Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Thinking about sharing documents over the web?

In the spirit of collaboration, I have been looking at various technologies that would allow lawyers to share information over the web. How should lawyers share documents in cyberspace?

I am familiar with Wikipedia, but I don't know how to set up my own wikipedia page (and I'm not sure I want to collaborate with the whole world, just yet). Wikipedia has some information about contract law (e.g., Integration Clause), but I don't who is writing this stuff or for what jurisdiction.

Also, I have seen software demos and presentations conducted over the web using online services such as and, but I don't use these services often enough to want to pay for them. I am more of the occasional user of document sharing tools. Once in a while I may want to share a document with another lawyer or review a contract with a client while talking over the phone.

One document sharing tool that I liked was "Conferral" because it was integrated with Microsoft Word and made it easy to share a document that was open on your desktop. Conferral has a number of features that allowed you to control what information was shared and when it was being shared. However, it made me nervous to be sharing my desktop over the Internet.

Today, I tried a new product called "Google Docs" that allows you to quickly share and edit documents over the web (for free!). You can limit the document sharing only to those people you select by sending email invitations or you can share the document with the whole world.

I just uploaded a document that I have been working on (it is still a work in progress and I disclaim that any of the information is accurate). The document is a Choice of Entity chart intended to help lawyers guide their clients through the various factors affecting the choice of entity for a new business. I posted the document to the web using the new Google Docs tool. You can find the Choice of Entity Chart at

I would like to hear your comments on the Choice of Entity chart. Is it useful? How can it be improved? What do you think of the Google Docs sharing tool? What do you use for sharing documents over the web?

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