The Law Society of British Columbia’s Cloud Computing Working Group issued its Final Report on Cloud Computing on January 27, 2012, amending an earlier consultation report approved by the “Benchers” on July 15, 2011. The report is prepared in response to the increasing use by lawyers of cloud computing technology to store and process records and conduct due diligence. In its report, the Working Group outlined due diligence guidelines, best practices and also made a series of recommendations to modernize the Law Society’s Rules.
Some of the key issues explored by the report are:
- jurisdictional issues of ascertaining where a user’s data is located;
- lawyers’ abilities to promptly produce, and the Law Society’s ability to quickly access and copy, records during an audit or investigation; and
- security issues of data and the protection of personal client information when records are entrusted to a third party.
At the heart of the discussion were the tensions of how the new cloud computing technology affects lawyers’ abilities to discharge their professional obligations and how the same technology may challenge the Law Society’s ability to carry out its regulatory function. Overall, the Working Group’s Report sends a message to lawyers that while advances in technology, such as cloud computing, may appear as an attractive, seamless and more integrative way of conducting their practice, lawyers must be conscientious of the challenges they place on their adherence to the Law Society’s codes of conduct.