Managing Small Law Firms with Cloud Computing
As a small law firm owner or manager, your schedule is packed full of client meetings, client requests, case reviews, and case planning. Managing your small law firm is a necessity, but when you put your clients first, your firm takes a back seat.
What if your small law firm made a leap to the cloud?
Managing your firm – from marketing to new client prospects, and lowering your costs, to providing better more attentive client service – becomes easier with the cloud. Here’s how.
Market Your Small Law Firm Better on Cloud
Marketing is one of the biggest struggles lawyers face. You’re so caught up with working on your cases that finding time to promote your small law firm seems impossible. The cloud can help manage your marketing easier too.
Many law firms, big and small, offer free eBooks & reports to website visitors. When you put these resources, such as reports or ebooks, on your website, you make it easy for future clients to hand over their contact information in exchange for something valuable and helpful. Then, using a cloud-based application, you can automatically send your new prospect an email, and follow up with your prospect until they’re ready to buy from you.
The process can be automated so that you never have to lift a finger. Your prospect will be impressed, and your small law firm will stay front of mind so that when they are ready to hire a lawyer, you’re who they think of. It’s effortless marketing with a personal touch, which is ideal for busy lawyers.
Cloud Fortified Small Law Firm Data Security
A recent poll by LexisNexis indicates that nearly 50% of small law firm managers were likely to use the cloud for their practice in 2015 and more than 70% of attorneys who responded predicted their law firms would move aspects of their practice to the cloud in the 2016.
There are numerous benefits to using the cloud as the backbone of a small legal firm’s file and information system. First, storing data in the cloud increases a firm’s mobility. Documents stored in the cloud allow lawyers, though a secure portal, to access and analyze their files from home, the road, court or anywhere/anytime.
Second, cloud-based solutions allow a law practice to leverage one of a reputable cloud provider’s greatest skills, data security. Unlike many law practices, data security is a core competency of cloud providers. Therefore law firms, especially those that represent clients in industries that impose strict regulations for information security such as healthcare, finance, and education institutions can find it simpler and less expensive to meet data security requirements through a cloud-based solution.
Third, the cloud computing provides better disaster readiness and recovery because cloud-situated files are not as vulnerable to loss in the case of a fire, flood, or similar disaster. Secure easy access to the firm’s files can facilitate better relationships with clients and the court, and help firms remain operational through such natural disasters like Superstorm Sandy in the Northeast or the last year’s tornadoes in and around Oklahoma City. Finally, the scalability of cloud-based solutions allows a firm to pay for only the space that it needs to service the practice’s document management and daily operational needs like email, calendaring, and matter management while providing for flexibility as the practice grows.
Lower Your Small law Firm IT Costs
Small law firms don’t have a large enough budget to keep a full time IT department on staff. With the cloud, you can get the same high-powered technology that bigger law firms use, without a large investment.
Because cloud servers and applications update themselves, you don’t need to waste your time or resources on outdated systems. When you use cloud-based applications, the developer of those applications can make updates in real-time. You lower your overhead costs, and continue to use the most current technology available to small law firms.
Provide a Superior Service With More Agility
Your clients are going through enough. The big law firms have the manpower to reach out, nurture, and support their clients by interacting with them more. As a smaller law firm, getting out of the office for client meetings isn’t quite so simple.
To prepare for an out-of-office meeting, you need to pull together all of the files and paperwork associated with your client’s case. Then, you need to tote this to and from your meeting. All of that extra work can be costly, especially when you’re already burning the candle at both ends of the stick trying to stay competitive.
By utilizing applications for lawyers in the cloud, you can put a stop to this chaotic approach and provide better service. When you’re able to pull up the documents, information, case notes and docket schedules that you need on a moment’s notice wherever you are, on your laptop, tablet or smartphone your clients will feel the difference. You won’t have to put off returning phone calls until you get back to your office, and instead you can access the information you need on the go.
You won’t have to say no to an out of office meeting as often because you’ll be able to take your laptop and wireless connection with you anywhere. This makes you more agile so you’re ready to get the data needed to give your clients a firm and accurate answer to their concerns. Many big law firms are not able to do that as easily, which puts you at a distinct advantage.
Work Smarter and Faster
Your primary job as a small firm owner and lawyer is to serve your clients. Your clients rely on you to solve their problems. To do this, and do this well, you need to keep a pulse on what they need from you so that you can exceed their expectations every time.
The cloud makes this possible.
In addition to having your client’s data accessible anywhere, anytime, you can also access detailed information from third parties with ease. This is important when it comes to getting what you need in a timely manner.
Here’s an example. Say you’re out of the office meeting with a top client. Your expert witness calls and is ready to send over their report. This is the report that you and your client have been waiting for to aid in planning your case. With the cloud, your expert witness can send it directly to you through a secure cloud-based file sharing application. Instead of having to email large files, you can access the information you need faster than before, helping you work smarter with your clients.
In order for your small law firm to thrive, you need to be able to operate in a more modern and agile way. With the cloud, you can access customer information, market to new prospects, and keep your costs down – all while saving you and your staff time so that you can focus on winning your cases.
Kimberly Crossland has worked around the world with a variety of companies, from startups to Fortune 500 companies. Kimberly knows the challenges SMBs face in today’s market, she has experienced them first-hand, and works with small businesses to find innovative ways to get ahead of the competition and be current in today’s fast-paced, ever changing content-driven atmosphere. Follow Kimberly on twitter: @SavvyCopywriter Get her Magnetize Your Website report.