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Is Gmail Making the Leap From the 'Unacceptable?'

Back in August, Esquire Magazine posted a series of "rules" that included this one:

Esquire's Rule #1033. If your lawyer's email address ends in, or (or, find a new lawyer.

This prompted a flurry of discussion in this post on the Simple Justice blog (written by, aka Scott Greenfield) and ultimately here on Legal Blog Watch as to the validity of Rule #1033.

As Carolyn Elefant wrote at the time,

I suppose that Hotmail, Yahoo or Gmail addresses suggest that a lawyer is too cheap or lacking in tech savvy to set up an e-mail account on his own firm's server. In addition, some have raised privacy concerns about Gmail, which would presumably apply to the other services as well. Questions about the confidentiality of a firm's e-mail might be another reason for a client to avoid a lawyer using one of these services.

Gmail This week, however, proponents of Gmail as a serious and professional business email service received a boost when the the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to outsource its entire e-mail system to Google. L.A. thus becomes the largest city in the nation to make the move to Gmail, with Councilman Tony Cardenas calling it a "world-class decision today to support a state-of-the art e-mail system." Not quite as certain was Councilman Paul Koretz, who said "it's unclear if this is cutting edge, or the edge of a cliff and we're about to step off."

This post on the blog considers the impact on lawyers, noting that,

As lawyers, the security of our communications is critical. I can rely on the infrastructure of a large firm to make sure all the necessary security is in place. I wonder, however, when I receive e-mails from someone using yahoo or gmail for professional purposes, whether that security level has been assured. The stringent requirements that the LAPD is sure to require may generate gains for everyone relying on google for their e-mail.

A commenter on the post opined that using Google means more security, not less, writing that "Google is essentially a very, super large firm with a lot more resources to dedicate to security etc. whereas a law firm, even a large one, will at best have a small IT staff that operate a dedicated server for the firm."

If other government bodies and organizations follow Los Angeles' lead, then it will not be long until completes the leap to being a widely respected email address.

Posted by Bruce Carton on October 30, 2009 at 02:52 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)


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