North Carolina Request for Comments on Ethics of Cloud Computing

It has recently come to our attention that the North Carolina State Bar has been asked to provide a proposed formal ethics opinion on the use of “the Cloud” or web-based services in the legal profession.

North Carolina is among the first Bar Associations to formally consider the ethical implications of Cloud-based services, and this opinion will likely serve as an important precedent for other Bar Associations. This inquiry affords all legal professionals a unique opportunity to have a voice in shaping an ethics precedent that could potentially influence the pace of technology adoption and the availability of innovative technology options throughout the legal industry.

North Carolina-based attorneys, users of Clio, and any other interested parties should submit comments and feedback to the North Carolina bar via Alice Mine, Legal Counsel to the Ethics Committee by April 9, 2010:

Alice Neece Mine
amine@ncbar.gov

Assistant Executive Director
208 Fayetteville Street Mall
PO Box 25908
Raleigh, North Carolina 27611-5908
Telephone: 919/828-4620
Fax: 919/821-9168

According to our understanding, the committee will be examining a number of factors as they relate to the use of web-based technologies and their implications with respect to client confidentiality. Specific considerations will likely include:

In addition to the above, the committee will be considering a number of additional factors based on all comments received from the legal community and other interested parties. Comments are not limited to members of the North Carolina State Bar, so please feel free to notify any party you may feel could be influenced by the outcome of this opinion.

The ethics review process is an important step in the mainstream adoption of technology in the legal profession, and the above should not serve as a caution against the use of web or cloud based technologies. Instead, this call for response serves as an opportunity to express the value and appropriateness of “the Cloud” for modern practice, and ensure that the ethical position of the bar considers and includes all available technologies.

Clio and a consortium of its peers will be submitting a response on behalf of the legal-specific cloud providers to help supply a technical foundation and industry agreement on what we jointly feel should constitute minimum technical standards, and acceptable technology to ensure client confidentiality. In our combined view, web-based technologies offer an unprecedented opportunity for legal professionals to affordably access tools that support the protection of client confidentiality with the best digital security available.

We hope you’ll join us in submitting a response and helping to shape the face of technology in the legal profession.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us.