Posted by James Eisner ● 9/25/18 4:36 AM
Law Firms and Cloud Computing: Benefits of Taking Your Firm Paperless
Law firms and cloud computing haven’t yet come together as they have in other industries, especially among solo and small firms. However, this once traditional industry is starting to change its attitude towards the cloud. With improved data security and user-friendly interfaces, cloud-based services are starting to become more prominent in the legal software market.
Jacobs & Schlesinger is a small San Diego-based law firm who found themselves getting fed up with their old computer software and office processes. Like many law firms, they didn’t have a web-based document management system. Instead, they were using a combination of paper-based processes and Microsoft Office.
With the legal technology boom in full swing, they now had many practice management software solutions and cloud services to choose from. One way or another, they needed a change.
How it used to be done
Jacobs & Schlesinger was struggling to operate with their existing systems. First, their platform wasn’t able to store emails for more than 30 days. That meant that they needed physical backups to protect and maintain their critical files.
On top of that, they were only able to share files through email. Unfortunately, that made keeping track of the correct file version a challenge. Furthermore, when an employee left the firm, finding their files and redistributing them was a nightmare.
Most worrisomely, signing new clients was a time-consuming process. Internally, contracts were reviewed using a paper and email-based process before being sent to clients by email. Often, the firm found themselves following up and chasing clients for signatures, costing them valuable time. Apart from wasted time, Jacobs & Schlesinger was also spending a significant amount of money on these IT systems.
Does any of this sound familiar? If you answered “yes,” keep reading.
How a cloud solution helped
After debating the different solutions, Jacobs & Schlesinger decided on Google Workspace in 2013. As a first step, they chose to move their documents into Google Drive. While Drive helped, their workflows were still slow and their IT solutions weren’t as centralized as they would have liked.
That’s when, in 2014, they decided to work with AODocs. With Google Workspace and AODocs, the firm was able to put sharing permissions in place that allowed them to restrict access to certain documents. That, in turn, helped them to stay compliant with industry compliance standards and regulations. They also no longer needed to worry when an employee left. With a cloud solution, that employee’s documents were still accessible.
Google Workspace and AODocs have also allowed Jacobs & Schlesinger to bridge the gap between Microsoft Office and Google Workspace. Many of their attorneys were working exclusively with Microsoft documents. The cloud has given them the flexibility to work on those files in Google Drive while still using the tools that they were familiar with. However, they now don’t have to worry about how to share those documents or which document is the current version.
The firm has also sped up its contract management processes. They’ve been able to completely automate their contract review process using customized workflows. All parties can now sign the contract digitally, which helps the firm avoid waiting for physical signatures and speeds up the client retention process.
The real-world benefits
Jacobs & Schlesinger started to see the benefits of moving to a cloud-based practice management solution almost immediately.
With the help of Google Workspace and AODocs, they were able to centralize files, put in document access permissions, and work on Microsoft Office files in Google Drive. These new tools have helped the firm reduce the amount of time that it takes to retain new clients from two weeks to three days. The time savings have also led to cost savings. With fewer emails being sent due to the automated workflows, the firm has more time to work on more cases.
Despite all of the extra features that Jacobs & Schlesinger now has access to, they have still been able to simplify their IT infrastructure and cancel a number of other services. In the end, this has helped them save hundreds of dollars per month.
While it can seem daunting to move your law firm to the cloud, as you can see, there are plenty of benefits. From protecting client data to improving your firm’s efficiency, cloud-based solutions can help you conquer your legal practice management challenges. So, why not see how a cloud solution can help you? Jacobs & Schlesinger did it. Your firm can too.
Topics: Document Management