends clients against State Bar of California charges.
In the case of home internet, Zavieh said upgrading to a business account would not only provide better security but also faster speeds and likely improved customer service.
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She said videoconferencing platforms were another area where lawyers should consider paying for business-level packages.
“When you are using entirely free software or you are using something based overseas that, frankly, nobody around you is using or has heard of, that is a good warning sign that you may be using a platform that is not secure enough to be having confidential communications on,” Zavieh said.
During her session titled “Tech Ethics in a World Molded by the COVID-19 Pandemic,” Zavieh also encouraged lawyers wanting to become more tech-savvy to find a like-minded group to help them do so.
She credited a conference sponsored by Lawyerist she attended several years ago with being an event where she found colleagues who spurred one another forward in tech innovation.
“As we collaborated and talked with each other, we learned so much,” Zavieh said. “So if you are interested in building a really ethically compliant but forward-looking firm, you are not going to do that completely on your own. You really need a tribe of other lawyers.”