Recently on Solosez there was a discussion of various ways to manage one's tasks. Case management software packages were discussed. Outlook 2007 has some powerful features for calendaring and tasks. The need of lawyers to keep track of tasks and appointments so they don't "drop the ball" has been with us since the beginning of lawyering. A surprising number of Solosezzers mentioned an online service called Remember the Milk. It is a "to-do" list and task manager. It really looks quite powerful.

Legal Andrew did a blog post on Law Firm Productivity with Remember the Milk. His explanation of how he has set up Remember the Milk for his needs is well worth reading. I think some of you who do not use practice management software might like his approach. I could also see a lawyer who does use practice managment software using Legal Andrew's setup for all of the personal, family and other non-business lists in her life. The RTM program is free, but power users will likely pay $25 per year for the Pro version to have it sync with iPhones, Blackberries or Windows Mobile devices.

Some lawyers break out in hives at the mere thought of posting possibly confidential client information on a site provided by a third party Software as a Service (SaaS) provider. Much of a to-do list for a lawyer would not fall into the confidential category. After all, the adverse party in litigation knows when the depositions are scheduled. MTM notes in its privacy policy that they maintain all of your posted information in order for the system to work and "Remember The Milk employees do not access the content of any task lists unless you specifically request them to do so (for example, if you are having technical difficulties accessing your account) or if required by law, to maintain our system, or to protect Remember The Milk or the public." This is a typical policy, but not reassuring to all lawyers.

The due diligence required before a lawyer is comfortable that they are protecting client confidences with any sort of online data service will vary from lawyer to lawyer and, perhaps, state to state. This is an on-going issue. In the same way we have seen faxing technology, computers, online legal research and e-mail muscle their way into the typical law office environment, access to calendar and to-do lists via a mobile phone is already deemed a minimum requirement by an increasing number of lawyers. Online lawyer matter management systems like RocketMatter and Clio are gaining in popularity. A password-protected online data system may have legal protection, but their security needs to be tough if lawyers are the customers.

Bottom line is that Remember the Milk looks like a good way for some lawyers to improve their practices to better serve clients and improve their lives by better managing themselves. The online case management systems have proponents as well. No one would blame a lawyer if their office was burglarized and client data compromised, unless, of course, they never locked the doors when they went home each day. With online systems, we just need to understand the "locks."