Advances in virtualization, where portions of computers or servers are cordoned off for specific purposes, may lead to a welcome flexibility for in-house lawyers. According to the Economist, Nov. 20, 2010 at 75, “Companies can install a secure virtual heart on private machines, doing away with the need for a separate corporate device.” That means a lawyer could attach a familiar machine to the corporate network, one that includes a secure partition, and not be forced for security reasons to use a company-issued laptop or desktop.
In fact, companies such as Citrix and Kraft Foods dole out stipends to their employees, inviting them to buy any PC they want – even an Apple Mac. In-house lawyers and staff would be much more comfortable with their own model, so this would be a welcome advance. Who knows, but BYOC (Bring Your Own Computer) may spread to software. With that partitioned area on the personal computer, members of the legal department could experiment with and run whatever software they chose.