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Legal Ethics in Digital Practice of Law: Duties of Competence, Candor, Fairness, Supervision, Communications

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Thursday, December 10, 2020

Recorded event now available

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This CLE course will guide litigators and other counsel through how the digital practice of law affects certain ethical duties and how they can comply with those duties. The program will quickly move beyond technology competence in Model Rule of Professional Responsibility (MR) 1.1, confidentiality (MR 1.6), and data security to address how digital operations impact MR 3.3, 3.4, 4.1, 5.1, 5.2, and 7.1 and the appropriate responses and mitigations.


The legal ethics requirement of competence in "relevant technology" goes beyond securing email, cloud computing, and avoiding unsecured wi-fi.

Since most discovery is e-discovery, making accurate representations about evidence and the case to the client, opposing counsel (MR 3.4), or the court (MR 3.3) requires knowledge of ESI types and sources and production format. Counsel must also grasp the significance of proportionality factors like data volume, cost, and burden of production. These duties are front and center in discovery conferences, requests, and related motions.

Attorneys directing others' work must comply with MR 5.1 and 5.3 to ensure reasonable processes are in place and that all lawyers and staff comply with their legal ethics duties. Failure in this area can result in inadequate discovery, inefficiencies, client dissatisfaction, and sanctions.

Listen as our experienced panel explores how the duties of candor, fairness, and supervision intersect with technology competence compliance.
The panel will explain how technology impacts lawyers' ethical duties and offer strategies for compliance.



  1. Overview of MR 1.1 regarding technology
  2. Technology and the duty of candor to the court (MR 3.3)
  3. Technology and the duty of fairness to others (MR 3.4)
  4. Technology and the duties of supervision (MR 5.1 and 5.3)
  5. Technology and misrepresentation of legal services (MR 7.1)


The panel will review these and other important issues:

  • What is the duty of technology competence?
  • What level of understanding is required and how is it attained?
  • When do motions to expand or limit discovery violate the duty of candor to the court?
  • What is required to supervise eDiscovery staff and vendors under MR 5.2?


Geib, Helen
Helen Geib

Of Counsel
Hoover Hull Turner

Ms. Geib is Of Counsel for Hoover Hull Turner LLP. Her deep knowledge of eDiscovery law and practice was gained over...  |  Read More

Harkins, Molly
Molly Harkins

Hoover Hull Turner

Ms. Harkins is an associate attorney at Hoover Hull Turner LLP in Indianapolis where she assists clients with a wide...  |  Read More

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