Above the Law? No. But Digital Transformation Does Move The Legal Industry To The Cloud

Patrice Cappello

When it comes to digital business, it seems as though every industry is embracing digitization. In the legal industry, there are many questions about how to handle sensitive material without compromising client confidentiality. This is especially true when dealing with networks, cloud computing, and the Internet as a whole. At the same time it’s becoming easier to access legal resources remotely using a wide range of mobile devices. Even the American Bar Association has a section of its website dedicated to cloud computing. How are law firms embracing the cloud? How can you keep up with your competition?

How the legal industry can embrace the cloud

Though there is a world of resources on keeping things legal when moving other businesses to the cloud, the legal sector has lagged behind. Fully 90% of executives expect to be impacted by the digital revolution. But even with that knowledge, only 25% are planning for it, and only 15% are funding and executing those plans. That leaves a vast majority of businesses at risk.

The facts of how legal clouds are operated

Given the sensitive nature of legal information, many law firms are reluctant to store confidential client information in the cloud because they fear it will be less secure if it leaves their premises. But with today’s digital technology, it’s possible to have both data access and security in one simple solution, which is making the cloud more appealing. It’s exciting that digital transformation is providing these new opportunities for law firms.

Tentative incorporation of the cloud in the legal industry

Though digital technology is advancing quickly, the legal industry is slow to adapt to that change. Innovators from around the world are getting together to create new concepts, blurring the lines in international law. The popularity of mobile technology and widespread adoption rates have required better security measures in the cloud. Mobile devices have been in use in the workplace for over a decade. The average user experience has improved awareness of security issues and real-world problems in cloud computing. New solutions are more likely to provide effective protection for the legal industry to make the conversion to using cloud-based technology.

Many law firms are using the cloud for the absolute basics to research case law and handle simple contact requests and information transfers. The law firms that are starting to digitize may use mobile devices to handle scheduling issues within the court systems. There are still difficulties and lack of automation in a range of back-office tasks that could be handled in the cloud. But they aren’t, because there are still many questions about how to handle billing, contact management, and collaboration.

The vision of how legal clouds should be

But how could a legal cloud be run? There are many areas that could still be securely integrated without compromising client confidentiality. The main problem is setting up a system that allows seamless interaction between the internal network environment, mobile devices, and third-party digital assets. Imagine a truly integrated system:

An attorney shows up for a court hearing. At the end of the hearing, he accesses the court’s scheduling system. He checks for an open date and time that will not conflict with other scheduled dates and verifies it with the judge. At the same time, he notes that his afternoon hearing has been canceled and texts a partner for a collaboration session instead. His client mentions after the hearing that her sister is going through a divorce. Can he handle her case? He quickly adds her information to his contact management system on his phone. He then takes a payment from the client through the cloud billing system and sends her an email receipt. He knows that nothing will appear on the receipt that will break client confidentiality requirements. He knows exactly how his day will go in a matter of moments.

It’s an exciting time to be in the legal services industry. It’s a time where mobile access and data security are not mutually exclusive. More and more professional services moving to the cloud and digitizing.

Feeling like you can’t keep up so you may have to give up? Don’t! Our online resource center has a lot of insight to help you simply everything so that you can do anything. Moving to the cloud? We can help. Streamlining on a single digital core? We can help. Connecting your internal network environment to mobile devices and third-party digital assets? We can help. Reducing costs while maintaining standard practices and shared learning around the globe? Yes, we can do that too. Begin by downloading a complimentary copy of our new white paper, Legal 3.0: Navigating the Trends Driving Changes in an Increasingly Digital Legal Industry. The insights you’ll find in this center will provide you with a solid path to creating a secure and functional cloud computing system for your law firm or legal business.

Patrice Cappello

About Patrice Cappello

Patrice Cappello is the North America Industry Lead, Professional Services, at SAP. She is responsible for creating annual business plan and execution strategy to achieve revenue targets; develop marketing strategy and tactical plan to drive pipeline growth; participate on sales teams as Industry executive advisor; and create relationships with and enable partners to ensure revenue stream through indirect channel.