Lawyers in Manhattan have a duty to acquire and maintain the technological competence required to safeguard their clients’ electronically transmitted or stored information (ESI), the New York County Lawyers’ Association’s Committee on Professional Ethics (“Ethics Committee”) has advised as part of a recent opinion.
This duty, the Ethics Committee said, stems from the New York Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC), which require lawyers to “provide competent representation” and demonstrate the requisite “legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation necessary” to do so. More broadly, the opinion explained that the lawyer’s ethical duty of competent representation is not limited to his or her substantive legal expertise but “extends to the manner in which he or she provides legal services.”
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