How is cloud computing supporting the legal tech revolution?

In this article, we discuss how cloud-based technologies are supporting law firm growth, staying relevant and competitive, and how law firms can become more innovative, self-sufficient, secure and maintain data transparency as well as understanding the law practice process electronically.

Recently we have all discovered that prolonged remote working has meant it is not always that easy to actually go and talk to someone, ask them for help or walk over to their desk, so the technology you use can really define how well you and your practice function in this remote environment.

Cloud-based software delivered through a browser or to a mobile device makes accessibility much easier. From a cloud-based practice management perspective such as Actionstep, there are a number of factors that really enable self-sufficiency. For example, access the matters or cases that you're working in from anywhere with ease using your mobile device. Because it is new technology and is intuitive and easy to use, cloud software will enable you to figure out how to do things yourself.

Another key drawcard is the ability for firms to configure their software and technology the way they want, to work how their particular area of speciality operates, or the tasks that make up their day. So, it makes sense to have a very flexible platform that is orientated around data and workflow and where they might spend a lot of their time. The technology can sit alongside Office 365 or Microsoft 365 within the application, enabling them to do all the things they need to do with ease.

Firms can also enjoy having admin resources previously assigned very menial tasks in the practice, focused on much higher value work that not only supports that practice more broadly but also delivers better client service.

Cloud computing supports the adoption of a digital approach to law practice

Cloud computing provides flexibility of size and services, allowing you to go very big very quickly, but also, in these uncertain times, allows you to reduce back down and shrink costs when required. The days of investing large amounts into buying software and hardware and setting it all up are gone, and a cloud-based model meets the needs of a changing world.

Firms will always want to move faster and certainly the pandemic has given rise to a demand for more emerging technologies, particularly when related to client experience. Actionstep is agile, delivering value to its customers, and saves costs wherever possible. Customers are able to trade that capital expense for a variable expense, effectively only paying for what they use.

Another advantage of a cloud-based system is elasticity. Firms in the past over provisioned to ensure they didn't lose capacity or experience any downtime, but now they can provision just in a utility model the number of resources needed to manage in the peak, so where we see scalable demand and depending on the workload they’re using, it becomes really important that they have that flexibility and on-demand experience.

The cloud is a neutral space, so as firms require more digital services, cloud-based providers are able to help them more with their clients, not just themselves. Onboarding technologies, digital signing, etc are supported, while those firms that might be on-prem and not using the technology, might find things a lot trickier to get going, while bringing together the whole ecosystem of the law firm under one umbrella. Also key here is security. When you're trying to bring together multiple parties under one roof, security can be a real challenge and a web service provider such as Amazon Web Services can provide solutions to fit.

Ease of access to useful and timely data

It's so important that single source of truth within a practice is prioritised, as many firms now have multiple touch points within the practice with a client, with staff needing access to that same data. Having security access rights and particularly so many of the regulatory and audit requirements that some law firms have are all critical, so having well organized data as that single source of truth is key.

So, from a practice visibility perspective, why would you buy a practice management system? Well obviously, to manage matters and run your business, but most importantly it is for the reporting and data aspect, understanding the health of your firm and where your matters are at or where clients are at in their journey as they interact with you.

Obtaining that data and turning it into insights is important and that can then drive action. It might help you understand where your revenue or profits are coming from. Which practice areas are really achieving and which people and teams are doing more and billing more? How efficiently are you moving clients through your processes?

Client communication through logging calls, emails, SMS messaging, or using a portal, are all aspects of data and interaction that are vitally important. Using point-to-point encryption provides law firm customers peace of mind that their data is highly secure within providers such as Actionstep, and AWS facilities around the world.

Three points to help stay ahead of market developments
  • Ease of access. This is number one across all the different devices that you want to interact with as a lawyer, whether you're at a court, at home, out on a client site or in your car, just being able to access the system simply is key.
  • Regulatory requirements and compliance. We don't have a business if we can't remain up-to-date, regulatory and compliant. Ensuring you stay up-to-date from a security perspective and address any changing key compliance requirements is paramount.
  • Futureproofing your firm. Whether it's from a security perspective, access to your data or interoperability with other systems, remaining stuck with on-prem systems and applications that are tied to servers in your office will find you lagging behind.

Conclusion

As things change and the world continues to find many new equilibriums it's so important that your technology is an enabler rather than preventing you from innovating and doing the types of business models that you really want to achieve. So, a hard sell on moving to the latest cloud-based technology, but it's definitely going to pay huge dividends for your firm in the long term.

Please note that this article summarizes key points made in a joint webinar with Actionstep, InfoTrack and Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Watch the webinar on-demand here