October 2013 Bar Bulletin
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October 2013 Bar Bulletin

Lawyers in the Cloud: A Haze of Ethical Proportions

By Colin Folawn and Brian Keeley


The Problem

Every day more lawyers are contemplating whether to utilize cloud computing services1 to enhance their law practices. Today's lawyers are more mobile, and they are under increased pressure to work with higher degrees of efficiency and expediency, and with lower costs.

Serving these demands, it is almost certain that cloud services are here to stay. In order for attorneys to take advantage of such technologies, they must educate themselves.

But many lawyers have been using cloud apps without knowing it. After all, many mobile apps utilize cloud services for their core functionality (i.e., they don't work without an Internet connection, because all of the data processing happens in "the cloud").

Here's a hypothetical scenario:

Lawyer Jones: Hey Smith, I just got an iPad. Now that I've downloaded critical apps like Angry Birds, Facebook, and Plants vs. Zombies, I figured that I should get back to work. What apps are good for lawyers?

Lawyer Smith: Welcome to a better and brighter world, Jones. What you really need is an app to store and access documents, like Dropbox, SkyDrive, Box, or Google Drive. You can upload your files and access them from just about any device with an Internet connection. There are a number of similar apps that can really enhance your practice. I'll send you a private message via Twitter.

Lawyer Jones: Perfect. I'll grab the app and upload the client files for those new medical malpractice matters that just came in, medical records and all!

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