New Cloud computing guide provides practical guidance and an informative checklist for vetting providers.
Over the last decade, Canadian law societies have largely remained irresolute when it comes to regulating law firm technology. Some have taken a restrictive stance while others continue to leave it up to interpretation under broader rules of professional conduct.
In November 2018, the Law Society of Saskatchewan (“LSS”) took the proactive step of publishing Cloud Computing Guide: Best Practices and Checklist (the “Guide”), with a goal to provide security best practices and practical information for Canadian firms looking to implement Cloud IT or vet their current Cloud provider. After the Law Society of British Columbia’s 2012 Cloud checklist and its revised, less restrictive update in 2017, Saskatchewan is now the second Canadian law society to explicitly recognize that, when properly vetted, Cloud IT can safely meet regulatory requirements and bring many benefits to a law practice.
The LSS’s Guide focuses on factors such as privacy, security, technical considerations, regulatory compliance, and service availability. Their helpful checklist addresses everything a firm should consider when vetting a Cloud IT vendor, from jurisdiction to data custody to backups to support.
The LSS has taken a progressive view of law firm technology since 2014, when the province’s The Legal Profession Act, 1990 was amended to include firms as members of the Law Society. Under the Act, the Law Society has a duty to protect the public by assuring the integrity, knowledge, skill, proficiency and competence of its members. This enables the profession to foster innovation, be more responsive to a diverse and rapidly changing market, and to enhance the quality of legal services.
Following this, in 2017 the LSS, in partnership with the other Prairie law societies, launched a pilot project to test a new resource that assesses the robustness of firms’ practice management systems. The Law Firm Practice Management Assessment Tool helps firms recognize their strengths and areas in need of improvement by addressing practice management concerns. The pilot project has concluded, and after a period of fine-tuning, the tool is expected to launch in 2019.
As law societies recognize the superior security features, reliable performance and predictable cost of Cloud IT, so do Canadian lawyers, with more and more firms trading their onsite server rooms for the Cloud.
Cloud IT is here to stay, and regulators would do well to follow in the footsteps of the Law Society of Saskatchewan when it comes to supporting firms in the rapidly changing legal services market.
For a deeper dive into vetting Cloud IT providers, download our eBook, Law Practice in the Cloud: 10 Questions to ask Providers