Cloud Computing for Lawyers
For attorneys or paralegals, cloud computing could mean access to data anytime and anywhere. As long as they can connect to the Internet, work can be accessed from their home, office, client offices or from their smart phones. Lawyers can also work collaboratively on files and documents, even when they are physically not in the same location. For some lawyers, cloud computing is already an affordable and flexible alternative to traditional desktop and client server based software technologies.
Law firms are slowly moving to the cloud. The American Lawyer ‘s 16th annual survey gathered responses from 82 law firms and revealed that 65% of them use cloud computing. Of those firms using the cloud, 77% described it as a positive experience.
How lawyers could use cloud computing
1. Legal practice management solutions.
2. Document management and collaboration
3. Data back-up and storage
4. Time and billing
5. Digital dictation
6. Accounting software tools
7. Project Management solution
8. Email clients
Cloud computing advantages for lawyers
Interest in cloud computing is increasing among attorneys, and for several good reasons:
· Economy. The greatest economic advantage for a law firm is the reduced cost of hardware and software. The costs associated with the purchase and internally hosted software are lower and less hardware infrastructure means less IT maintenance.
· Simplicity. Law firms do not need to worry anymore about constant server or software updates.
· Flexibility and accessibility. The cloud allows data access from any computer, at the courthouse, on vacation or at home. This king of flexibility also helps increase productivity and efficiency.
Basic steps before implementing cloud solutions in legal practices
Cloud-based solutions are innovative, economical and accessible for legal practices. As the legal industry moves their IT systems into the cloud, lawyers need to ask if cloud computing is right for their firm. These are some basic aspects lawyers should take into consideration before choosing the cloud:
- Weigh the risks and benefits of cloud technologies;
- Understand the laws and regulations that govern the use of cloud technologies in the legal sector;
- Understand how each legal cloud application you would want to use works;
- Consider ethic considerations of storing client data in the cloud;
- Take into consideration that you must maintain privacy for your clients data that is in the cloud
Legal ethics committees are issuing guidelines for lawyers to use cloud computing platforms in their practice. These guidelines encourage and offer lawyers an opportunity to use cloud technologies in an ethical way. We will discuss about legal regulations in a future article.
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