How Does Your State Feel About Cloud-Based Trust Management?

Cloud technology seemed to arrive almost overnight. It went from being a curiosity to being everywhere in no time at all. That has left bar associations rushing to come up with guidance on the technology for lawyers. Is CosmoLex cloud-based trust account software acceptable to your bar association?

Check Your State’s Rules

The American Bar Association has gathered state-by-state cloud ethics guidelines in one convenient place. Although the guidelines do not specifically address attorney trust accounting software, they are a good starting point for law firms looking to align their practices with state regulations.

As of this writing, less than 1/3 of the state bar associations have issued official opinions on cloud-based software. Of the ones that have, no state has forbidden the use of cloud software. Each bar association that has issued an opinion allows cloud software under the “reasonable care” guidelines common to many legal practices. Each state offers both requirements and opinions on what reasonable care means in the context of cloud software.

Some Variation Of Opinion

Although the opinions of each bar association are very similar to a point, in fact many of them use decisions of other states to form their own, attorneys will find some variation so should always look to the state they practice in for confirmation. For example the first three states on the list don’t even each address the same issue:

  • Alabama issued an opinion specifically about cloud computing as it pertained to storing client files.
  • Arizona addressed online storage, but did not mention “cloud computing” or “software as a service”, which is another term for the cloud.
  • California doesn’t issue technology-by-technology opinions, reasoning they would become obsolete too quickly, but instead issues more general advice on new technology.

If the law were black and white, well then lawyers would be out of a job! Most states still have not issued a formal opinion, and even those that have left a lot of room for interpretation. Attorneys need to read the guidelines, consult technology experts and form their own judgments about whether cloud-based trust software for attorneys is the best choice for their practice and their clients.

We want you to be comfortable with your decision to use CosmoLex in your practice. Please contact us and we’ll be happy to address any of your concerns and satisfy you that we use “reasonable care” as we store your trust account information.

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