Could a law firm replace MS Office with Google Docs? #ILTA2013

Google Drive

Google Drive

The short answer is YES, but it does not seem very likely to happen in large scale anytime soon.  The subject was brought up in the Tuesday morning “What’s New and Cool in Emerging Technologies?” at ILTA2013 and we decided to look into it a bit:

Google Docs allows the user to create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations for free in a web based application.  The application allows you to create, edit, and save documents much like Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint however there is no cost associated with using the Google service.  In order to use this service, you must have a Google account that can come from a Gmail account or you may actually set up a Google account using any email and password of your choice (such as 


  • Create, edit, save docs on your desktop or laptop computer
  • Create, edit, save docs using your tablet or smartphone
  • All documents automatically saved on Google Drive after any change, accessible from your browser or in the Google Drive app on your PC or DROID phone/tablet
  • iPad compatible using Google GoDocs app
  • Free to use
  • Comes with 15GB storage at no cost
  • Save documents to your hard drive in formats that can be opened by MS Office Applications including DOC, XLS, PPT, plus PDF’s.
  • Upload, open, and edit Word, Excel, and PowerPoint docs
  • Runs well on mobile devices


  • Difficult to open, create, and or edit docs when you do not have a connection to the internet
  • 15GB of free storage goes quickly, there is a cost associated with obtaining additional storage
  • Some advanced features of MS Word/Excel will not function properly when opened in Google Docs
  • Users are resistant to change



In theory, it does seem very possible to make the switch from MS Office to Google Docs.  Most of the necessary components are included, and the fact that it is free can be very appealing to a firm spending tens or even hundreds of thousands monthly on an MS Office enterprise usage agreement.  Google Docs is also a great low/no cost alternative for startups, solo practitioners, or low-budget organizations such as Legal Aid Offices. 

-It seems, for now, that users are resistant to change and it comes down to the fact that companies are comfortable using MS Office, they are already using it, and they just don’t seem to have the itch to switch at this time.  The thought of NOT having Outlook on your desktop with the full Microsoft Office Suite is just not something the masses seem prepared for at this point.