Taking on the Ethical Obligation of Technology Competency in the Academy: An Empirical Analysis of Practice-Based Technology Training Today

Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics, Vol. 36:1, 1 (2023)

60 Pages Posted: 31 May 2022 Last revised: 1 Mar 2023

See all articles by Jessica de Perio Wittman

Jessica de Perio Wittman

University of Connecticut School of Law

Kathleen (Katie) Brown

Charleston School of Law

Date Written: May 12, 2022

Abstract

Today’s lawyers must be technologically competent, per ABA Model Rule 1.1. Law schools and law firms were keenly aware of this expectation and summarily responded. While law firms offered more professional development opportunities, law schools began offering a variety of courses focusing on technology skills. These courses have increased and evolved over time as the curriculum has changed with the technology. Parts I and II present the evolution of ethical requirements surrounding legal technology competency and offers a description of the lawyering competency models most prevalently discussed today. Parts III and IV review data about technology trends seen at the most innovative law firms and examine curricular offerings in technology or technology-related fields at ABA-accredited law schools. This article then offers a comparative analysis between multiple empirical studies to determine whether key areas of technology training were reflected in the legal education curriculum and were sufficient to meet the ethical expectations set by the ABA. Lastly, this article recommends that law schools should increase technology instruction to meet ethical standards. These recommendations should be considered for implementation at ABA-accredited schools in light of ABA Standard 301(a), the forecasted changes planned by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE), as well as the new virtual practice landscape set by the COVID 19 pandemic.

Keywords: Legal technology, technology competency, lawyering competency, legal ethics and technology

Suggested Citation

de Perio Wittman, Jessica and Brown, Kathleen (Katie), Taking on the Ethical Obligation of Technology Competency in the Academy: An Empirical Analysis of Practice-Based Technology Training Today (May 12, 2022). Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics, Vol. 36:1, 1 (2023), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4108273

Jessica De Perio Wittman (Contact Author)

University of Connecticut School of Law ( email )

39 Elizabeth Street
Hartford, CT 06105
United States
(860) 570-5109 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://law.uconn.edu/person/jessica-deperio-wittman/

Kathleen (Katie) Brown

Charleston School of Law ( email )

Charleston, SC 29402
United States
8433772432 (Phone)
29403 (Fax)

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