Staying competitive in today’s legal market: 4 problems cloud solves
The legal market and technology is changing, bringing with it a fresh set of challenges.
Staying one step ahead of the rest can be tough and there are common problems that most legal businesses encounter along the way.
Our blog explores how cloud technology offers a solution to many familiar difficulties faced by law firms and barristers’ chambers alike.
1. Attracting the brightest lawyers with flexible working
In a marketplace that is growing increasingly commoditised, attracting the brightest graduates is often a key part of any competitive differentiation strategy. However, PwC’s NextGen: A global generational study of 180,000 professionals shows a priority shift for millennials, who are increasingly favouring flexibility in the workplace.
In PwC’s survey, 15% of male employees and 21% of female employees said that they would give up some of their pay and slow down the pace of promotion for working for fewer working hours. If flexible working was offered, 64% would like to occasionally work from home.
Cloud computing enables remote working, with full email access and document management from any location with an internet connection. This can enable home working or remote working when commuting, freeing up personal time and increasing engagement.
2. Meeting changing client service expectations in a more competitive market
Connected, empowered consumers have come to expect businesses to know them, to understand them, and to deliver what they want, where, when and how they want it. (Solis 2014 via The Law Society’s The Future of Legal Services)
For law firms, consumer clients have increasingly come to expect delivery of legal services online at a time they want it, as well as an integrated experience to the service with the firm. Meanwhile, business clients are frequently looking for a more collaborative approach that is accessible on the move. For barristers looking to service the needs of law firms or compete directly for work, these service requirements will also be key to will staying competitive.
Offering such as service would often be out of reach for many firms and barristers’ chambers. However, the cloud offers access to industry-standard applications that can be provided for a fixed monthly fee, that can scale as the business grows.
Cloud applications such as Office 365 offer unlimited data storage that can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection, allowing legal professionals to share legal advice and documentation wherever they may be and whenever it may be requested – which, if required, can be collaborated on from multiple user points. Case management systems such as Proclaim can also be accessed from the cloud, proving one single overview of the client matter wherever it is accessed, improving the customer experience.
3. Meeting the demand for lower legal costs
The cloud enables a move to a paperless office system where relevant documentation can be gathered at the click of a button, meaning court bundles can be easily prepared and the relevant information can be attached quickly to advice or negotiation correspondence. This helps reduce administration costs, enabling smaller legal businesses to remain competitive on costs.
Another way that costs can be reduced is through hot-desking. The Law Gazette recently reported that two top 100 law firms had embraced agile methods of working. DAC Beachcroft implemented hot desking after they calculated that every desk was used just 70% of the time, so they now only have eight desks in place for every ten people in the office. Meanwhile, London firm Wedlake Bell’s Managing Partner said: “The use of technology and the flexible working practices that it enables are vital. Agile working is something that is not only possible but essential for a full service law firm that is seeking to achieve the highest level of service integration.”
With lawyers often collaborating on joint projects, in client meeting or at court, the cloud enables firms to embrace agile working methods to reduce costs – especially those who have committed to more flexible working practices for staff.
4. Data loss and breaches
Cloud computing is sometimes viewed as a major risk to data protection and client confidentiality. Whilst it does present risks that legal professionals need to guard against, reliance on older systems of working presents other risks.
The ICO believes that solicitors are at risk of data loss due to over-reliance on paper files which can be lost, require archiving and cannot be encrypted. For those that store data electronically on in-house servers, software can quickly become out-of-date and fail to protect against newly discovered security vulnerabilities. With cloud, software is updated regularly and the costs of investment in protection updates are shared across the user base.
Want to find out more about the benefits of cloud for law firms, as well as how barriers like security and compliance can be easily overcome? Click the link below to read our free whitepaper, A guide to cloud for legal professionals.