Cloud Computing in Law Firms: Progress?

In late 2012 my post The Inevitability of Cloud Computing in Law Firms summarized findings from a 2012 global cloud survey finding that 45% of respondents favored use of it for certain applications and predicted widespread adoption of cloud computing was just around the corner.

On the legal side, the ABA recently published a handy chart here and map (see below) detailing states with or without an ethics opinion the issue that while revealing law firms are at least at the corner, widespread adoption has yet to occur. Of the 19 states with an opinion all permit storage of client files in the cloud and say that “reasonable care” must be exercised in using the cloud. Each state varies on additional  criteria that must be met if a law firm wishes to utilize the cloud for storing documents.


Blue means the state has an ethics opinion allowing use of the cloud and grey means state has yet to issue an opinion. Source:

My follow-up post Cloud Computing: An Update which summarized a few cloud usage predictions from a Gartner top predictions report for IT stated that by the end of 2016 “more than 50 percent of Global 1000 companies will have stored customer-sensitive data in the public cloud.” While it is not clear that prediction as come to fruition, employees of those companies are using the cloud as evidenced by the results of an IBM security study that found “1 in every 3 Fortune 1000 employees regularly saves and shares company data to external cloud-based platforms, which their companies cannot track.”

Perhaps the same is happening in law firms as well. Nevertheless, as more states release ethics opinions, widespread adoption by law firms will not only round the corner, and albeit not put all concerns aside, will leave lack of widespread adoption in the dust.

About Cheryl Niemeier

Cheryl Niemeier is Director of Knowledge & Research Services at Bose McKinney & Evans LLP. Ms. Niemeier received her Master of Science in Library Science from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana in 1986 and her Bachelor of Science in Education from Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana in 1981. Ms. Niemeier has held multiple professional leadership positions in local, regional and national library associations. She frequently speaks at professional association conferences and continuing legal education seminars. Ms. Niemeier has authored multiple articles and seminar publications.
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