St. Mary's Journal on Legal Malpractice & Ethics

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St. Mary's University School of Law


Marissa E. Olsen

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This article focuses on the development of the law of ethics and technology. Emphasis is placed on how technological developments have affected the rules and means by which lawyers practice law and certain ethical pitfalls that have developed hand-in-hand with technological advancements. Topics examined include: (1) the ways by which electronic communication has increased the potential for the attorney–client privilege to be waived and the resulting impact on the present-day practice of law; (2) the effect of social media on lawyers’ ethical obligations, including counseling clients regarding the client’s use of social media and the lawyer’s own use of social media; and (3) the impact of cloud computing on a lawyer’s obligation to protect client confidences. The authors examine the development of these technological effects on the practice of law through an examination of the evolution of the American Bar Association, its Model Rules of Professional Conduct, and state ethics opinions and representative case law.