Your Law Firm Shouldn’t Ban Google Glass

Jim Calloway is as close to a law technology genius as they come. But on the issue of the likelihood that law firms should ban Google Glass, he’s dead wrong.

Ban Google Glass

Jim wrote this post on his blog that highlights the reasons law firms should be among those who will (should) ban Google Glass. Here’s the crux of his argument:

Would you want one client or witness in your waiting rooms recording your other clients waiting for their appointment- especially if a client was discussing her divorce with her mother? How about the number of exposed documents that a person might walk by on the way to their appointment with a lawyer? (Yes, I know the best practice would be for there to be no exposed documents.) What about the lawyer conferencing with the client? Your advice is what you sell to clients. Would you really want to give a client the ability to post the video of an entire consultation with you online? And before you say, “Sure, why not?” remember that this video can be edited to take things out of context or to make it appear that you said things that you did not say. A client could also compromise his or her legal matter by failing to secure a video taken in the lawyers office.

Yes, I am often a tech early adopter, but I think many law firms will join the list of businesses that ban Google Glass–when it is released to the public.

Of course (and unfortunately), Jim jumps on the “privacy” bandwagon to grandstand his point. Sure, Glass allows you to take pictures and videos of your surroundings, make phone calls, perform web searches, and get directions. But how is Glass any different than most smartphones and tablets? How does being able to do any of that stuff from a headset device change?

Jim’s concerned about clients bringing devices into the office, recording the meeting with their attorney, then posting the recording on the internet for the world to view. The same series of events could occur today with a client’s cell phone or tablet. There are literally hundreds of “voice recorder” apps available in Google Play, and I’m confident that iTunes has a matching number. How does banning Glass or “surveillance” devices hinder what’s already possible?

Oh yeah, Jim mentions that, too: “It is true that most everyone in the restaurant is carrying a smart phone in their pocket or purse, but at least with them it is clear when you are using them as a camera. You can record with Google Glass with no one knowing.”

Wrong, Jim. Arguably, you’re even more aware of when someone’s using Glass:

 

Sure, Glass will change in the future, but I doubt the method of verbally commanding Glass to do searches or take pictures will change too much.

The future of Glass for lawyers is very promising. And while I don’t suspect that many courtrooms will permit the device, there’s still a massive potential for improving how lawyers interact with colleagues, clients, and their environments.

Certainly we could argue that clients will misuse the technology available to them, but I doubt it. Most clients understand the important sanctity of the attorney-client relationship – when’s the last time a client didn’t say, “this is just between us, right?” – that they’ll protect that more fully than anyone else. And what stops you as their attorney from advising them in the appropriate use, or non-use, of technology? You are advising your clients about the use of technology in your meetings, right?

 

5 Responses to Your Law Firm Shouldn’t Ban Google Glass

  1. “Most clients understand the important sanctity of the attorney-client relationship – when’s the last time a client didn’t say, “this is just between us, right?” – that they’ll protect that more fully than anyone else.”
    You clearly don’t do enough criminal law. 😀
    Criminal clients will tell anybody and everybody absolutely everything about their case. Friends, family, inmates, jailers, cops, it doesn’t matter who. The whole concept of “keep your mouth shut unless you’re talking to your lawyer” just doesn’t enter the picture.

    • I don’t think that’s applicable to your relationship, and it still doesn’t change the circumstances. If they’re going to talk about their case, they’ll still talk.

  2. Long-term future success in our profession requires lawyer embracing technology. In case you haven’t noticed, things are changing. The “advantages” of Glass and technology outweigh any short-term downside. Lawyer who expand their mind as to the use of technology will also be in practice in 5 years. It’s not an option folks 🙂

Jeff Taylor

I’m just an ordinary guy living an extraordinary life. I’m also an attorney and I blog about Android for lawyers. You can follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Google+.