It’s a bold claim to say that a cloud document management system (DMS) can transform a law firm. We would not make it without seeing the evidence firsthand.
In the past few years, as firms have transitioned to the cloud from traditional document management systems – particularly premises-based server systems – the effect on productivity, service levels, and general efficiency has been profound.
Almost all law firms see the benefits of locating, accessing, creating, editing, saving, sharing, and storing documents more effectively by the transition to the cloud – in the process providing greater flexibility, data security and IT efficiency.
Such is the transformational power of cloud-based document management software that it has been a key differentiator in the success of many law firms that have made the switch.
We believe it is no exaggeration to say this. Law firms that have taken the necessary steps to modernize in this way have been able to spend more time on winning cases for clients and less time on administrative and IT headaches.
Let’s be more specific about these benefits.
Most firms that move to a cloud-based document management system consider their data more secure – not less secure – than with on-premise systems.
Consider the following elements, which are built into cloud-based law firm document management systems (such as LexWorkplace).
- Data Encryption In-Transit
- Data Encryption At-Rest
- Per-User, Per-Matter Permissions
- Geographic Data Redundancy
- Two-Factor Authentication
These security features are built into a cloud-based law firm DMS; now compare this security profile against your firm’s own, on-premise file server.
Most cloud-based system providers have invested years into building a robust and secure platform on which they stake their reputation. They take security very seriously and implement leading-edge security systems to protect client data or they don’t get far.
Remember, you remain in control of access privileges and all sensitive data remains protected and confidential.
Even small law firms serving the local area may have a satellite office and/or employees working remotely.
The Covid-19 pandemic has only increased the numbers of employers who have become comfortable with working from home. And much of the data available today suggests that at least 15% of workers will never return to the office.
By creating a central library in the cloud, where all documents are stored in well-organized folders, you meet the need for approved members of your team to access, edit, and collaborate on documents. This improves efficiency and productivity.
With server-based setups, it’s easy for data loss to occur if the backup procedure is not followed, breaks down or if there is a server problem.
With a cloud-based system, there is no single point of failure. By storing documents in the cloud, data loss risks are lowered because the provider stakes its reputation on providing a stable, robust, and secure platform.
With cloud-based document management systems, your data will be automatically replicated and stored across multiple, geographically dispersed data centers.
Server-based document management systems require considerable IT oversight.
A law firm’s functionality depends greatly on being able to reliably access, create, and collaborate on legal documents. IT consultants regularly need to be called in to ensure everything is functioning smoothly.
Headaches and hiccups with server maintenance are common. This can get expensive, especially for smaller law firms. What’s more, IT problems are a huge distraction, keeping law firm managers from focusing on growing their firm and serving their clients.
With a cloud-based DMS, there are no servers to own or manage, and no software to install and keep updated on each of your computers.
The move to the cloud means that all permitted users can access documents from the central “library” – wherever you are, whatever time of day, and on any device.
As long as you have an internet connection, you have access to case management files. Even if you are in court or client meetings offsite, you can access what you need.
Especially today, your clients outright expect you to have access to their data, no matter where you’re working from.
With an older, premise-based document storage or document management system, files can only be accessed either within the office, or via slow, clunky “solutions” such as VPN connections.
It’s no good introducing a DMS for law firms that disrupts other parts of the business.
One of the beauties of a cloud-based document management system like LexWorkplace is that it will immediately integrate with existing systems in use by most law firms, such as Microsoft Office.
Word documents, PDF files, Excel spreadsheets and even email from Outlook can be stored directly in a specific client or matter file, where they are easily searchable and accessible for all within your firm that have permission.
You can also share documents easily and securely by email directly through the system.
With the sheer volume of documents circulating in most law firms, things can get confusing. It’s easy for an older version of a document to be in circulation.
Or worse yet, your law firm may “manage” document versions by simply saving each new iteration and appending “v1,” “v2” (etc.) to the file name.
With a cloud document management system like LexWorkplace, every keystroke and change on a document is tracked, indicating who made the change and when.
All approved users have access to the latest version of the document, changes are synced in real-time, and if you need to access an older version, it’s easy.
Collaboration on case documents is more efficient and less likely to result in errors to documents.
Law firms rely on legal documents for efficient case management.
Being able to store, locate and access all documents, emails, and other files related to a case in one place makes it easier for your legal team to provide a premium service for clients.
With LexWorkplace, your team can perform text-based searches to help you find what you’re looking for in seconds. The document tagging system also allows you to perform keyword searches for documents.
Templates can be used to create new documents, helping your team draft letters, agreements, invoices, email reminders, appointment confirmations, etc. quickly and easily.
As you’ve seen, some cloud-based document management systems can do more than help you manage cases more effectively. Some have the power to generate key insights into your business.
As well as managing case files, LexWorkplace can help you monitor and analyze activity, log time, and bill clients more effectively.
This helps you make important decisions about the growth strategy of your law firm. For instance, it easy to assess the productivity and efficiency levels of individual lawyers, specific types of cases, and so on.
Important strategic decisions may be based on such analysis.