If you are a regular reader of this blog, you have probably noticed that I have closely followed the evolution of the duty of technology competence for lawyers, frequently writing about it and even devoting a page to tracking states’ adoption of the duty.
The duty is derived from the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct and specifically from Model Rule 1.1, Comment 8, which the ABA revised in 2012 to say that lawyers have a responsibility to keep abreast of changes not only in law and practice, but also of “the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology.”
The duty of technology competence is now formally part of the professional conduct codes in 36 states, and other states are considering adopting it or have endorsed the concept in ethics opinions.
Yet, despite the broad adoption of this duty for lawyers, judges face no corresponding duty. Just as lawyers are subject to codes of professional conduct, there is a corollary model code of conduct for judges and most states also have codes of judicial conduct. But nowhere in those codes is there a requirement that judges be competent in technology.
Why not? These days, judges are required both to work with technology in their courtrooms and understand the myriad technology issues that come before them. Shouldn’t they be subject to a duty of technology competence.
This is the question I explore this week in my column at Above the Law. Read more here: It Is Time To Extend The Duty Of Tech Competence To Judges.