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review/expert testimony/exams. defense or
defined. A recent Pennsylvania ethics opinion7
comes right out and states that a lawyer must, as
part of the duty of competence, acquire a basic
understanding of social media websites so that,
in the appropriate situation, a client can be
advised about social media issues arising with
respect to a matter in litigation.
Remember that what a client e-mails to a
friend or writes on her Facebook page may be
discoverable, and there may be consequences for
both lawyer and client if it’s destroyed after it has
been formally requested. Finally, be advised that
“technology” also includes cybersecurity issues
in cloud-based document storage and Internet-
based investigations and will ultimately be part
and parcel of the demands of clients that we
deliver legal services more effectively. 8
The bottom line is we need to keep abreast of
what technology has done to the practice. If we
can’t or won’t, we need to associate with a lawyer
who can assist us in the New World now redefining lawyer competence.
EYE ON ETHICS —continued from p. 10
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1. Public Reprimand No. 2013-21, Kenneth Paul Reisman, Board of Bar
Overseers, State Bar of Massachusetts (October 9, 2013).
2. In the Matter of Anonymous, No. 45500-1301-DI- 33, Indiana Supreme Court
(April 11, 2014).
3. Patricia Sallen, A Roundup of Supreme Court Rule Changes, ARIZ. ATT’Y
(Jan. 2015), at 44.
4. See new Comment [ 2] to ER 1. 18 (Duties to Prospective Client).
5. See new 4. 4(b) and Comment [ 2] to ER 4. 4 (Respect for Rights of Others).
6. See new Comment [ 5] to ER 7. 2 (Advertising).
7. Phila. Bar Ass’n Op. 2014-5 (Social media; Internet; Evidence; Discovery;
Advice to clients; Competence; Candor toward tribunals) (July 2014).
8. For more on these issues, see Andrew Perlman, The Twenty-First Century
Lawyer’s Evolving Ethical Duty of Competence, 22 THE PROF. L. 4 (2014).
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