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‘Cloud is just more scalable’ for law firms

While choosing the right practice management software can be confusing, this pair said there are an “array of solutions” in the market right now, including cloud-based software.

user iconLauren Croft 23 May 2023 Big Law
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Adam Bullion is the general manager of marketing, and Anthony Bryce is the sales lead for Australia and New Zealand at legal practice management platform PracticeEvolve.

Speaking on a recent episode of LawTech Talks, in partnership with PracticeEvolve, the pair discussed practice management systems — and why this is a particularly important and relevant decision with the uptake of legal tech in recent years.

In terms of what firms should be evaluating when looking at practice management systems, Mr Bullion said that there are a number of things to consider, particularly when looking at cloud-based systems compared to on-premises systems.


“Our research tells us that 67 per cent of firms have already started their journey towards the cloud. So, they’ve already moved systems towards the cloud. Now for context, around 60 per cent of all businesses globally are already in the process of moving to cloud technology. We’re certainly seeing that law firms are probably slightly ahead of that curve.

“But for me, there are probably three key areas that law firms really consider and really ask us about when they’re talking about cloud technology. And those three are scalability, terminology and security, and thirdly, ease of use. So just taking those one at a time, cloud is simply easier to scale than on-premise, whilst it’s also much more cost-effective,” he explained.

“Consider a firm that’s running out of space on their on-premise server. They need to buy a new disc space and upgrade that to get it installed, and they might have two terabytes of space that they’re running out of, so they probably need three. But they’ll want to think about the future, so they’ll invest in buying five terabytes, which isn’t always going to be immediately required. Whereas with cloud, it’s just a simple switch; you can increase it from two terabytes to three terabytes, as and when you need it. It’s faster to actually implement, and it’s much, much more cost-effective.”

According to Mr Bullion, much of what prevents firms and clients from moving to a cloud-based system is a lack of understanding, particularly around the different terminologies.

“Thinking about public cloud, some think that means that the data is there, and it’s available to the general public wherever they are. Whereas actually, it’s just a term that defines a cloud solution that’s available generally. It doesn’t mean that the data is publicly available. Private cloud, on the other hand, is a device. I have a private cloud at home. And that’s probably much easier to hack my private cloud, than it is a public cloud,” he added.

“It’s that different terminology that’s really leading people to being unsure as to the level of security in the cloud. So, that’s why we’re not seeing a hundred per cent already on their journey to cloud. And while nobody will ever really guarantee immunity from cyber attacks or breaches, I think cloud is so prominent now in the overall market in the business world that it has all the latest security features associated with it. Ultimately, cloud is just more scalable, it offers much more mobility, and it’s just a more cost-effective way now to run a business and run a law firm.”

But while onboarding these tech platforms can be costly for a law firm, Mr Bryce emphasised that a “strong discovery stage” can aid in this.

“We’ve noticed from our experiences that firms that have had a rigorous process in place and engage with internal stakeholders at the very beginning of the process, they’ve been able to maximise the software. They’ve actually been a lot of buy-ins; that’s what we find with that. And if they’re not ready, we’re okay to say to them, ‘Hey, I think you better go back inside and have another conversation to ensure that you’ve got everyone and you are ready to make this move, but you’re also understanding what your shortfalls are and how we can assist you’,” he explained.

“And so, that means that it’s really important to have the right people in the room defining exactly what you require from a software. Only then, that’s when we can tell them what they should or shouldn’t have. One way, within your team, is to appoint a champion with your firm and they can be that conduit of communication between the software provider and your firm.

“And for larger firms, we’ve seen this work really well. They create a group of super users. When firms are solving their own problems internally about how best to use the system, it’s really powerful.”

The transcript of this podcast episode was slightly edited for publishing purposes. To listen to the full conversation with Adam Bullion and Anthony Bryce, click below:

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