Three Ways Google can Help your Practice

RI Lawyer’s Weekly has a good story on the best ways to use Google tools to build your practice:

1) Google Wave

What it is: The hotly anticipated collaboration platform that allows users to share and edit documents, and upload pictures and videos remotely in a real-time format. For example, if you are looking to draft a complaint, you could upload it to a Wave (structured like a new Gmail message), allowing associates and clients to view or comment on it, rather than saving a new document each time. The Wave also allows real-time messaging.

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2) Google Scholar

What it is: A free publication search tool featuring legal opinions. Users may search by case name, court, citation and topics.

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3) Google Local Business

What it is: An add-on to the Google Maps feature that allows a small law firm or other business to upload a short blurb about its firm and coordinate contact information into a Google search. If a potential client wants a medical-malpractice attorney in Beverly, for example, he could search those terms and find information about your firm and other relevant ones.

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One response to “Three Ways Google can Help your Practice

  1. I am a big fan of Google Local and, to a somewhat lesser extent, Google Scholar (my only hesitation is that I don’t know how often the database is updated so it’s possible that some of the information is outdated). These are great tools for law firms and other businesses.

    I am less of a fan of Google Wave for use in a legal setting. There is simply no way to ensure that the information remains confidential. Wave’s terms of service (http://tinyurl.com/yjffv72) specifically allow Google to collect and use any data input by Wave users. In your hypothetical, both the draft complaint and the associate’s or client’s comments would be usable by Google. Which, in the process, would waive any privilege over the documents.

    In other settings, I think it’s a great collaboration tool. But I don’t think there’s a way to square Google’s use of the data with our ethical obligation as attorneys to maintain client confidences.

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