The Tech Law Committee is an exciting new WCBA offering. It is intended to cover the constantly shifting intersection between the law and the technological realm.
Historically, tech has developed far faster than the law and ethics opinions could possibly react. This committee will seek to bridge the gap in information and help guide attorneys accordingly. This previously underserved area of the WCBA is targeted at attorneys who are already, or otherwise desire to become, tech-savvy and seek to incorporate elements of tech into their day-to-day practice.
Covering the full technology spectrum: social media, wearable devices, drones, cyber security, deepfakes, driverless cars, etc., the Tech Law Committee is designed to keep WCBA attorneys on top of the latest trends. It will infuse knowledge of emerging tech and news stories to help attorneys' improve their overall practice including, but not limited to, adjusted trial strategy, juror research, protection of privileged client information, and multi-layered advertising efforts. On the flip side, we will educate as to the applicable ethical obligations and potential pitfalls that come with attorneys' use of technology.
In this regard, we've seen the injection of technology add a dynamic layer to the legal profession. Those who stay at the cutting-edge tend to have an advantage over their less tech-savvy counterparts. Here, the Tech Law Committee exists as both a standalone committee for tech-specific issues, e.g., cybersecurity, as well as a crucial supplement to our existing and well established practice areas, e.g., Trial, Ethics, etc. We've all heard of cases that have been cracked through Facebook, Fitbit, or Alexa – and this Committee creates a valuable forum to discuss those big wins and the tips and tricks that brought home the desired result.
In light of the above, it should come as no surprise that knowing technology at a baseline level is now an actual requirement for attorneys. Comment 8 to New York Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC) 1.1 holds as follows: “To maintain the requisite knowledge and skill, a lawyer should … keep abreast of the benefits and risks associated with technology the lawyer uses to provide services to clients or to store or transmit confidential information.” Of course, the ultimate aspiration of the Tech Law Committee is not to just help WCBA attorneys reach baseline tech competency but, instead, to go above and beyond in penetrate – and thereby improve – all areas of our practice.
Anyone interested in joining the Committee is invited to contact us through the Association’s offices at CLE@wcbany.org.