Legal Ethics in the Digital Age

Susan David deMaine, Indiana University Maurer School of Law


We all know–because we are told every day–that technology is changing rapidly. In fact, it is changing more rapidly all the time. With the changes come many choices about how we do our work, many of which can be mind-numbing, overwhelming, or downright befuddling. As lawyers, we try to keep up. We have to understand the changes in technology in order to advise our clients and run our firms. This understanding includes a thorough grounding in the ethical implications that arise when information is created, stored, and shared digitally and the precautions that we have to take. It used to be that a lawyer could lock a file cabinet or a local computer and be reasonably sure that confidential information was secure. But all that has changed as our computers go with us everywhere, using software that exists elsewhere, sending bits of data around the world. It has become the norm to be able to work anywhere, accessing and editing the same documents no matter where we are.