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Cloud Computing For Law Firms Hot Topic at LegalTech New York 2011

LegalTech NY is as good of a chance as you’ll get to talk to legal technology journalists and find out what’s hot for attorneys.

Last year, as well as this year, “the cloud” was on everyone’s lips in editorial circles. However, I noticed a big distinction between 2010 and 2011. Last year, there was a lot of talk of the potential of cloud computing in a law firm setting. This year, the discussion was more about the arrival of cloud computing.

It’s here. It’s being used. And law firm IT staff is getting better at understanding the opportunities, issues, and integration points with cloud options.

ALM Editorial Director for Technology David Snow covered cloud discussions at LTNY in Heavy Cloud Cover. Mr. Snow acknowledges that the murky definition of cloud can cause problems understanding exactly what it is. And in my opinion, certain IBM commercials with geeky guys giving incomprehensible definitions of “the cloud” didn’t do anyone any favors in that regard.

What’s interesting is to see the cloud in action. It’s no longer just talk:

Perhaps the most comprehensive law firm use of cloud computing was described by Chris Romano, CIO at Ward and Smith, an 80-lawyer firm with five offices in North Carolina. Romano oversaw the firm’s adoption of NetDocuments for e-mail archiving and document management, including storage and client collaboration, as well as Intelliteach for its help desk ticketing database. The firm also uses Mimecast for e-mail filtering, EOS for its library catalog, and ADP for payroll processing, all cloud-based.

“Not just we in IT, but more importantly the lawyers, are more accepting of these services,” Romano said.

Some of the panelists where Romano spoke did express misgivings, but agreed on a certain inevitabilty for more widespread adoption. Read Heavy Cloud Cover at the newly redesigned and sleek Law.com.