BEST PRACTICES IN E-FILING: CLOUD COMPUTING IN CLINICS?

The following post comes to us from Irene Scharf:

For those of you who aren’t on the lawclinic listserve, I’d like to share with you a fascinating thread on the list this week demonstrating just how tech-savvy we’re all becoming, and also how the concept of Best Practices in Legal Education is an ever-broadening one.

Kim Diana Connolly [(kimconno@buffalo.edu, Vice Dean for Legal Skills; Director, Clinical Legal Education; Director, Environmental Law Program; Of Counsel, Environmental Law Clinic] was inviting list members to a newly-forming Law Clinic Computing in the Clouds Best Practices Task Force, a result of her experience drafting a cloud-computing protocol for Buffalo’s clinical program. The project for the Task Force is to tackle the issues relating to cloud computing that have been raised on the list, from email and smart phones to file storage and management systems, etc. Kim reported that developing a protocol had been a significantly more complex undertaking than first anticipated. Students, faculty, and now the IT department have become involved in the project. For public law schools, the complexity is enhanced, as they are subject to Freedom of Information requests.

Our experience in the UMass clinics is a similar one; it has been complicated and time-consuming to determine both the professional and practical aspects of joining “the cloud.” Where does encryption come in? With which University-based teams should we coordinate? What’s the cost? How much time is involved? So I was grateful to learn that we can join with a group of other clinicians struggling with precisely the same issues. Its good to know that WE’RE NOT ALONE. Kim has suggested starting a separate discussion group to share research and perhaps develop a “best practices” document for use by the clinical community.

Her post immediately received many responses. Clearly this is an issue of significance to many in the clinical world; the interest, though, is not limited to law schools, as yesterday I received an email from the ABA inviting me to a free session on “ethically moving your law practice to the cloud.”

If you are interested in joining the discussion and ad hoc Task Force, Kim’s invited us to email their Clinical Program Paralegal Elisa Galloway at elisagal@buffalo.edu.

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