By Michael Ehline – In the old days, lawyers hunted and pecked on ink ribbon manual typewriters, and had plenty of whit out on hand. One really bad paper, and you had to start over from scratch. There was no copy and paste, there was no “save as” feature. Technology, in particular developments in word processor software, have hurdled lawyers light years ahead. Yet, compliance with regulations, laws and the complexities of modern court rules, for example, take many of the advantages we thought we had gained in efficiency from technology. Data entry now fills our days.
So it seems us “fat cat lawyers” have to spend less time at the golf course and more time filling out long cause cover sheets, or complying with some other new rule. Of course I say this in jest, but I am also biting my tongue. The most important thing an attorney has, and needs, is more time. Any advantage we can get means more time to perhaps go to the gym, a walk, a jog, or even take your kids to the park.
As a lawyer, especially a consumer attorney, the weight of the world feels like it is on your shoulders. Being an attorney has good times and bad when it involves practice management. One of the solutions that lawyers are taking advantage of and finding good results in, is using cloud technology. The main advantages why some attorneys depend on what the cloud has to offer include:
Using the cloud lawyers have the ability to be more competitive, especially small or solo law firms. Being able to be competitive puts the small or solo law firm in competition with the larger law firms. The lawyer can be more entrepreneurial and have the time to enjoy the strides their practice is making, while at the same time being able to compete and gain clients. “Better Call Saul” Lawyers will probably love this tool!
More Flexibility in Practice Location, Etc.
Although you may not be able to be on a private island, you can operate remotely with cloud type systems. Lawyers using the cloud have more flexibility with their practice, since they are no longer tied to a desk or even the office. The cloud makes it possible to access and manage files or cases from any location that has internet access. Smartphones or locations with Wi-Fi access to access cases and manage files, which leaves few places that cannot be used for a virtual desk. Court is another place that the cloud is changing, since use of a tablet or smartphone can mean obtaining forgotten information or evidence without having to request the judge allow time to retrieve the evidence.
Time management is another key issue for busy attorneys, which can mean forgotten family events, but not when using the cloud to keep a calendar that can be accessed from anywhere. Saving time from having to run to the office to retrieve notes and other information to meet with a client is a thing of the past with this technology.
The cloud use can actually save money for the solo lawyer or small law firm, since employing an IT staff, software and hardware can be expensive. The cloud keeps costs down while at the same time having a more profitable practice with time saving management, because there is no need for professional training or troubleshooting costs or updates by IT professionals.
In the legal practice the client is basically a business partner and keeping them satisfied during meetings, correspondence and phone contact is made easier when using the cloud. Information for clients can be accessed whether in the office or out, which means clients, can be kept informed on their case. Payments can also be recorded with this kind of technology, while keeping the clients information updated from anywhere.
This is one way to ensure a successful practice, since there is no need to return to the office to retrieve information on a case for the court or a client meeting. Cloud use saves time, money and easy access to everything contained on the office computer from a tablet, laptop or smartphone. Time is also money in any type of business including a law firm and it is possible to determine what the most profitable area of the business is and what areas need improvement.
This can be a task that is relatively easy using this technology of digital data using cloud tools, compared to before the cloud when the information would have had to be complied manually. The lawyer has the ability to automatically retrieve reports on a regular basis that can help to enhance the law practice. At the 2014 Clio Cloud Conference, cloud technology and the future of law practices was discussed. At least one expert commented on the efficiency of this technology and thousands of attorneys are benefiting from cloud use for their business.
As far as disadvantages, they are few. We are already tied to our phones, so being tied to more data and communications is probably a trade off. Battery times are an issue. You probably need back up batteries if operating remotely. Data crashes are a problem, but you also risk that at a static office location. Whether you will ultimately benefit depends upon many factors, including your ability to be comfortable with technology. I am going to give it a shot and report back later after I am more qualified to render an opinion.
Cloud Computing for Lawyers – ABA Website
Did the LSBC Just Kill Cloud Computing for Lawyers in BC? – Slaw
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