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THE DAILY RECORD
                                                                                                           Monday, September 12, 2011




         WESTERN NEW YORK’S SOURCE FOR LAW, REAL ESTATE, FINANCE AND GENERAL INTELLIGENCE SINCE 1908


                                               LegalCURRENTS
                 Technology changing
                at lightning-fast speeds
   In last week’s column, I expressed alarm regarding what I per- etched into our collective conscious also serves as a technologi-
ceived to be a shift in thinking on the issue of electronic com- cal benchmark. Recall that there were no smart phones, no cell
munications on the part of the American Bar Association’s phones with built-in cameras or video capabilities, no ability to
Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional                                 instantaneously provide updates and information via
Responsibility in Formal Opinion No. 11-459. Prior                            tweets or status messages.
decisions, regarding communications with clients,                                For many of us, the past 10 years passed unbeliev-
such as ABA Formal Opinion No. 99-413, focused on                             ably quickly and it seems as if Sept. 11 happened just
the sensitivity of the issues being discussed when                            yesterday. And yet, since then, so much about our day-
determining the most appropriate and secure method of                         to-day lives has changed. And much of that change
communication.                                                                accelerated at an incredible, never-before-seen rate
   However, in Op. No. 11-459 the committee appeared                          during the latter half of the decade.
to depart from its prior reasoning when it stated that “A                        By way of perspective, consider this timeline:
lawyer sending or receiving substantive communica-                               • February 2004 — Facebook launched as student-
tions with a client via email or other electronic means                       only site
ordinarily must warn the client about the risk of send-                          • April 2005 — Gmail launched in private beta
ing or receiving electronic communications using a By NICOLE                     • June 2006 — Google Spreadsheets, Google’s first
                                                           BLACK
computer or other device, or email account, to which a                         non-email cloud product, launched
third party may gain access.” This conclusion implies Daily Record               • July 2006 — Twitter launched
                                                           Columnist
that any type of electronic communication poses a risk,                          • August 2006 — Amazon EC2 cloud product
and a corresponding duty to warn, simply by virtue of the method released in private beta
of dissemination of information.                                       • September 2006 — Facebook opened to the public. Its num-
   I don’t believe that the committee’s intent was to discourage ber of users increased from 12 million in Dec. ’06 to 50 million
attorneys from using electronic communications with their in Oct. ’07
clients. Far from it. Instead, I believe this broadly worded con-      • June 2007 — iPhone released in U.S.
clusion was an unintentional oversight. However, its effect is far     • November 2007 — Kindle released in U.S.
reaching since the committee’s conclusions, while not binding,         • July 2008 — Apple launches the App Store
are used as a reference by state ethics committees and thus set        • April 2010 — iPad released in U.S.
the tone on matters of ethics nationwide.                              • June 28 — Google+ launched in private beta and had more
   This arguably unintentional message sent to attorneys — that than 25 million users within 4 weeks
electronic methods of communication are inherently suspect —           Over the last 7 years, technology has transformed our personal
could not have come at a more pivotal time. Our profession is at and professional lives. New, extremely profitable businesses
a crossroads and any message that discourages adaptation to new exist that weren’t even conceivable just 5 years ago. Think about
technologies could have drastic effects, both short term and long it — the rate of change has been mind-boggling and unlike any-
term.
                                                                     thing we’ve ever experienced.
   This is because technology is advancing at a rate never before
                                                                       Now, social media and smart phones are ubiquitous. Mobile
seen. Think back to our lives just a decade ago, as we pass the
10th anniversary of Sept. 11. That horrible day that is forever                                                       Continued ...



                                      Reprinted with permission of The Daily Record ©2011
THE DAILY RECORD
                                                                                                              Monday, September 12, 2011




         WESTERN NEW YORK’S SOURCE FOR LAW, REAL ESTATE, FINANCE AND GENERAL INTELLIGENCE SINCE 1908


Continued ...                                                          The legal field is not exempt from this societal transformation
apps, a concept that didn’t even exist until 3 years ago, will bring   and leaders in the legal field would be wise to acknowledge the
                                                                       level of change that is occurring, understand it, accept it and
in more than $15 billion in revenue this year. The first Kindle
                                                                       encourage lawyers to do the same.
wasn’t released until the end of 2007, but Amazon’s eBook store
                                                                         Because ethics committees set the tone, it is therefore imper-
will generate more than $5 billion in revenue by the end of 2011       ative that they lead the way by issuing thoughtful and carefully
and 15 percent of Simon & Schuster’s revenue comes from                worded opinions that provide lawyers with much-needed guid-
eBooks.                                                                ance in navigating this new and ever-changing world. To do any-
   More than 30 million iPads have been sold in little over a year.    thing else would be a disservice to the profession.
National news broadcasts regularly include references to tweets          Nicole Black is of counsel to Fiandach & Fiandach in
and Facebook pages. News breaks on Twitter and Google’s                Rochester. She co-authors the ABA book Social Media for
search engine tracks the flu more quickly and accurately than          Lawyers: the Next Frontier, co-authors Criminal Law in New
does the Center for Disease Control.                                   York, a West-Thomson treatise, and is currently writing a book
   Finally, while it took radio 38 years to reach 50 millions users,   about cloud computing for lawyers that will be published by the
television 13 years, and Facebook 3 1/2 years, it took Google+         ABA in early 2011. She is the founder of lawtechTalk.com and
just 4 weeks to reach 25 million users.                                speaks regularly at conferences regarding the intersection of law
   It is indisputable — change is occurring at an incredible rate      and technology. She publishes four legal blogs and can be
and this exponential change is affecting every aspect of our lives.    reached at nblack@nicoleblackesq.com.




                                        Reprinted with permission of The Daily Record ©2011

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Technology Changing at Lightning Fast Speeds

  • 1. THE DAILY RECORD Monday, September 12, 2011 WESTERN NEW YORK’S SOURCE FOR LAW, REAL ESTATE, FINANCE AND GENERAL INTELLIGENCE SINCE 1908 LegalCURRENTS Technology changing at lightning-fast speeds In last week’s column, I expressed alarm regarding what I per- etched into our collective conscious also serves as a technologi- ceived to be a shift in thinking on the issue of electronic com- cal benchmark. Recall that there were no smart phones, no cell munications on the part of the American Bar Association’s phones with built-in cameras or video capabilities, no ability to Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional instantaneously provide updates and information via Responsibility in Formal Opinion No. 11-459. Prior tweets or status messages. decisions, regarding communications with clients, For many of us, the past 10 years passed unbeliev- such as ABA Formal Opinion No. 99-413, focused on ably quickly and it seems as if Sept. 11 happened just the sensitivity of the issues being discussed when yesterday. And yet, since then, so much about our day- determining the most appropriate and secure method of to-day lives has changed. And much of that change communication. accelerated at an incredible, never-before-seen rate However, in Op. No. 11-459 the committee appeared during the latter half of the decade. to depart from its prior reasoning when it stated that “A By way of perspective, consider this timeline: lawyer sending or receiving substantive communica- • February 2004 — Facebook launched as student- tions with a client via email or other electronic means only site ordinarily must warn the client about the risk of send- • April 2005 — Gmail launched in private beta ing or receiving electronic communications using a By NICOLE • June 2006 — Google Spreadsheets, Google’s first BLACK computer or other device, or email account, to which a non-email cloud product, launched third party may gain access.” This conclusion implies Daily Record • July 2006 — Twitter launched Columnist that any type of electronic communication poses a risk, • August 2006 — Amazon EC2 cloud product and a corresponding duty to warn, simply by virtue of the method released in private beta of dissemination of information. • September 2006 — Facebook opened to the public. Its num- I don’t believe that the committee’s intent was to discourage ber of users increased from 12 million in Dec. ’06 to 50 million attorneys from using electronic communications with their in Oct. ’07 clients. Far from it. Instead, I believe this broadly worded con- • June 2007 — iPhone released in U.S. clusion was an unintentional oversight. However, its effect is far • November 2007 — Kindle released in U.S. reaching since the committee’s conclusions, while not binding, • July 2008 — Apple launches the App Store are used as a reference by state ethics committees and thus set • April 2010 — iPad released in U.S. the tone on matters of ethics nationwide. • June 28 — Google+ launched in private beta and had more This arguably unintentional message sent to attorneys — that than 25 million users within 4 weeks electronic methods of communication are inherently suspect — Over the last 7 years, technology has transformed our personal could not have come at a more pivotal time. Our profession is at and professional lives. New, extremely profitable businesses a crossroads and any message that discourages adaptation to new exist that weren’t even conceivable just 5 years ago. Think about technologies could have drastic effects, both short term and long it — the rate of change has been mind-boggling and unlike any- term. thing we’ve ever experienced. This is because technology is advancing at a rate never before Now, social media and smart phones are ubiquitous. Mobile seen. Think back to our lives just a decade ago, as we pass the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11. That horrible day that is forever Continued ... Reprinted with permission of The Daily Record ©2011
  • 2. THE DAILY RECORD Monday, September 12, 2011 WESTERN NEW YORK’S SOURCE FOR LAW, REAL ESTATE, FINANCE AND GENERAL INTELLIGENCE SINCE 1908 Continued ... The legal field is not exempt from this societal transformation apps, a concept that didn’t even exist until 3 years ago, will bring and leaders in the legal field would be wise to acknowledge the level of change that is occurring, understand it, accept it and in more than $15 billion in revenue this year. The first Kindle encourage lawyers to do the same. wasn’t released until the end of 2007, but Amazon’s eBook store Because ethics committees set the tone, it is therefore imper- will generate more than $5 billion in revenue by the end of 2011 ative that they lead the way by issuing thoughtful and carefully and 15 percent of Simon & Schuster’s revenue comes from worded opinions that provide lawyers with much-needed guid- eBooks. ance in navigating this new and ever-changing world. To do any- More than 30 million iPads have been sold in little over a year. thing else would be a disservice to the profession. National news broadcasts regularly include references to tweets Nicole Black is of counsel to Fiandach & Fiandach in and Facebook pages. News breaks on Twitter and Google’s Rochester. She co-authors the ABA book Social Media for search engine tracks the flu more quickly and accurately than Lawyers: the Next Frontier, co-authors Criminal Law in New does the Center for Disease Control. York, a West-Thomson treatise, and is currently writing a book Finally, while it took radio 38 years to reach 50 millions users, about cloud computing for lawyers that will be published by the television 13 years, and Facebook 3 1/2 years, it took Google+ ABA in early 2011. She is the founder of lawtechTalk.com and just 4 weeks to reach 25 million users. speaks regularly at conferences regarding the intersection of law It is indisputable — change is occurring at an incredible rate and technology. She publishes four legal blogs and can be and this exponential change is affecting every aspect of our lives. reached at nblack@nicoleblackesq.com. Reprinted with permission of The Daily Record ©2011