Is it a Lawyers “ethical” responsibility?

What to do? Really…

I had an interesting phone conversation today with a former colleague, and honestly, this topic has come up on several occasions with different people over the past year. This individual made this statement, “Getting in to give a law firm or lawyer a demo was becoming impossible,” that the gatekeepers say they have a vendor and relationships in place and they’re not interested” as they’re hanging up the phone! Even though I can save their clients $1,000 of dollars a month at the same time giving the firm new and superior technology.” I could hear the irritation in her voice. Now I get it to some extent, I do, that relationships and trust are very important in the legal space, but my response to that is this; “Then how am I to form a tight relationship with them if I am never given the chance? 2nd, Not interested… so tell me, when is the spending of client’s resources of NO interest to the attorney? The client foots the bill on all litigation. The firm or attorney doesn’t write that off!! I get really perturbed when I hear, ‘we’re not interested’. With The New rule that the ABA (American Bar Association) implemented, Rule # 1.1 [8} it states; [ A Lawyer should keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology], then the “proportionality” rule and the FRCP Rule #1 “just, speedy & inexpensive” all 3 of these rules are trying to accomplish one important goal, “giving all people and businesses their fair day in court without money or the lack of, being the determining factor of a case. I have always considered my clients’ bottom line, the effects of spending their resources. I believe it is my due diligence and my ethical responsibility to seek out, find and test out the different product(s) or service offerings and then purchase the “lowest cost” offering that is comparable to or is better than my current provider. Regardless of the client vendor relationship, if it is that solid, don’t you think the vendor should make concessions and cut their rate to keep me? I do, I always try to negotiate a discounted rate, even at Walmart! So, If I don’t actively search AND I have my gatekeepers blocking, keeping vendors out, how do I learn about and enact the newest and less expensive tech offerings? Simple answer, I DON”T. So, the question is, when it comes to Law firms and their lawyers, is it their ethical responsibility to seek, find and learn about new technology to better serve their client and to save those clients money? This passage from Rule #1.1 {8} says it all; “In order to fully comply with this, an attorney must be constantly vigilant in learning about technology, law changes, the clients’ needs, as well as how best to apply their practice of law.” To me that is a resounding Yes, it is their ethical responsibility, that’s part of being a lawyer. Now, we all know they can’t entertain every demo from every vendor (although you might want to) but what they can do is answer a quick 3 min call or reply to an email, asking for the 30 second elevator pitch, and by doing this, they end up staying compliant. How? Well they end up in more demos, gaining more insight to the latest & greatest in relevant technology, thus being armed with more knowledge, they can negotiate from a better place. In the end doing what is right by the client and reducing costs. Most clients want to reduce litigation costs and to keep as much money in their pockets as possible, I know I do! If you think I’m wrong, or you think differently please feel free to comment and tell me why you feel this way. If you agree with me, give me a like and a comment as well, I’d like to get your opinions on the matter.

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