Extract from Joseph Tate and Emily Plowcha’s article “Ethical Challenges of Conducting E-Discovery in a Remote Work Environment”
The COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in a new normal—the remote work environment. As organizations transitioned their employees from the traditional office environment to working from home, the use and reliance on technologies both new and old has increased dramatically. Just as the pandemic has challenged every aspect of our lives, the shift to a remote work environment has significantly impacted e-discovery and the ethical obligations of attorneys in this ever-evolving technological and legal landscape.
Under Rule 1.1 of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Responsibility, “a lawyer shall provide competent representation to a client. Competent representation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation.” Competency requires a lawyer to “keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology, engage in continuing study and education and comply with all continuing legal education requirements to which the lawyer is subject.” Courts have specifically tied this competency standard to e-discovery.