When Rocket Matter was first announced to the world back in February of 2008, we faced a lot of raised eyebrows. We were the first dedicated Internet-based legal practice management and time and billing software to hit the market, and as such, we found ourselves quite busy answering client confidentiality and data issues.
Over two years later, we’re happy to say that a state bar proposed ethics opinion can now serve as a guideline to help both legal consumers and cloud legal software providers. Thank you North Carolina, for answering the following question eloquently:
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?
Yes, provided steps are taken effectively to minimize the risk of inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure of confidential client information and to protect client property, including file information, from risk of loss.
The full text, which also includes a terrific list of due diligence questions for legal software consumers, can be read here: Proposed 2010 Formal Ethics Opinion 7:
Subscribing to Software as a Service While Fulfilling the Duties of Confidentiality
and Preservation of Client Property. North Carolina crafted a smart and helpful blueprint for both service providers and consumers.