Appreciating Advanced Algorithms Technologies to enable effective legal research are often extremely sophisticated. Many apply advanced algorithms for searching, sorting, and even predict- ing results. Legal professionals need to understand the benefits and risks associated with these technologies. This is not a matter of knowing how queries are processed. Instead, the need is to under- stand the scope of what is being searched and the nature and reliability of results returned.
In August 2012, the American Bar Association amended commentary to Model Rule 1.1 on general competence, stating that “[t]o maintain the requisite knowledge and skill, a lawyer should keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks of relevant technology.” To date, fourteen states have adopted this updated commentary to Rule 1.1. Kellam T. Parks wrote in the April 2014 Virginia Lawyer about how this duty can relate to law practice in Virginia, citing cases that touch on technology competence. An approved amendment to Virginia’s Rule 1.1 is pending review by the Supreme Court of Virginia.This need to appreciate relevant technology necessarily extends to the research realm.
Roger V. Skalbeck, Benefits and Risks of Legal Research Technologies, 64 Va. Law. 41 (August 2015).