Today I’m spending some time getting ready to present at the April 7, 2011 NCBA CLE titled, descriptively, New Admittees Professionalism Program or NAPP (Honorable Mention, World’s Worst Acronym, 2011).
If you are scratching your head wondering what the New Admittees Professionalism Program is, as of January 1, 2011, per the North Carolina State Bar:
All active members admitted to the North Carolina State Bar after January 1, 2011, must complete the North Carolina State Bar New Admittee Professionalism Program (NAPP) in the year the member is first required to meet the NC State Bar continuing legal education requirements. Rule .1518(c)
Leaving aside whatever you may think about the relative merits of an additional mandatory obligation for new bar admittees, what I wanted to bring up today is the substance of the agenda. The State Bar set the agenda for the program with a high degree of detail, so the same content will be taught across North Carolina. If you want to check out the full agenda you can see it here.
The section I am teaching next week is called “Technology in the Law Office” and will cover:
- Communications, email, Twitter, cell phones
- Information storage: cloud computing
- Photocopies and photocopiers
- Conflicts control
- Trust accounting
I find a couple of things interesting about this.
First, the presence of this session in a curriculum mandatory for all new North Carolina lawyers underscores how important the State Bar thinks the convergence of technology and ethics is. It has certainly spawned some of the most vibrant debate in the ethics arena over the past few years… at least it seems that way from the bleachers where I sit.
Second, since the State Bar chose these topics out of the entire world of possible subjects for “Technology in the Law Office” lets you know that they consider these to be pretty important things for a lawyer to know. When the State Bar thinks you ought to know something, that thing is worth knowing, if for no other reason than to keep your law license nice and shiny and hanging on your wall.
Last, while I can understand why the State Bar decided it was important to have all new lawyers be exposed to these concepts, I’d venture to guess there are plenty of experienced lawyers across the state who might like a refresher/update in this fast-moving arena, too. It’s doubtful that any seasoned lawyers are going to show up at a program called the New Admittees Professionalism Program, so it is going to be the job of CLE providers across the state (including the NCBA CLE department) to figure out how to make this content available to lawyers of all experience levels.
If you’re a new admittee (congratulations, by the way), I hope to see you on April 7.