We’ve blogged about legal translation services and legal interpreter services for managing international discovery. The field of electronic discovery is still in its infancy and although it is easy to think there’s little to navigate the ever-changing legal landscape, the Model Rules of Professional Conduct can serve as a roadmap. Further, recent cases are beginning to create a foundation of rules of e-discovery and attorney ethics.
First, the why: Why does e-discovery create ethical issues?
Over 99 percent of all information is now in digital form via a variety of formats ranging from word processing, spreadsheets, databases, text messages, images, audio and social media comments. Further, all of this data is stored in different devices, including computers, flash drives, email, voicemail, DVDs and phones. The result is it is becoming more and more difficult for an attorney to find and share all the required discovery documents as dictated by the rules of ethics.
As a result, the rules for attorney competence are evolving. According to Model Rule 1.1: “A lawyer shall provide competent representation to a client. Competent representation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation necessary for representation.”
Interestingly, Comment 6 states that this requires the attorney “to maintain the requisite knowledge and skill, a lawyer should keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice.”
In light of this, the attorney must stay abreast of not only the legal field, but also the changes in technology.