Google Plus Hangouts: The New Legal Interface

Google Plus Hangouts: The New Legal Interface

If the number one complaint clients have against attorneys is a lack of communication, it is heartening to see that many attorneys are reaching out to clients in more ways. The increased use of Google+ Hangouts appears to be one of the ways attorneys are making themselves more available to their clients. The capabilities of Hangouts as they exist now make it a powerful tool for tracking attorney-client interaction and should be taken advantage of.

What if using Hangouts is actually the first step on the way to a new legal interface?

Imagine that the client and attorney meet over a Hangout. After the talk is over, both a transcript of this Hangout and a copy of the video are created in an attorney-client dashboard. Any client or attorney party can access these items to see exactly what was discussed, any information that is required, and whatever future actions are needed for this particular matter. No longer are the clients and attorneys required to vigorously take notes or to try and remember what is necessary. If this dashboard also allows for clients to create and upload documents, it becomes the central repository for all attorney-client interaction.

While this would be a great tool for a solo practitioner to use to document and maintain all of his or her cases, it also has uses for firms. If an attorney leaves the firm or is temporarily unavailable, the firm is no longer reliant upon whatever notes or conversations were left by the attorney. Instead, the new attorney to the matter can go back and easily watch the earlier conversations, read the transcripts, and track all of the documents used in the case to the present. With the live nature of the processing, it would also allow other attorneys unable to participate in the chat to immediately catch up on what was discussed.

If this type of functionality is utilized to make an efficient way to interact and track all information provided between an attorney and a client in a particular matter, no party should ever be left in the dark. An attorney will always know what has been shared with the client. A client should always know exactly what is needed from him or her and what the attorney is doing. The question then becomes, how do face-to-face interactions make it into the system?

About Joe Kelly

Joe Kelly
Joe Kelly is always thinking of ways to improve legal technology and access to justice. His background includes thirteen years of experience as a web developer, and upon graduating from Michigan State University College of Law in 2013, he joined global legal service provider Novus Law.
  • http://tranlf.com/ Trang Tran

    This sounds like a good idea. I wonder how Google would handle subpoenas for the content of the Hangout records.

  • Joe Kelly

    It is a good question. The majority of conversations would likely fall under privilege or work product doctrines.

  • http://www.barrylawfirmpc.com Mikki Barry

    I am truly hoping that Google is not being held up as useful in any sense for attorney/client interactions. Google has made clear that they go through your emails, searches, Google+ postings, and chat in order to peddle products. We are essentially on notice that a third party is accessing our conversations, negating privilege. I’d strongly recommend a different service that maintains end to end privacy.