North Carolina Proposed Ethics Opinion on Cloud Legal Practice Management and Time and Billing Software

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Originally published on Sui Generis--a New York law blog on May 3, 2010.

For attorneys and law firms considering using a cloud based legal practice management and time and application, a specific ethics decision from a state bar association has been a long time coming. We’re happy to share encouraging news coming from the Tarheel State.

At long last a state bar ethics opinion tackled legal SaaS head-on. North Carolina issued “Proposed 2010 Formal Ethics Opinion 7: Subscribing to Software as a Service While Fulfilling the Duties of Confidentiality and Preservation of Client Property”

In the document, the drafters of the proposed ethics decision pose the following questions, which goes right to the heart of the matter:

“Given the duty to safeguard confidential client information, including protecting that information from unauthorized disclosure; the duty to protect client property from destruction, degradation or loss (whether from system failure, natural disaster, or dissolution of a vendor's business); and the continuing need to retrieve client data in a form that is usable outside of the vendor's product'; may a law firm use SaaS?”

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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