This morning the International Legal Technology Standards Organization (ILTSO) published its standards for the use of technology in law practice.
This resource has been a long time in coming. The standards will be open for public comment and feedback after it has been out there for awhile. It will be a continual work in progress as something like this should be.
My hope is that the state bars and other regulatory entities will use these standards as a resource for their attorneys. Rather than each state bar creating these vastly different ethics opinions that are rarely updated in a timely fashion that attempt to dictate how we use technology in our law practices, these entities could instead remind attorneys of the rules of professional responsibility that they must comply with and then point them to regularly updated technology standards such as these and other resources for education. Especially with the rise in multijurisdictional and virtual law practice, the need for standardization of technology and security is becoming even more critical. Plus the standards take into consideration the needs of different types of practices that have different resources available to them, from the solo to a BigLaw firm with a full-time IT consultant. The suggestions are ranked accordingly and also written with very technical descriptions next to “easier to implement for the not so tech-savvy” explanations.
The goal of the ILTSO standards is to meet this need in the legal profession and to keep those standards updated as the technology and security changes. The board of the non-profit is made up of legal professors, international consultants, malpractice insurance carriers, IP attorneys, IT consultants and programmers, legal SaaS vendors, and attorneys from solo to BigLaw firms. I became involved in this non-profit about two months ago when called upon to review the draft manuscript of the standards. I specifically worked with them on the drafting of the ethics portion of the manual, but also advised as a solo practitioner with limited resources to implement really complex in-house tech solutions.
As with everything it seems, some in the industry will feel threatened by the creation of standards and attempt to find something negative about the formation of this group. I’m just glad that this resource is out there for the many attorneys that I speak to who are actively seeking this type of guidance. I look forward to the feedback from others as they read through it.
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