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Climb into the cloud: What modernizing law firms need to know

What’s the picture that comes to mind when you think of a lawyer at work? A suit and tie, a gargantuan mahogany desk, and dusty volumes piled on creaking bookshelves might come into play…if this vision were taking place in years past. 

Today’s legal professional is typically more jetsetter than desk jockey, and law firms have to accommodate for their workstyles – and lifestyles – by finding new ways to modernize. For example, “hybrid” isn’t just about trendy cars anymore, but rather about a new era of in-person and virtualized collaboration. In the same vein, next-level flexibility challenges archaic concepts of the “workday” and the “office” as more people find themselves working during non-traditional hours and at non-traditional locations. 

And the result? Better business agility. Optimized teamwork. Wider client bases and market reach. Can we get an amen? 

The driver of all this evolution is far from secret. We've entered the Digital Era, where we want to have everything we need at our fingertips. Cloud computing can allow you to do just that. It’s gone from being heralded as the greatest thing since sliced bread to being a ubiquitous part of doing business. But what’s also noticeable is how, generally speaking, the legal industry hasn’t jumped on cloud adoption. In fact, as the viral video “I’m here, Judge - I’m Not a Cat” illustrates, legal professionals are navigating new digital, remote-first work environments to awkward-yet-hilarious ends. 

But wait. New developments have arisen. Could the legal industry be…on the cusp of change? 

Exhibit A: This recent article in the ABA Journal highlights the momentum of cloud adoption in the legal field, based on a survey of 2,000 legal professionals. Firms using cloud computing software increased from 76% before the global COVID-19 pandemic, to 88% at the time of the survey less than two years later. So maybe we’re not quite on Cloud 9 yet, but we’re making our way there. 

And the trend makes complete sense, just like pairing Law and Order: There has been a rapid and sudden increase in the use of remote working software, which of course, by its very nature is cloud-based. If you need more evidence (and what lawyer doesn’t?), the survey underscores similar findings published in ILTA Peer-to-Peer, which reports “significant moves” toward cloud adoption in the last two years. 

Yes, it’s understandable that some firms have been hesitant to take the leap into the cloud, with privacy and security concerns among the top reasons for not wanting to take the plunge. But there doesn’t have to be a plunge – cloud adoption can be done with a gradual, phased approach to avoid disruption and risk. In an industry landscape that’s as competitive as a roller derby, modern firms will need to leverage the future-ready capabilities the cloud offers. As firms look to evolve their operations, innovative cloud architecture not only enables efficiency and improved productivity, but superior security and data loss prevention.

Climb into the cloud: What modernizing law firms need to know
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The bigger they are, the harder they cloud

Some larger firms have a list of practice groups as long as the Constitution. For these firms, especially, there are many benefits to leveraging the cloud including: 

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee:” Pack a punch with business agility 

Cloud-based voice technology and speech-to-text solutions are the all-in-one tools that deliver more value than any blender or other appliance you might order on late-night TV. They better enable firms to pivot quickly for fluctuations with transcription needs, document creation, and more. They also support working seamlessly between laptops, smartphones, or tablets, so attorneys can shift easily when urgent deadlines arise, team members need to work offsite, or other unforeseen situations occur. For legal assistants, accessing files easily using a web browser, as well as sharing audio recordings and documents, using a singular secure platform, mitigates the need for sending files via email. Last but not least, these solutions increase team-wide visibility regarding priority dictations, so it’s clear as day which files need to be handled ASAP. 

“Beam me up, Scotty:” Use your smartphone to (sort of) teleport anywhere

“What is the office? Where is the office?” These aren’t existential questions, but real challenges to outdated modes of thinking about work. Using cloud-enabled voice technology solutions, attorneys are at the office while on vacation, during their commutes, and even at boring family dinners with the in-laws. Mobile applications with the same comprehensive feature set as desktop versions mean attorneys don’t lose capabilities no matter where or when they’re working. Sending audio files for transcription and further processing and review, and capturing notes fresh from a client meeting, are just a couple of examples of how to get more done right from a smartphone. This is a competitive edge in today’s increasingly crowded industry landscape where you’re up against not just the firm down the street but the plethora that pop up online like whack-a-moles.

Like Wheaties for a firm’s operations: Raising the bar on operational efficiency

Nowadays, a successful firm must function like a well-oiled machine – way easier said than done the larger a firm gets. But here again, cloud-based voice software is the ultimate utility player and pinch hitter. These solutions support streamlined workflows by allowing teams to produce more work at a faster pace – a must-have in complex, cross-disciplinary organizations. Cloud-based voice solutions also help firms reduce the time and costs spent on IT maintenance and troubleshooting, which can be reallocated to higher-impact initiatives. (Psst…that means generating more revenues for the firm.)

Hold the phone…what about security?

OK, so although there’s obviously a significant upside to cloud enablement, security remains a top concern for many firms, and rightfully so. However, using software applications that feature advanced security capabilities can help alleviate those concerns and keep confidential data under lock and key.

You're probably asking yourself "Is this the right step for us?" You'll feel more at ease when you find the right cloud by understanding your law firm's needs. Allow us to drop a little knowledge to help put your mind at ease.  

Public Cloud: Shared walls but private spaces

A public cloud is cloud computing delivered via shared internet and technical resources. Imagine a high-rise apartment building, complete with motion sensors, alarm systems, and a 24/7 security guard. That’s the environment secure public cloud provides for applications like our innovative Philips SpeechLive solution. A flexible web-based, voice technology solution, SpeechLive delivers all the business benefits firms need to drive productivity and billable hours. At the same time, this robust, feature-rich solution enhances the user experience and eases workflow frictions. Like that well-secured apartment building, SpeechLive offers enterprise-grade protection through real-time double encryption, server mirroring, automated backup, and more. This means attorneys and their teams can breathe easy knowing that their data remains confidential.

Private Cloud: Putting a “Privacy, please” sign on the (IT) door

A private cloud is conducted via a network and auxiliary resources that are managed and controlled by a single organization. Even with all those security features, apartment life doesn’t suit everyone. How about a standalone house instead? Private clouds are often used by mid-to large-size organizations with critical operations seeking security that they control to meet their standards. For those firms looking for that extra layer of security (a fence around the yard and a guard dog at the door), there is SpeechExec Enterprise. This voice technology solution is as customizable as your favorite pizza and offers the option of a private cloud environment managed using either internal IT resources or via a third party. SpeechExec Enterprise is also a highly versatile Swiss Army knife, with a wide range of use cases (dictation workflows between authors and assistants, mobile services like smartphone integration, speech recognition, and even direct access to an outsourced transcription service).

Ready to jump in? Ask about a free trial and let us show you how easy it can be to get started.

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