Being a Cloud Native Law Firm is complex but not complicated
Being a Cloud Native law firm is complex but not complicated. What we mean by this is that while it takes expertise to do well, that expertise is readily available and ultimately it is a straightforward path. Many firms already heavily depend on Open Source Cloud Computing to operate.
The Law Society published a LawTech adoption report in 2019, long enough away for people to appreciate that the use of LawTech is ‘old news’ in certain circles. There are real benefits to operating your business making use of shared-best practice, with the ability to customise what works for you and your team specifically.
Any Document Management, Accounting or Practice Management system has compromises, the same can be said for the web browser, operating system and phone or PC that is being used to read this page. These are engineering decisions aimed at achieving maximum performance with as little friction to your day as is possible at the time.
Operating a Cloud Native law firm is exactly that, an engineering decision where your firm adopts design-thinking to become more efficient and more able to deliver for clients, and therein to bill for them.
Take for example the need for uptime, you don’t need to have to come in on a Sunday morning to check if your email servers are actually turned on, do you? While it’s good practice to connect to a VPN to then access private resources such as client-files, you can just as well do this securely using established tools such as NetDocuments (with two-factor authentication at least).
Being able to make best use of the existing technology is what makes a Cloud Native law firm useful to customers; a law firm which is available, delivers seamless legal services and is responsive is one which wins and retains customers.
Infrastructure which enable a law firm to be ‘cloud native’ are:
- Operating Systems (e. ChromeOS, Red Hat Enterprise Linux)
- Internet Availability (critical to access external resources)
- End-User Devices, with resilience (a laptop AND a tablet, in case one breaks)
- Document Storage, be that on-prem or through a service such as Clio or Google Drive, NetDocuments, et al.
- Email, the most critical element of any business. This can be self-hosted or hosted on your behalf.
Software which enable a law firm to be ‘cloud native’ are:
- Document Management software (to administer storage)
- Practice Management Software (such as Clio)
- Accounting Software, be that FreeAgent or Sage Cloud, or ERP platforms such as SAP.
- An app, cliché but most people use Android or iOS for their personal computing. An app is about accessibility, being where customers are.
Clio is able to integrate into infrastructure, accounts, email and also provides you an excellent app to be present where your customers are.
All of these critical elements of being a Cloud Native law firm are provided for, or easily integrated in using, the world’s most popular Practice Management software.
Clio is popular because it works, they are designed for legal businesses to flourish and to enrich the lives of your customers through improvements in how you deliver your business.
If you have bespoke systems in place then you need only plug-in to the ‘API‘ that Clio provides to integrate these systems. This enables you to deliver legal services, bill for them, and critically to be paid on time for your work.
Clio has many competitors, so if you for whatever reason do not wish to use them as a vendor that is fine. The point is to look at established platforms to connect your infrastructure and modern software together, build that efficiency and adopt proven-practices.
Like any professional organisation law firms are aware of and are actively adopting the established way of working, which today is not paper invoices or printed out bundles but Cloud Native systems.