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UMKC University Libraries

Law Practice Technology

A guide created for a law class incorporating the book, The 2018 Solo and Small Firm Legal Technology Guide (ABA)

Cloud Computing Model

Cloud computing layers.png

Source:  Wikipedia, Cloud Computing, Creative Common License Public Domain

Resource:  Nichole Black, Moving Your Practice to the Cloud


ABA Cloud Ethics Opinions

"Thus far, US ethics commissions have determined that it is ethical for lawyers to use cloud computing, with most concluding that lawyers must take reasonable steps to ensure that their law firm’s confidential data is protected from unauthorized third party access."

"On March 17, 2016, the Legal Cloud Computing association released the first set of cloud security standards crafted specifically for the legal industry at ABA TECHSHOW...."  See, LTG, p. 163

For a list of issues, see p. 213-214 of the 2020 LTG.

Software as a Service

"Software as a service (SaaS; pronounced /sæs/ or /sɑːs/[1]) is a software licensing and delivery model in which software is licensed on a subscription basis and is centrally hosted.[2][3] It is sometimes referred to as "on-demand software".[4] SaaS is typically accessed by users using a thin client via a web browser."  Wikipedia, Software as a Service.


  • MS Office 360 for Business (note also the enterprise options that have features important for ediscovery and litigation).
  • Google Docs and for business, Google Apps for Work:
    • Base Plan
      • Business email addresses (
      • Video and voice calls
      • Integrated online calendars
      • 30GB of online storage for file syncing and sharing
      • Online text documents, spreadsheets and slides
      • Easy to create project sites
      • Security and admin controls
      • 24/7 phone and email support
    • Upgrade
      • Unlimited Storage (or 1TB per user if fewer than 5 users)
      • Advanced admin controls for Drive
      • Audit and reporting insights for Drive content and sharing
      • Google Vault for eDiscovery covering emails, chats, docs and files
      • Easily search and export to different formats
      • Archive all emails sent by your company
      • Set message retention policies
      • Place and enforce litigation holds on inboxes
  • Zoho suite of business apps

Information as a Service (IaaS)

"Providers of IaaS offer computers – physical or (more often) virtual machines – and other resources."  Wikipedia, Cloud Computing

"Infrastructure services are fundamental resources that deal with your systems, such as the storage system and the underlying operating system.  If you use an infrastructure service like Amazon Web Services or Microsoft's Azure, you use their operating system and resources to run your software.  You can use their hardware to run your software and store your files, among other things.  Imagine using Microsoft Word without any hardware or operating system software:  this is the layer that infrastructure services provide."  David Whelan, Practice Law in the Cloud 11 (Canada Law Book 2013) (KF320.A9 W49 2013) (on reserve, Professor Callister)

Syncing Services


  • Dropbox for Business provides 256-bit AES & SSL encryption and unlimited storage for base price of $15 per user a month (5 user minimum).  But remember they hold the encryption key, so another encryption layer may be necessary.
  • Box for Business provides similar deal as Dropbox ($15 per month/3 user minimum).
  • One Drive for Business $5.00 per month, Office on line included
  • Sugarsync  100GB for $74.99 per year
  • Google Drive to Work 5 users or less get 1 Terabyte of storage, otherwise unlimited. 
  • SpiderOak provides "zero knowledge" backup and syncing solution.  The customer holds the only key to data encryption. HIPAA / FINRA / FERPA Compliant.  Youtube video.
  • is another "zero knowledge" backup with good reviews. promises protection from ransom ware

Things to Know About

  • Difference between storage and syncing
  • Technology Advice (company that matches storage needs with solutions)

Online Backups


  • Mozy Business, enterprise and home solutions.  Run daily, weekly or monthly.  Has syncing service and includes "military grade encryption."

File Sharing and Email

Hybrid Solution

"Think of it as the best of both worlds.  It's your data and software running on equipment that you own and control."  133-35 of 2019 LTG. 

Private Cloud Solution

Data Center, Wikipedia

What is a private cloud?  A lot of the distinction between public and private is not only based on who is sharing resources, but who is responsible for the maintenance of resources.  In a private cloud, the customer's IT department has much more responsibility.

Uptime Legal Systems

  • host all firms legal software
  • private cloud for law firms
  • Web Design and SEO
  • Document management
  • MS Office integration


  • private cloud
  • backup and disaster recovery

Encryption in the Cloud

Many cloud syncing services provide encryption, but maintain the encryption key themselves. However, there are services like Boxcryptor, Spideroak and Viivo which make further encryption possible or which let the account user retain sole control over the encryption key.  Below is a video from Boxcryptor as used with Dropbox

Essentially, Boxcryptor sets up two directories, one in your dropbox folder, in which items are encrypted, and another as drive X or Z, which is not.

Amazon Web Services S3 provides multiple methods of encryption, including one where you control the key.  See

Faxing,Voice Mail, and Virtual Receptionist

  • eFax - get a fax number and send and receive faxes
  • HelloFax - encyrpted storage


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