I’m adding another to my list of states that have adopted the duty of technology competence for lawyers, although this state has done it in a somewhat different way.

Louisiana has amended its Code of Professionalism for lawyers to add two provisions related to lawyers’ use of social media. The two provisions related to technology provide:

  • “I will use technology, including social media, responsibly. My words and actions, no matter how conveyed, should reflect the professionalism expected of me as a lawyer.”
  • “I will stay informed about changes in the law, communication, and technology which affect the practice of law.”

These changes came about as the result of a Louisiana State Bar Association committee appointed to study and recommend updates to the Code of Professionalism, which was originally adopted in 1992. The LSBA approved the committee’s recommended updates in January 2018 and they were subsequently approved by the Louisiana Supreme Court in March 2018.

This approach to technology competence differs from that taken by most other states, which have adopted some variation of Comment 8 to Model Rule 1.1 of the ABA’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct. That comment says that a lawyer’s responsibility to keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice extends to “the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology.”

Although Louisiana has adopted the ABA Model Rules, it has not formally adopted the comments. Even so, these professionalism pledges create an obligation for lawyers to stay abreast of changes in technology and to use use technology responsibly. The net effect is much the same.

To read more about the changes in Louisiana, see:

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Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division.