The legal world is an interesting market, particularly when it comes to technology. A fast-paced setting in which communication is paramount
lends itself to the conveniences of mobility, collaboration and cloud computing technologies. But legal firms must also adhere to strict mandates surrounding the discovery process and documentation, and technologies must be tailored to meet those compliance requirements.
Despite the obvious challenges, the legal environment is a great fit for cloud computing. Joe Kelly, founder and CEO of cloud-hosted infrastructure provider Legal Workspace, said firms he works with began adopting cloud applications in services in 2004 and adoption in the market has been rising steadily since then. According to Kelly, attorneys may be traditional in many ways, but they also want and need the benefits that come with the cloud and its associated technologies.
“Lawyers take particular note of what other law firms are doing and how they’ve used these technologies,” said Kelly. “If they see success in other law firms and their vetting is concluded to their satisfaction, they are more open to new ideas and technologies.”
Essentially, once users understand that a cloud-based solution can meet their needs in terms of security and functionality, they are more inclined to give it a try. And Kelly adds that when attorneys realize the cost savings, productivity increases and other benefits of cloud offerings, they are more likely to adopt offerings on a broader basis.
One of the biggest factors of cloud adoption in the legal realm, said Kelly, is integration with existing legal solutions. That means an offering must address market-specific needs including document and time management and billing, as well as provide high levels of security and confidentiality. When a cloud solution meets these needs while offering easy integration with existing solutions, the benefits are compelling.
“Law firms that work with medical practices and insurance companies oftentimes need to be compliant with HIPAA regulations,” said Kelly. “Getting that compliance through a cloud service can save law firms thousands of dollars when compared to them securing that level of compliance themselves or through other means.”
He said that the biggest draw of the cloud, for lawyers, is having legal-specific software and applications available to them. This frees up legal IT departments from having to install, upgrade and maintain on-premises software and gives attorneys more freedom and flexibility in accessing the applications they need. Cloud infrastructure providers like Legal Workspace also handle the security details, ensuring everything is up to date
and that protection is being offered proactively through intrusion detection and prevention and dual-factor authentication.
“Most attorneys recognize now that the pros of the cloud outweigh the perceived risks,” added Kelly. “And the convenience of the cloud plays a large part of this. We’re a much more mobile society. It’s harder for today’s law firm to operate without the mobile and off-site access the cloud provides. Attorneys are no longer confined to their offices in order to practice. They can be anywhere, thanks to the cloud.”
Edited by Maurice Nagle