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The Opportunities of Cloud Computing for the Legal Industry

Businesses in the professional services industries started recognizing the cloud as a viable solution for their data and content management needs earlier than many others.

Lawyers and law clerks need to consume and publish many documents in their daily routines. Secure document sharing in the cloud provides a great way to store, collaborate and access legal records.

Law firms don’t get as much public coverage when it comes to cloud computing usage as professional services organizations such as engineering, accounting and business consulting. All these industries rely heavily on information availability, yet law firms are often considered to be resistant to innovation.

Lawyers work with time-sensitive case files every day, and information discoverability through search and effective folder structure is vital. Legal professionals prefer the flexibility to search file names, tags, document content and use Boolean searches like they can with traditional matter management systems. In some instances, some of the matters lawyers work on are connected, and require the usage of file association links.

The landscape of legal file management is complicated because of the nature of the information getting shared. Technology service providers have seen law firms as being ripe for disruption for years.

Cost Containment Strategies

A leading reason why businesses implement cloud solutions is to reduce IT overhead. Even some large law firms have limited IT management resources, which provides a strong business case for cloud-based knowledge management applications and deal rooms.

SaaS document sharing reduces the costs and time investments involved with:

  • Acquiring software licenses and pay annual maintenance/support fees
  • Managing onsite hardware and network equipment
  • Integrating with other firm applications like matter management and accounting/billing software

Legal Process Management and Workflow

Defined business processes are important for growing law firms. Leading cloud document sharing applications provide rich functionality such as:

  • File access and digital rights management restriction for users and groups
  • Document submission and access via mobile devices
  • Version control
  • Drag and drop document filing

By tailoring your Virtual Deal Room or document sharing application to your existing business practices like file and folder naming, approval hierarchy and adding your firm branding, lawyers will feel at home in the mobile app or desktop browser interface.

Scalability and Speed of Deployment

Where do you see your law firm in five years? It sounds like a cliche job interview question, yet identifies another benefit law firms can realize from cloud applications. Digital data storage is growing exponentially, and litigation readiness requires corporations and law firms to be able to discover, hold, transfer, and present evidential records within a short timeframe. Cloud services like Firmex are ideal to play a part in this process.

Document sharing and collaboration as a service provide law firms with comprehensive functionality to provide access to files to:

  • Privileged firm employees
  • Client representatives
  • Interested and authorized third parties

Law firms are frequently pragmatic around technology adoption and often look to the Am Law 100 firms for guidance on the best solutions to adopt. Ninety percent of the Am Law 100 are using Firmex, as it supports:

  • Global information access
  • Version control
  • Permission and digital rights control
  • Flexible applications which can be configured for evolving business needs

Attorneys and their IT support staff are dealing with shorter time frames and increasing needs to work with distributed teams. Cloud-based document sharing is critical to these efforts, and the ability to set up new deal rooms fast for new cases is critical. Outsourcing the deployment, configuration and integration of your deal rooms and document sharing environments speeds your time to ROI and improved utilization.

Virtual deal rooms are the perfect solution for mid-sized law offices and large firms with specialities like:

  • Intellectual property
  • Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Business startups
  • Commercial real estate
  • Pharmaceuticals and life sciences

Has your law firm recognized a need to collaborate more effectively with internal stakeholders, clients and third-party special interest groups? Firmex has deep experience in helping law firms to store, secure, and share files more effectively, and deliver more value to clients, faster with fewer resources.