How Lawyers Will Use Google Wave

I was one of the luck few (100,000, give or take) to receive an invitation to participate in the Google Wave preview. I started a wave discussing how lawyers will be able to use Google Wave in their daily practice of law. For those of you who are not yet on Wave, I have posted the initial text of the wave below. If you are fortunate to be a participant in Wave, you can find the wave here.

Here is the wave:

How Lawyers Will Use Google Wave

Google Wave offers lawyers some terrific new tools for collaboration in both the transactional and litigation settings. It provides opportunities for better attorney-client communication, efficient interoffice collaboration, and even negotiation between adversaries. But, along with those new tools come some challenges that will have to be addressed before Google Wave is adopted by lawyers as part of their daily practice.

I am interested in others' ideas for how Google Wave can be incorporated into their law practices. Here are some of my ideas:

Enhanced Attorney-Client Communication
A great example of how Google Wave can enhance the attorney-client relationship is in responding to discovery requests, such as interrogatories, from opposing counsel. If the attorney were to start a wave containing the interrogatories, the client and attorney would be able to work on the responses and objections concurrently, thereby providing the client the opportunity to ask questions regarding specific interrogatories in the course of providing answers. Similarly, in a transaction setting, such as the drafting of an agreement, the attorney could put the text the draft agreement in a wave for the client's review and comment. If the client suggests changes or asks questions, the attorney can address them directly in the wave.

Of course, so long as the attorney and client are the only participants in the wave, the attorney-client privilege is preserved. Care has to be taken, however, with adding additional third-party participants and destroying the privilege. Here, we can capitalize on one of Google Wave's great features and design a robot to keep track of the participants and issue a warning if someone is trying to add a third-party to the wave.

Interoffice Collaboration
Google Wave makes interoffice collaboration easy. Let's say you have a complicated factual scenario and three distinct legal issues that need to be researched. You start a wave with the underlying facts, and then assign the individual research topics to a few associates. Each associate then updates the wave with their research, rather than preparing three separate research memos. As questions arise and are added to the wave, all participants can benefit from seeing the question and its resolution. All participants can track the revisions as they are made. Once the research is completed, just copy it to a new wave and add the client as a participant.

Negotiations Between Lawyers
Here is where it all comes together. The attorney and client prepare a draft agreement as discussed above and copy the text of the agreement to a new wave. The attorney then adds opposing counsel as a participant. Opposing counsel reviews, revises, modifies, comments, etc., and the process continues on the other side until a deal is reached. Copy it to a new wave for the client's review, comments, and questions. Add the Ribbitt extension and set up a conference call to discuss the changes. The process continues until the final document is completed.

Other Examples
Without a doubt, there are many other examples of how lawyers can use Google Wave in their law practices. I am interested in hearing about other ways to use Google Wave and invite you to add to this wave. Also, maybe someone will be kind enough to write a robot or gadget to address the attorney-client privilege issue.

Thank you in advance for your collaboration.

Reader Comments (3)

I am VERY interested in working with WAVE but unfortunately I wasn't one of the lucky early recipients. Do you have any inside info on how someone can wrangle an invite?

I agree with the two key methods of collaboration you discussed and I am really looking forward to using this with both my clients and staff. I do plaintiff's PI & Med Mal only. One other place where I can see the collaboration of WAVE as being dynamite would be working with experts.

Thanks for the interesting article!

Jim Reed, NY & PA Lawyer

October 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJim Reed

The problem with working with experts, at least in my jurisdiction, is that every word or document passing between the attorney and testifying (not consulting) expert is not protected and can be required to be disclosed or testified about by the other side.

October 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGovett.Resurrection

I've got the invitation of Google Wave on November 25. Yay.. finally :D

December 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterhanum

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>