Yesterday at ABA Techshow 2011 the International Legal Technology Standards Organization (ILTSO) – a non-profit organization dedicated to helping attorneys and clients better understand the practical and ethical implications of technology – released its “2011 Guidelines For Legal Professionals.” The report is available here.
The standards cover Local Networks, Cloud Services, Access Devices, and Ethical Considerations, approaching the space using the general framework encaptioned in the accompanying graphic.
Detailing several specific technical configurations and actions, the report rates each with 1, 2 or 3 asterisks. Lawyers can then use these ratings to assess their own level of compliance against a “Bronze”, “Silver”, or “Gold” matrix. For example:
- Bronze (single asterisk): This standard is appropriate in every law practice, including solo practices.
- Silver (double asterisk): This standard is typically appropriate for firms of more than one attorney, or where circumstances or resources dictate.
- Gold (triple asterisk): This standard is typically appropriate for larger firms or those with additional IT resources, or where circumstances or resources dictate.
Overall it’s a laudable effort to bring some uniformity and standardization to an area that to date has been addressed primarily through individual ethics opinions, bar associations, and other organizations. It also implicitly recognizes the importance for lawyers and law firms to critically examine their own technology practices.
In many instances, lawyers may find – paradoxically – that their caution or resistance to adopting and implementing new technology is actually rendering their practice less reliable and less secure than what is rapidly becoming the “reasonable” standard in the profession.
The ILTSO has stated that it welcomes feedback on the draft from attorneys, vendors, state bars, and all other stakeholders.