October 24, 2013
Last week, I wrote about security in the cloud – namely making sure that your client information is protected when storing data remotely in the cloud. As an attorney, protecting client information is of primary importance, so cloud security should likewise be a primary concern.
Some of you may respond that cloud security isn’t a concern for you because you don’t store any files in the cloud. Maybe you’ve contemplated it, and maybe you haven’t. But, for whatever reason, you aren’t storing your law firm files in the cloud.
Admittedly, if this is true for you, cloud security isn’t currently something you need to worry about. But you have something else to worry about instead: being that attorney.
You know the type of attorney to which I’m referring. The one who comes to court with a file box containing all of the documents for the matter for which he’s in court. The one who is constantly shuffling through papers while in court trying to find the information he’s looking for. The one who still uses a pocket planner to maintain his schedule.
This is the same attorney who views new technologies such as mobile computing and cloud data storage as a passing fad that won’t leave a lasting impact on the legal profession. This kind of attitude hurts the attorney more than anyone else, as it creates prejudice against a very real – and permanent – business advantage.
In other words, mobile technologies such as cloud computing are here to stay, and their usage in the legal field is only going to expand in the future. As such, it only benefits attorneys – including that attorney – to adopt them.
If you’re that attorney, you’ll probably want to know specifically how these technologies will benefit you.
I’ve already alluded to one of the ways that mobile technology can help in your legal practice: reducing your paper load.
If you make electronic backups of all of your client files (which is something that I’ve recommended doing several times previously), you wouldn’t need to carry a box full of papers to court with you. You could upload them to the cloud – that is, to a remote server that provides secure storage and access from anywhere – and be able to have your files anywhere you bring a tablet or other portable computing device.
There are many important considerations to take into account when deciding how to use a cloud-based service, such as security (as discussed last week), and the organization and accessibility of your files (which will be discussed in a forthcoming post in this series), but in any case, being able to remotely access your client files in court will save you from carrying around a 30 pound box of paper.
That last piece about organization and accessibility (again, which I will get into in a future post) will also save you from shuffling through papers while in court.
The use of mobile technology can also make maintaining your calendar a much simpler task, since there are many technologies that allow for the synchronization of a calendar across multiple devices. Or you can even keep your calendar in the cloud – that is, maintain your calendar on a remote server such that it can be accessed anywhere, anytime, and from any device.
Billing can also be greatly streamlined with mobile technology. Instead of writing down your billed time and later transcribing it to an invoice, there are a variety of technologies available that will record your billable hours as you accrue them, and later allow for their collection into a single invoice.
Ideally, you can find a cloud service provider that integrates all of these tools together so that they are not only all centralized in one location, but also interact with one another to further simplify your law practice.
An example of such a provider is Thomson Reuters Firm Central, which integrates all of the tools mentioned above (and more) in one place, and, even better, combines them all together to form one giant seamless application – which can be accessed remotely from anywhere.
Whichever service provider you opt for, though, make sure that it fits well for you.
And while you may have a choice over which provider you use to move into the cloud, it isn’t a truly viable choice in the long run to simply choose not to move into the cloud whatsoever.