The Clouds are Forming: The Legal Cloud Computing Association Announces its Formation and Web Presence

(12/16/2010)  Recognized leaders in legal cloud computing announced today the formation of the Legal Cloud Computing Association (LCCA), an organization whose purpose is to facilitate the rapid adoption of cloud computing technology within the legal profession, consistent with the highest standards of professionalism and ethical compliance.

The organization’s goal is to promote standards for cloud computing that are responsive to the needs of the legal profession and to enable lawyers to become aware of the benefits of computing technology through the development and distribution of education and informational resources.

The LCCA also announced the publication of its response to the ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20 Working Group with respect to the Commission’s September 10, 2010 call for comments on Client Confidentiality and the Use of Technology.

The group, consisting of Clio (Themis Solutions Inc.), DirectLaw, Inc., Rocket Matter, LLC and Total Attorneys, LLC, will cooperate with Bar Associations and other policy-forming bodies to release guidelines, standards, “best practices“, and educational resources relating to the use of cloud computing in the legal profession.

An informational website for the group: http://www.legalcloudcomputingassociation.org

You can see the rest of their press release at: http://www.legalcloudcomputingassociation.org/Home/industry-leaders-join-to-form-legal-cloud-computing-association

Of additional note is their response to the call for comments on client confidentiality and cloud computing in the legal profession: See, www.legalcloudcomputingassociation.org/Home/aba-ethics-20-20-response

My comments:

I think that the formation of a legal cloud computing association is not only timely, but incredibly necessary.  All too often, the everyday practitioner ends up behind the ethics of a given technology and today’s way of practicing law requires vigilance in keeping up to date on the various developments in tech.

While its is often easy to employ a new technology, it does not mean that any given state bar association will understand it or make room for use of the new tech.  This unavoidable gap in communications is readily evident in recent legal treatises on the issues.  It simply may be that tech is moving so fast that there is no practical way for state bar associations to keep up with the developments.  If this is the case, then any problems arising are something that can only be prevented by realtime communication between the tech-movers and the various bar associations.  It is critically important that “cloud lawyers” have a voice in the state bar associations as well as within the tech community.

Having a voice in the tech community means that we will have ever-improving tools for our profession, movement toward an environmentally friendly practice, and better ways of enjoying solo practice.  It also probably goes without saying that we also need to maintain our competitive edge on each other and for the benefit of the clients we advocate for.

Much thanks to the LCCA for starting this up and I wish them the absolute best coming into 2011 and beyond.

Google Chrome: One Step Closer to Paperless ?

Chrome OS Login

I just applied to be one of the test pilots for the Google Chrome OS. I am very interested in the prospect of having something that is connected to the Internet on a constant. Naturally, as a lawyer, I do have questions about security, confidentiality, practical use in the courtroom, and collaboration with staff. Hopefully, I will be one of the lucky one’s who gets to test this system in earnest.  I have tried, at various times, the Linux-Ubuntu OS, Windows (since its introduction), and Mac options since the 1980’s.  The prospect of a challenger to the old guard provides a clarion call for innovation.  I honestly hope that Chrome can drive innovation in this area — it’s been a while.

From what I can see, the upcoming Chrome OS is extremely user friendly and should be familiar to most of us vis a vis the use of “apps.” I certainly support anything that is quicker and which provides some level of long-term data integrity in terms of storage and accessibility. I am looking forward to becoming familiar with this particular OS and sharing the news as it comes in terms of strengths and weaknesses.
My guess is that the existing Google Apps will go a long way toward basic functionality. I already use Google Calendar, Google Docs, and Picasa for my photos. Each of these programs or services have improved over time and the fact that Google is way ahead with its research and development, I wouldn’t be surprised if they did not start to give Apple a real run for their money in the tablet OS arena and number of apps ultimately available. Much like in the 1980s, I think that Apple will have led the way, but may ultimately be overrun by its own innovation. Anyway, without further opining, you can check out the video showing Google Chrome in action on one of their demo units.
Just click on the video window below for a preview of the Chrome OS in action:

Tablet Wars Update

 

Screenshot from CNet.com

Again, in fine form, our friends at CNet.com have provided an excellent review of the Samsung Galaxy and the Apple iPad.  The video link above will provide you with much of the information that one would want in making a decision about which tablet to buy.  There is also quite a bit of updating on the newcomers to the tablet market.

While I am a very satisfied customer with my iPad, I can certainly see how someone else would be interested in the upcoming competition.  However, the two-screen tablets are of future interest to me since I would like to have a tablet that allows me to type on one screen into a word processing app, while having my research up on the other screen.

Pics of Iconia Two-Screen Tab (Engadget.com)

I don’t necessarily need a full laptop experience, but definitely see a need for being able to multitask better than is presently allowed by any of the ‘major’ players in the field.  I state this last observation keeping in mind the IOS 4.2 update that we recently got from Apple.  Having to press the home button twice and switch around is not my idea of practical app multitasking.

Related Articles

Time Master: Great For Billing Anywhere at Any Time !!!

Time Master Main Screen

The Time Master app is another of my most used apps, especially when I am out of town. This app costs about $10.00 and is incredibly useful for keeping track of your time and billing. On-Core, the developer, says, “The best, most powerful, comprehensive, easy to use time keeping app on the Apple Store is now even better. Time Master has the highest average rating of all the time management apps. And the other apps don’t come close to our new optional billing module. Our invoices are totally professional.”

“Our biggest fans are consultants, attorneys and contractors. Time Master is used by individuals working independently, to attorneys from some of the biggest law firms in the USA. If you need to keep track of time and expenses, you can’t find a better app than Time Master. We at On-Core are IT professionals, so we have firsthand experience with billing and keeping track of time. We know from personal experience what is needed and have made this app so flexible, it works for virtually anyone in any industry in which time needs to be kept.

Are you losing money due to poor record keeping? Did you forget to log the time you spent on a small task and not bill for it last month? On-Core Time Master simplifies the process by having an app handy on your iPhone or iPod Touch, ready at all times, for you to track your time. You can quickly start tracking time with a few taps on the screen. Those little minutes add up every month and this application will easily pay for itself in one month! We think that you will find Time Master the ultimate time tracking application, with its superior ease of use, for your iPhone or iPod Touch.”

Apple Store’s website, states that the app provides the following features:

  • Track time by start, stop and/or by duration
  • Sessions option can track “punch-in & out” for a single time entry
  • Single or multiple running timers
  • Timers keep running even if you are not running the app
  • Time Entries are by Client and can be sub-categorized by Project and Tasks
  • Powerful billing rates that can be defined in the following priority: Global, by Client, by Project, by Task or Custom per entry
  • Powerful Time Rounding: by hour, minutes and/or seconds
  • Multiple Filters to sort and view only what you need to see
  • Define the day of the week that your work week starts
  • Track Expenses – from Mileage to Meals to Burning CD’s and anything else you want to define
  • Display Reports right on your device that you can view and export via email in HTML and/or CSV format. By Client or Timesheet
  • Copy Client information from your Contacts list
  • Dual taxes for countries such as Canada
  • Import IIF files
  • Full Backup & Restore capabilities

I have personally used almost all of the features and have been pleased all the way around.  The app has been updated several times since I bought it and it does get better each time.   The app seems very well suited for use by any professional who is required to keep his or her time and is simple to use, especially once you have input most of your client information over time.  Probably the biggest task is setting up your database of clients, billable entries, and related project/matter information.

Noteworthy are the facts that the app is compatible with Quickbooks, it can be synchronized between two devices (Ipad and your Iphone), and it will allow you to import contacts information from Outlook, AOL, or other address books.  Lastly, Time Master provides you with the ability to invoice immediately via e-mail and to print invoices as a .pdf file.

I give this app the highest recommendation after having regularly used it for the last year plus.