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Cloud Computing & Virtual Law Practice Summary


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Cloud Computing & Virtual Law Practice Summary

  1. 1. What is virtual law practice? <ul><li>A virtual law office is a professional law practice that is located online through a secure portal and is accessible to both the client and the attorney anywhere the parties may access the Internet. </li></ul><ul><li>Other terminology: elawyering, virtual lawyering, VLO, virtual law firm, web-based or web-enabled law practice, online law practice, delivering legal services online. </li></ul>
  2. 2. What virtual law practice is not <ul><li>Virtual law practice is not : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Online legal services without attorney review, such as LegalZoom </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>a law firm website with an email “contact us” form </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>communication by email </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>a rented physical office that may be shared with other professionals along with a receptionist service </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. How Attorneys Use Virtual Law Offices <ul><li>Completely Web-based </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Unbundled or limited legal services </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Integrated into a traditional law office </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Unbundled and full-service </li></ul></ul><ul><li>As a transition method to allow them to continue to practice law while meeting other personal and professional needs: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>To raise families </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To care for ill spouses or aging parents </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To ease into retirement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>After layoffs, to start a solo practice or work while searching for another legal job </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Web-based
  5. 5. Traditional Firm w/Virtual Law Office
  6. 6. Unbundled Legal Services
  7. 7. Multijurisdictional Virtual Law Firm
  8. 8. Why is Virtual Law Practice Important? <ul><li>For the Public </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Greater access to justice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Court systems and non-profit legal aid organizations already rely on cloud computing methods to deliver legal services online </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Affordable and accessible legal services for lower and moderate income individuals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pro-se litigants </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pro bono opportunities </li></ul></ul><ul><li>For the Legal Profession </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tech streamlines and automates the workflow allowing the attorney to focus on practicing law </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Prevent malpractice through automated checks and processes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lower overhead, less office waste, eco-friendly </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Expanded client base, competitive advantage </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Better quality of life through work/life balance and flexibility </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Cloud Computing <ul><li>SaaS is one form of cloud computing. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Practicing law “in the cloud.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Most traditional firms already use some form of SaaS </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Lexis/Westlaw research, email, search engines, Google apps, Skype, etc. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>The technology used to create and maintain the virtual law practice is handled through a secure, third-party hosted system. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Ethics Issues <ul><ul><li>UPL </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Authentication of client identity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Data return and retention policies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Backups </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Server locations and geo-redundancy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Third-party hosting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Response time/customer service </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Confidentiality of law office data </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Who has access? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Government and civil search and seizure actions </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Breach of confidentiality – unlimited liability for data breaches? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Transferring Data/Compatibility Issues </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Why Cloud Computing? <ul><ul><li>The only effective way to distribute this technology to the legal profession and for attorneys to employ these methods in their practices is through the use of the Internet </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cloud computing allows the cost of developing these apps to be spread out over a wide number of users. </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Future Delivery of Legal Services Online <ul><li>The growth of online legal services is largely consumer-driven. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Trends in outsourcing and the globalization of law firms will also influence this. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The legal profession should step up to meet this need or the public will continue to use methods that are not safe or in their best interest to acquire online legal services. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In order to stay competitive and to address the needs of clients, most firms will need some form of virtual component in the next five to ten years. </li></ul></ul>