This post was authored by Eric Pesale, a soon-to-be attorney who recently graduated from the New York Law School. Eric contributes regularly to the Logikcull blog, focusing on the legal impact of emerging technologies. He can be reached at or on Twitter at @ericpesale

On September 30, Florida became the 25th state to codify technological competency requirements for its bar members.  According to the Florida Supreme Court, members of the Florida bar are now required to take 3 CLE credit hours per year on technology-related topics. More significantly, the requirement puts attorneys on notice that they risk malpractice if they fail to competently navigate technology-related issues, such as properly safeguarding confidential electronic communications or engaging non-legal technical advisers when necessary. 

Florida’s new tech-focused rules highlight an overdue but increasingly popular approach by state bar associations to address a glaring competency problem that has beset a profession still dependent on Windows XP, fax machines, and, yes, typewriters. 

As of today, 25 states have adopted technology competency requirements for attorneys in the three years since Delaware and Connecticut became the first to do so. This trend will likely prove beneficial — if hard medicine — not only for the 62% of practicing attorneys age 45 or older who did not grow up with computers and similar modern technology, but also for new associates and solo practitioners whose only experience with legal technology involves using Westlaw Next or Lexis Advance.  

At this point, you’re probably wondering what technological skills are necessary to ensure competent practice. While the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure give guidance, if not hard-and-fast standards, this issue can only otherwise be answered on a state-by-state basis — and many states do not provide technical competency requirements that are as specific or detailed as Florida’s. Nonetheless, a review of various state formal opinions and cases involving ESI highlight certain technical skills you likely should know to help ensure you are providing competent representation.

Read the rest at Logikcul.