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Technology Committee works to help members navigate the pandemic

Senior Editor Top Stories

Jay KimThe Board Technology Committee is nearing completion of several projects that should help Bar members navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chair Jay Kim told the Board of Governors at an October 23 meeting that the committee has been maintaining a busy schedule as it works its way down a checklist.

“The committee and its subcommittees have been meeting weekly for the last 10 weeks,” Kim said. “All of our work is not going to be for naught, even if the pandemic is over.”

The committee recently voted to accept the recommendations of a study regarding the risks lawyers face when clients communicate with them via free email services.

After consulting with experts, including Bar Ethics Counsel Elizabeth Tarbert, the committee decided to pursue an education campaign instead of seeking a rule change or formal ethics opinion, Kim said.

“I believe that that campaign is already underway,” Kim said. “This board should consider additional materials, CLEs and the like, to continue to alert our members.”

After studying ways to make remote legal proceedings more uniform across the state, a subcommittee is about to complete its work, Kim said.

“They have compiled a working list of best practices, as a guide,” he said. “It’s being reviewed by the entire tech committee and will be ready for this board by December.”

A subcommittee is continuing to survey Bar members about the features they would like added to video conferencing platforms such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams — features that would be more tailored to the legal profession, Kim said.

Earlier this year, Kim said some lawyers would like a front and rear-facing camera that could provide a near 360-degree view of a hearing room. The expanded view would give parties more assurance that witnesses aren’t being coached, Kim said.

“That subcommittee is dealing with the various wish lists that are being compiled by various sources,” Kim said. “We are compiling other wish-list items and will be approaching Zoom and Microsoft in the future.”

Kim said some of the latest versions of Zoom software allow users to more easily reposition video tiles on the screen, a function that judges find appealing for remote proceedings.

A subcommittee has already approached vendors who might be willing to provide an IT helpline for Bar members, Kim said. But the cost is higher than anticipated, Kim said.

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