Law Office Applications in the Cloud
Crucial to any law firm’s consideration of utilizing Cloud Technology is, of course, Data Access and Security.
While the technical aspects of Cloud computing has overcome those intricate hurdles of ethics and liability issues, it has done so with the exceptional benefit of Data Accessibility that is 24/7/365. In other words, a firm utilizing Cloud Technology can rest assured that their confidential and time-sensitive documents are in full compliance with all ethical and legal retention requirements, being even more stringently guarded than previously monitored on their in-house servers; and, with the added luxury of being able to access information and documents “anytime/anywhere” through an internet connection.
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See also: Law Office Cloud Security & Ethics
Data Availability is an even more enticing aspect of Cloud Technology, because it allows access to time sensitive Pleadings and documents from anywhere, at any time. Every experienced attorney has endured those times when a certain Pleading must be served on all interested parties and filed with the jurisdictional court on a date set by Legal Statutes or Codes, but for any number of reasons an over-worked attorney caught momentarily unaware for a crucial deadline, without Cloud Technology, must stay at the office until completely finalizing the crucial Pleading or ensuring that all the necessary protocol and arrangements for court compliant service and filing is performed pursuant to Rules of Court, etc.
Law Office Cloud technology, Luxury or Necessity?
The nearly priceless luxury of the ability to access office applications through Cloud Technology is much more appreciated from the frantic standpoint of being able to review and revise a time-sensitive Pleading from anywhere, at any time, by an attorney under the gun of time. Accessing your in-house Third Party Applications, such as calendaring, accounting and time-keeping, and client and document management programs from anywhere, at any time, provides for a more efficient and productive law office, not to mention the benefits of a cost-effective office “going green” or paperless.
Being able to access data quicker, review and revise in real time, and to maintain all legal and ethical requirements without having the added burden of maintaining an in-house server is the only logical choice in considering whether or not to implement Cloud Technology in any size law firm today.
As quoted from Kacee Johnson’s article entitled, “Law Firm Cloud Computing Gaining Popularity,” March 3, 2012:
“Cloud computing means that staff can access the files and data that they need even when they’re working remotely and/or outside office hours. As long as an attorney, paralegal or even a client can get on the Internet, work product can be accessed from home, on the road, from clients’ offices or even from a smart phone such as a BlackBerry or iPhone,” reports attorney Christopher Hill at his Virginia Construction Law blog. “Staff can also work collaboratively on files and documents, even when they’re not physically together. Documents can simultaneously be viewed and edited from multiple locations.”
Cloud computing also means that staff can access third party calendaring applications, which is extremely convenient, and sometimes necessary, when trying to schedule a deposition, set a hearing date, or compute jurisdictional statutes of limitations while out of the office. There have been countless hearings, depositions, etc., scheduled and rescheduled, wasting valuable time and resources simply because access to the firm’s calendaring program was not accessible to the attorney or staff scheduling the event. Cloud computing eliminates the downtime lost due to data and third party application unavailability. Attorneys and their staff are able to work more efficiently and effectively, thereby allowing billable hours to be utilized more productively.
Kacee Johnson acknowledges the law profession’s unique need for Cloud Computing services: “All verticals have specific requirements on document storage, and law practices, from the smallest on up, incur particularly stringent regulations due to the legal nature of records and sensitive client data. Cloud9 Real Time can reduce much of the pain borne of maintaining this level of secure and easily managed legal data storage and also decrease law firm IT costs dramatically while providing a disaster recovery plan for practices and their clients.”
With all the benefits of data and third party application accessibility, the added attraction of reducing IT cost expenditures while upgrading to a much higher level of data security and storage makes moving to the Cloud not only a compelling choice, but an inevitable one as well.
Denni Coslett has been a Legal Assistant and Paralegal for over 25 years. She has worked with prominent law firms and was instrumental in the successful representation of historical cases. Denni is proficient in most legal practice software applications and possesses a keen understanding what IT solutions Legal Firms need.