A paintbrush in the hands of an artist can help illustrate a vision, while someone else might just make a gooey mess of paint. The brush is a tool, while the resulting product is a work of the artist. Although some will hate it, and others cannot live without it, legal technology is actually little more than a modern tool, as well.
Anyone practicing law or involved with legal technology in some form for the past few years has seen some changes. Attorneys can now pick a jury, do legal research, and even present evidence in the courtroom with an iPad or laptop. Just a few years ago, when we left the war room for a day in trial, we also left behind all access to the outside world. Now, I panic if I have a momentary loss of email connectivity in the courtroom.
Fortunately, there is no rule that says you have to become an artist or master at everything. As an attorney however, you do have a responsibility to represent your client in the best possible manner, which might mean bringing in that artist when your client is demanding a masterpiece.
Model Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 1.1 suggests potential professional and ethical risks for failure to do so in Comment 8:
 To maintain the requisite knowledge and skill, a lawyer should 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.
This suggests that if you lose your trial using hard copy documents while opposing counsel used trial presentation technology, your client might now have grounds to become the Plaintiff in your own malpractice case. With so much information available on the topic, it would be hard to convince anyone you had a good reason for not using it, unless your client had specifically rejected the proposal.
Now this doesn’t mean that you must personally become the tech guru. Some attorneys have embraced technology and are able to do it all on their own. Others have realized that it would be better for them to focus their energy on the case, and let someone else handle the technology support. Either way, it’s not a good idea to ignore it.
Litigation-Tech LLC has been named again as one of California's Best Courtroom Presentation Providers in The Recorder's Best Of 2016. If you have some paint, give us a call!