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

Recording of a 90-minute CLE video 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 8, 2022

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 specific 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 5.4 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, 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 candor, fairness, and supervision duties 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. Protecting Client Confidences (MR 1.6 & 4.4)
  6. Avoiding Sanctions
  7. Technology and the professional independence of lawyers (MR 5.4)


The panel will review these and other vital issues:

  • What is the duty of technology competence?
  • What level of understanding is required, and how is it attained?
  • What is needed to supervise eDiscovery staff and vendors under MR 5.3?


Diana, Anthony
Anthony J. Diana

Reed Smith

Mr. Diana is a litigation partner in the firm’s Records & E-Discovery and IP, Information & Innovation...  |  Read More

Tourikis, Kiriaki
Kiriaki Tourikis

Reed Smith

Ms. Tourikis is an associate in the Tech & Data group, focusing her practice on enterprise data risk management and...  |  Read More

Walsh, Samantha
Samantha M. Walsh

Reed Smith

Focusing her practice on enterprise data risk management and information governance, data privacy, security,...  |  Read More

Whitecap, Bradley
Bradley C. Whitecap

Reed Smith

Mr. Whitecap joined Reed Smith’s Records & E-Discovery group shortly after its founding in 2011. Now a senior...  |  Read More

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