Twice a year I compile a list of links to published articles and posts related in some way to virtual law practice. I’m a bit behind this year largely because of how quickly this area of practice management is evolving. I don’t just pull this together as a resource for the blog. It’s also a way to organize my thoughts around where trends are heading based on these developments. If you don’t think the last nine months has been particularly busy in the elawyering arena, then look back at my list from this time last year.
Starting where I left off the last time, here is the list in loose chronological order.
California State Bar publishes ethics opinion, FEO 2010-179, related to the use of technology in law practice, specifically addressing an attorney’s duty of confidentiality to clients when using technology that may be accessed by a third-party. December, 2011
Pennsylvania Bar Association publishes Ethics Opinion No. 2010-060, January 2011. It’s not published online, but Niki Black wrote a summary of the opinion.
Regulatory Barriers to Virtual Law Practice, by Darryl Mountain, Slaw.ca, January 14, 2011
Total Attorneys Takes Proactive Role in Shaping the Future of the Legal Industry – Secures Investment from BIA Digital Partners, Business Wire, January 19, 2011
LexisNexis Launches FirmManager at LegalTechNY LexisNexis Firm Manager, January 2011
IBM’s Watson is a contestant on Jeopardy and makes some in the legal profession ponder the use of computers to take over portions of a lawyer’s work. “Watson Computer, Making ‘Jeopardy’ Debut, Could Do Associate Research, IBM GC Says”, ABA Journal, By Debra Cassens Weiss, Feb 15, 2011
James M. McCauley, ethics counsel for the Virginia State Bar, writes an article for the February issue of the Virginia Lawyer Magazine, entitled “Cloud Computing — A Silver Lining or Ethical Thunderstorm for Lawyers?”, February 2011
“Practicing Law Without an Office Address: How the Bona Fide Office Requirement Affects Virtual Law Practice” University of Dayton Law Review, Volume 36:1, February, 2011
Shpoonkle, an online auction site similar to eBay where lawyers can bid on clients, launches. Legal bloggers comment on new model: Scott Greenfield, Susan Cartier-Liebel, and Robert Ambrogi. March, 2011
Legal IT 5.0: eLawyering for Competitive Advantage – How to Brand Your Law Firm in a Networked World, by Patrick Cormier, Slaw.ca, April
The New York State Bar Association published its Report on the Task Force on the Future of the Legal Profession on April 2, 2011. Written for the practitioner rather than the IT consultant, the report provides suggested guidelines for the adoption of technology solutions as well as a discussion of current trends.
The International Legal Technology Standards Organization (ILTSO) published its standards for the use of technology in law practice, April 3, 2011
LegalGenie wins the 2011 ABA James Keane Award for Excellence in eLawyering at the ABA TECHSHOW.
Apps for Justice: Learning Law by Creating Software, a proposal for the Futures Ed Conference sponsored by NYU and Harvard Law Schools wins the competition and other innovative proposals are presented, April, 2011
The North Carolina State Bar published the revised version of its proposed ethics opinion on the use of SaaS in law practice management on April 21st, entitled, “Formal Ethics Opinion 6: Subscribing to Software as a Service While Fulfilling the Duties of Confidentiality and Preservation of Client Property” and then published another version in July, 2011 and has now sent that version back to the subcommittee to review.
After 40 years, Nolo is acquired by Internet Brands, May 2, 2011
Increasing Clarity on the Ethics of Cloud Computing, by Jack Newton in Slaw.ca, May 9, 2011
South Carolina published a new Formal Ethics Opinion 11-05 about attorney’s using services, such as Groupon, to offer discounts and deals on their legal services, June, 2011. North Carolina considers a similar ethics opinion.
The ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20 has published for comment its draft proposals on Lawyer’s Use of Technology and Client Development. Proposed changes relate to Model Rules 1.18 (duty to prospective clients), 7.2 (advertising) and 7.3 (direct contact with prospective clients). Overall, the Commission concludes that no new restrictions need to be added to a lawyer’s use of technology for client development. July, 2011
Virtualization and Cloud Computing: Benefits and E-Discovery Implications, Slaw.ca, Sharon D. Nelson and John W. Simek, July 19, 2011
Google Ventures invested $18.5 million into Rocket Lawyer, August, 2011. Jim Calloway discusses this development with Richard Granat in a post entitled: “Venture Capitalists Take Aim at Lawyers” , August 19, 2011.
The Law Society of British Columbia’s Cloud Computing Working Group published online a report with recommendations regarding the use of cloud computing by legal professionals, August, 2011.
Clearspire, a “virtual law firm”, is founded in D.C., May 2011. Article in The Economist and ILTA.
September/October issue of the ABA Law Practice Magazine is devoted to virtual practice.
U.S. District Court Judge in the North District of New York issued an opinion finding that New York’s Judicial Code Section 470 (which creates a residency requirement for members of the NY Bar) infringed on an attorney’s right to practice NY law. September, 2011. Full opinion on MyShingle.com.
The ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Prof. Responsibility has published a new ethics opinion, Formal Opinion 11-459 “Duty to Protect the Confidentiality of E-mail Communications with One’s Client”, August, 2011
AttorneyFee.com launches. September 2011.
Wall St. Journal article entitled “Time to Deregulate the Practice of Law“, by Clifford Winston and Robert W. Crandell causes a stir in the lawyering community and on the ABA eLawyering Task Force listserv, August 22, 2011.
“Does LegalZoom Have First Amendment Rights: Some Thoughts About Freedom of Speech and the Unauthorized Practice of Law.” by Professor Catherine J. Lanctot
Missouri Battles LegalZoom: Federal District Judge presiding over the class action case against LegalZoom for unauthorized practice of law released an opinion denying, in part, Defendant’s Motion of Summary Judgment. The Court held that document preparation by non-lawyers, under Missouri Law, is conduct, and not entitled to First Amendment protection. August 2, 2011 Read Richard Granat’s post on this development.
ABA releases its annual 2011 Tech Survey which covers virtual law practice. It’s expensive to order online, so thankfully Niki Black provides a summary on her blog post “A Look at Lawyers’ Use of Technology in 2011”, October 4, 2011.
Legal Cloud Computing Association (LCCA) publishes comments to ABA Ethics 20/20 and NC State Bar, July 2011.
The Once and Future Firm: The Changing Nature of Law Firms, Slaw.ca, by Connie Crosby , August 9, 2011
Virtual Law Practice and Client Relationships: They Are What You Make Them, Donna Seyle, Law Practice Strategy Blog, August 12, 2011
Jay Fleischman writes “Is The Virtual Law Firm Model Coming Up Short?”, September, 2011 and causes a stir of comments from the ABA eLawyering Task Force and others. See Richard Granat’s comments and Donna Seyle’s comments in Jay’s post. Susan Cartier Liebel writes a response on the Solo Practice University Blog: The Misunderstood Virtual Law Office, October 3, 2011, and David Bilinsky writes this excellent response “Virtual Practice..Coming Up Short? or What is the Message?“, September 23, 2011
Virtual Law Practice: Basic Concepts from the eLawyering Task Force, webinar, co-presented by Marc Lauritsen, Richard Granat and Stephanie Kimbro, September 23, 2011
Many of the proposals published by the ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20 in September 2011 may have an impact on virtual practitioners.
Thank you Stephanie! This timeline is both comprehensive and helpful. In addition, we at AttorneyFee.com are very proud that we made it onto this list.
This is a very valuable summary of what’s happening in this space. I book marked this page.
Thanks Stephanie! This information is always much appreciated. Love the Roundup as always!
Another helpful post. Interesting developments all the time in the VLO arena, wonder what 2012 will bring?
This page is going to be a great resource. Thank you for putting it together Stephanie.