North Carolina has become the second state to mandate continuing education for lawyers in technology. Beginning in 2019, all lawyers will be required to complete one hour per year of CLE devoted to technology training.
In 2016, Florida became the first state to mandate technology training for lawyers, when it adopted a rule requiring lawyers to complete three hours of CLE every three years “in approved technology programs.”
Until now, no other stage had followed suit. But as I reported here last May, the North Carolina State Bar Council had proposed that one hour of a lawyer’s 12-hour annual CLE training be devoted to technology.
The North Carolina Supreme Court approved the requirement at a conference on Sept. 20, according to the State Bar’s website.
As proposed by the State Bar, the new rule read:
Technology training” shall mean a program, or a segment of a program, devoted to education on information technology (IT) or cybersecurity (see N.C. Gen. Stat. §143B-1320(a)(11), or successor statutory provision, for a definition of “information technology”), including education on an information technology product, device, platform, application, or other tool, process, or methodology. To be eligible for CLE accreditation as a technology training program, the program must satisfy the accreditation standards in Rule .1519 of this subchapter: specifically, the primary objective of the program must be to increase the participant’s professional competence and proficiency as a lawyer. Such programs include, but are not limited to, education on the following: a) an IT tool, process, or methodology designed to perform tasks that are specific or uniquely suited to the practice of law; b) using a generic IT tool process or methodology to increase the efficiency of performing tasks necessary to the practice of law; c) the investigation, collection, and introduction of social media evidence; d) e-discovery; e) electronic filing of legal documents; f) digital forensics for legal investigation or litigation; and g) practice management software. See Rule .1602 of this subchapter for additional information on accreditation of technology training programs.
Additional revisions to the rule describe the content requirements of technology training courses.
Here is the full text of the new rules: NC tech rule.
We will continue to monitor developments in this area. For a list of all the states that have adopted the duty of technology competence, please see this page.