Law firms generally aren’t known for quickly embracing change, but the shifts wrought by the pandemic upended the status quo—and things aren’t changing back. For many lawyers, technology has become an undeniable necessity in running a law office.
Most lawyers have heard about the cloud and already use it to store data—but what does it look like when you integrate more cloud-based features into your office’s day-to-day operations, such as with a practice management system?
Boosting Professionalism with the Cloud
Using a cloud-based service ushers in a new level of flexibility and location-independent office management. And while many law firms operate with a strong sense of home base, including understanding local court procedures and preferences, their clients increasingly do not.
Today’s clients see more and more remote collaboration in other areas of their work and personal lives. To them, being tech-savvy is what modern professionalism looks like.
And there are benefits for law firms, too. Cloud-based practice management lets the team log on from anywhere, on any device—meaning that billable work doesn’t get lost when you’re on the way to court and all you have handy is your cell phone.
In addition to expecting more from law firms on the technology front, clients also now want a level of convenience that mirrors their experiences with other businesses.
For instance, secure online access to documents removes unnecessary steps for both the law firm and the firm’s clients, saving everyone time. It also means that documents can be reviewed (and e-signed) at each party’s convenience.
Likewise, although clients may prefer to have a first meeting in person, they may also appreciate the flexibility of video-conferencing for subsequent meetings—and secure messaging for quick back-and-forth if they have questions.
Ultimately, clients care about the results the law firm produces and the experience of working with the firm.
Payments via the Cloud
One of the other benefits of a modern approach to your firm’s operations is the ability to accept credit card payments—anywhere, any time.
Rather than accepting only checks or cash, your clients can pay online as soon as they get their bills. By clicking the link in their invoice, they can pay through a secure client portal and experience the convenience they’ve come to expect from other business transactions.
Accepting credit cards helps law firms, too. It can help improve cash flow by making it easier for clients to pay as soon as they get their bills.
When handling client information, law firms need to be aware of the latest rules from the American Bar Association, Law Societies, and/or their local Bars (or other ruling party based on local jurisdiction). If you’re backing up office data via the cloud, then you’re already using a third-party server.
It’s your responsibility to understand where the server is located (i.e., in the United States, Canada, or another country) and what security measures are in place.
These concerns apply to data storage and the practice management platform you’re trusting with your client’s financial information.
The new, new normal
While the shift to the cloud started well before the pandemic, remote working requirements drove home the new reality of professional office culture. And in that new reality, it’s valuable for law firms to recognize that their clients are looking for legal services that provide a convenient and streamlined experience.
But that increased convenience for clients doesn’t have to mean a sacrifice on the firm’s part. Like most tech innovations throughout history, cloud-based services seek to save their customers time.
Law firms can improve efficiency by embracing modern tech: sharing documents through a secure online portal, video-conferencing, working from a mobile device, accepting credit card payments, and offering prompt, private communication options for clients.