To thrive in today’s legal marketplace, it’s survival of the fittest. Potential clients have more options than ever to satisfy their legal needs, whether through a lawyer or a DIY legal service. The smartest small law firms are adapting by taking advantage of the latest technology that helps them serve their clients better and faster. This is revolutionizing every aspect of their business, from where they conduct it to how they respond to clients. As a result, these forward-thinking firms are more accessible, appear more professional to clients, and accomplish more in less time. In essence, they’re able to provide the heightened value that wins cases, retains clients, drives referrals, and, ultimately, increases billable hours and the revenues that come with them.
Should you follow their lead? Ask yourself three questions:
What looks most impressive in the courtroom?
- Frantically calling an assistant to look up a document
- Shuffling through a box of files
- Instantly accessing a file from your tablet, laptop or mobile phone
Where would you rather be?
- Chained to your office desk 80-plus hours a week
- Feeling guilty or panicked because you’re not at the office
- Working whenever you want wherever you have internet access – like at home or the courthouse
What’s the best response when a client reaches out unexpectedly?
- Sending the call to voicemail and getting back to them later
- Placing the client on hold for five minutes as you look up their file
- Quickly accessing the client’s electronic matter folder and reviewing the matter status to immediately respond to their needs
Unless you have a burning desire to work harder, the best answer to all of these questions is “c,” which happens to stand for “cloud.” The cloud, in essence, allows you to access your law firm’s client and matter information and legal tools wherever there’s internet service, even without having to log into a virtual private network. This is achieved through the use of legal cloud technology allowing you to store your legal information and access other critical legal tools via the internet rather than an office server or hard drive.
Increasingly, legal professionals are taking advantage of cloud technology to manage their practices because it:
- Advances professionalism
Before the cloud, it wasn’t unusual for an attorney to call an assistant from the courtroom to look up documents explains Sherry Rydberg, Molloy Law, based in Fort Myers, Fla. The assistant would then read documents aloud or text a photo of them to the attorney in court. “So a lawyer had his phone, he had his iPad, but we weren’t utilizing them to their fullest opportunity,” she says. Now, directly from the courtroom, Molloy Law attorneys can quickly look up the exact documents they need from their mobile devices.“ It elevated our ability as a law firm to look so much more professional,” says Rydberg.
- Enhances workplace flexibility
Moving to the cloud has made a significant impact on work-life balance at Roeder Smith Jadin, notes Alex Jadin, a partner at the Minneapolis, Minn., firm. “We’re not chained to a desk having to service our clients from inside an office,” he explains. “We’re able to work from home, a coffee shop or a courthouse.” Brent A. Woody of Brent Woody Law in Dunedin, Fla., notes that he especially appreciates the cloud because it allows him to open, edit and upload documents from virtually anywhere. “I can take my entire office with me when I travel,” enthuses Philip M. Stone, Esq., Founder, Stone Law Firm, based in Reno, Nev. “Gone are the days of hauling heavy boxes of documents to depositions and hearings.”
- Improves client service while saving time
Managing their practice from the cloud allows the lawyers at Roeder Smith Jadin to enhance the value they provide by making them more accessible to clients, and helping them work faster while paying even keener attention to detail. Vonda Kay, who operates a family law practice in McKinney, Texas, notes that the efficiency of working from the cloud means she also can be more client-focused. “Cloud access via multiple devices has saved hours in the day and freed up time needed to spend with clients,” she explains.
Cloud computing for lawyers helps small law firms drive the efficiency and value clients expect in today’s legal marketplace. Learn more about the benefits of cloud computing and what you need to know about security in this popular Cloud Computing for Small Law Firms whitepaper.