In 2009, the American Bar Association established the Commission on Ethics 20/20 which was tasked with performing a thorough review of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct. Three years later, the ABA House of Delegates voted to amend the rules, introducing a change to Rule 1.1, Comment 8: To maintain the requisite knowledge and skills of a competent legal practitioner, a lawyer must now keep abreast of changes in technology and maintain an awareness of its associated risks and benefits. Attorneys are called upon to "engage in continuing study and education [with respect to technology] and comply with all continuing legal education requirements to which the lawyer is subject." (Since 2012, this model law has been adopted by 20 states, but Texas is not yet one of them.)
In addition, the ABA and several states have issued ethics opinions related to the use of technology in the practice of law. Social networking, electronic communications, cloud computing, and virtual lawyering have all been addressed, often focusing on the duty of care that attorneys must exercise to maintain confidentiality in the management and exchange of information. These ethics opinions are nonbinding and only advisory in nature, but increasingly, the decisions are beginning to carry more weight.
To encourage compliance with Model Rule 1.1, Comment 8, the Harris County Law Library recommends membership in ILTA, or the International Legal Technology Association. This network of peers will help you build connections with other legal professionals and keep current with new developments in legal technology. Check out the member benefits here, and stay up-to-date with the local ILTA events taking place in the Houston area.