Any law firm that’s evaluating practice management software has seen “cloud-based” options. Cloud technology has been around for a while, but some law firms are hesitant to switch to the cloud due to security concerns, lack of control, or downtime. The cloud has numerous benefits for a law firm, however. Instead of relying on filing cabinets and in-office servers, law firms can embrace the cloud and maximize their time and profits.
Why Should My Firm Use Cloud-Based Software?
Traditionally, law firms have relied on in-office software that is installed on a local computer or server within the office space. These servers are only accessible from computers in the same space but limit any remote access or capability. This setup quickly became an issue for law firms looking to sustain business continuity during the pandemic.
A cloud-based solution isn’t installed locally on the office server but is fully hosted on the internet. It uses a remote server maintained by the software provider, and access occurs through the internet. More recently, cloud-based legal practice management software has become the gold standard for law firms to manage and operate their business from anywhere. LPMs have slowly started to replace traditional servers and become the backbone for law firms to handle client management, calendaring, tasks, billing, and document storage.
Even post-pandemic, law firms are still learning to embrace legal technology and leverage the advantages of shifting their practice to the cloud. When done correctly and with the right resources, cloud-based law firms can improve aspects of their business from accessibility, security, client support, and even hiring and retention.
If you’re still on the fence about moving your firm to the cloud, here are 5 benefits that may change your mind:
1. Improved Security
Legal technology has come a long way in recent years with a strong emphasis on compliance and security. Law firms may be concerned about security, but some are realizing the cloud is more secure and cost-efficient than an on-premise solution. This is mostly because on-premise solutions typically require specialized support staff to perform lucrative updates to the system. These updates can cause severe downtime and even cost money calling in support.
With a cloud-based legal practice management software like PracticePanther, the all-in-one platform automatically updates and comes with the security and support your firm needs. The platform comes equipped with ABA and IOLTA compliant features and 256-bit military-grade encryption to ensure confidential information is safeguarded. It also offers two-factor authentication and customized security settings, which allow law firms to limit access to certain aspects of the software for some staff members.
2. Supports Remote and Hybrid Work
Though many law firms are still working out the kinks — remote and hybrid working environments are a mainstay in the legal industry. Many lawyers are enjoying the productivity benefits and work-life balance of remote or hybrid schedules, allowing them to put in the hours they need for casework while also balancing their responsibilities at home.
On-premise legal software limits lawyers with remote work in many ways. Cloud-based legal software enables law firms to work securely within a centralized platform from anywhere. This allows staff to continue their responsibilities without risking accessibility or tasks falling through the cracks when staff are in different locations. For example, PracticePanther can create workflows with triggered tasks for staff to complete a new client onboarding, send documents for electronic signature, and even process payments. This process can be done from anywhere and lives in one system where the appropriate staff can easily access the case or client matter.
3. Streamlined Billing and Online Payments
Clients’ expectations have shifted and they want more convenient processes, especially with legal billing and how they conduct business with law firms. These clients are already using online services for virtually everything, from grocery shopping to accessing medical bills, and they want the same digital experience from their lawyers.
Cloud-based software makes this simple, especially when billing and online payments are built natively. This means firms can track time, create invoices, and send them for payment with easy-to-use payment links embedded. Platforms like PracticePanther also include exclusive reporting functions so firms can gain better insight into where and how their cash flow is generated to make more informed business decisions.
Outlook on Cloud-Based Firms
Cloud-based software offers law firms a unique opportunity to manage their practice and staff while growing their business from virtually anywhere. This structure has proved sustainable for many law firms and will continue to be the standard in the legal industry for firms that want to remain competitive and most importantly, profitable.
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