In this article we take a closer look at the benefits of cloud based legal software for law firms, as the technology landscape continues to evolve, the legal industry often struggle to keep pace with the latest developments. While cloud computing may seem like yet another expense, the truth is that it has already become an integral part of many business operations. From social media accounts to online banking, many aspects of modern business are already being run on cloud-based platforms. By embracing cloud-based software, law firms can gain access to a range of benefits that can help them to stay competitive, including streamlined collaboration, cost-efficiency, and real-time access to important information. We will explore further in this article:
What Does “Cloud Based Software” Mean?
To begin, let’s explain what does “Cloud-based Legal Software” mean. ‘Cloud Based’ refers to software that is accessed and operated through the internet, rather than being installed on local devices.
Sometimes, the Cloud-based systems are hosted in external datacentres however most often it’s intangible – we sometimes use the metaphor to explain how data is stored by picking a cloud in the sky nearby to a law firms office and saying ‘that is where your data will be held’ referring to the data sitting securely somewhere in the sky accessible from anywhere at any time.
In the context of the legal industry, this often includes case practice management systems (CPMS) which are cloud based, document management tools, billing software, client onboarding software – all used by lawyers and law firms to efficiently manage and monitor their clients and cases.
The Advantages of Cloud Based CPMS
The cloud is operated through the internet and sometimes hosted by external datacentres, so lawyers, law firms and their clients can work, communicate and collaborate easily from any location. The legal industry, like any other, must stay competitive to survive and thrive.
This provides several advantages, including:
-Keeping up with emerging trends and technologies
-Ability to access and update case information in real-time
-Easy collaboration and communication among team members
Keeping up with emerging trends and technologies
A key benefit of using cloud-based case practice management systems (CPMS) is the ability to adapt to the latest technological developments without disruption and being compatible with other online tools/integrations. Cloud-based systems are automatically updated, ensuring that the team always has access to the latest tools and functionality and eliminating downtime.
By keeping up with emerging trends and technologies to provide the best possible service and experience to clients, your law firm will be able to futureproof its business from adverse and unexpected events, an example being the pandemic, where businesses were forced to work from home.
Ability to access and update case information in real-time
Cloud-based CPMS differ from traditional paper file systems by being electronic and allowing real-time access and collaboration. On the other hand, paper file systems rely on physical documents, can be lost or damaged and updates are made manually. Cloud-based systems allow for lawyers to update and progress matters forward whilst on the move, simply using nothing other than an internet connection.
Easy collaboration and communication among team members
On premise, non-cloud systems lack accessibility and collaboration. Cloud-based case management systems such as Actionstep or Clio are more efficient and cost-effective as they eliminate physical storage and improve accessibility and collaboration. Often, the implementation of a cloud based system or tool can be entirely self-serve whilst a non-cloud system often requires more time to install, implement and protect.
Cloud-based systems are more cost-effective than non-cloud systems for several reasons as with cloud-based systems, there is no need for law firms to invest in expensive hardware or IT infrastructure. Instead, the software and data are hosted on remote servers, and accessed via the internet eliminating the need for costly upgrades, maintenance, and repairs, and allows for a more flexible and scalable approach to IT.
There is also the cost-saving benefit of cloud-based systems is they typically operate on a subscription-based model, rather than a one-time purchase. This means that law firms can pay for only what they need and can scale up or down as their business changes.
It is also worth mentioning that cloud-based systems often come with automatic updates and backups, which can save time and resources for law firms.
Acquiring Legal Talent
Utilising the connective nature or cloud-based software/integrations, law firms can use those software/integrations to attract and retain staff/talent. With the rise of remote work and the shift to digital, younger generations expect to have access to their work and information systems from any device, anywhere.
This means that firms that don’t offer up-to-date technology, may have a harder time recruiting/ retaining talent. The current legal job market is highly competitive, and many legal professionals are open to new opportunities. This means that firms that can offer progressive technology, including remote access and flexibility, are more likely to attract top talent.
The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the importance of remote access and flexibility, and firms that do not offer these options are at a disadvantage when it comes to recruiting talent. By investing in cloud-based technology, firms can improve their efficiency, and ability to attract legal talent.
Safeguarding Data and Ensuring Recovery
Safeguarding data and ensuring recovery is a crucial aspect of using cloud-based software as the cloud-based systems store data in external data centers, and it is the responsibility of the service provider to ensure the security and availability of the data.
However, it’s essential for law firms to conduct due diligence and select a reputable cloud-based service provider that meets industry standards for data security and availability. It’s also important to review the provider’s disaster recovery plan and ensure that the firm’s own disaster recovery plan aligns with it.
The legal industry is no exception when it comes to the benefits of cloud technology and it’s an essential for law firms to take advantage of it to stay relevant and competitive. By doing so, law firms can have peace of mind that their data is protected and they are agile and prepared should things change on a wider scale.
From the ability to adapt to the latest technological developments, to real-time access and collaboration on cases, the advantages of cloud-based systems are clear.