Cells, formulas, filters, tabs, rows—if you are a legal professional, you know the lingo. Spreadsheets like Excel have historically been the norm for legal professionals trying to track invoices, assets and matters.
Yet, the legal profession saw a transformation—along with the rest of the world—once the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Many forward-thinking organizations had already switched to cloud-based technology tools to make remote work possible. But there were others who were hesitant to transition despite signs that the need for cloud-based technology and that remote work is here to stay.
It wasn’t just legal organizations that were shifting to cloud-based technology. According to the ABA Journal, “COVID-19 prompted courts to expand their use of e-filing, e-service and online dispute software, among other tools.”
While organizations were quick to adopt these tools, as well as video and audio-conferencing cloud-based tools such as Zoom, some were slower to transition other important legal activities to the “cloud.”
What is the “Cloud?”
The cloud refers to the ability to access resources through the internet that would normally be stored on-site (private networks, servers, storage, on-premise applications and services) and are typically maintained by a third party (the cloud provider).
The concept of cloud computing is already hot in the business world. According to a report by Markets and Markets, the global cloud computing market is expected to grow rapidly reaching $623 billion by 2023. This is approximately double the market growth in as little as five years.
Why is it such a significant change for organizations?
Five Benefits of Switching From Legal Spreadsheets to the Cloud
Numerous benefits exist for legal organizations who are ready to say goodbye to spreadsheets and transition their valuable content to cloud-based tools. Some of the many advantages legal professionals have seen by taking the plunge into a new way of work include:
- Better protection against data breaches and data theft.
Mangled formulas, broken links, hidden data: these are possibilities when working with spreadsheets. And when information is in print form, it’s even easier for someone to confiscate. With legal case software, data is stored in one location within the cloud for secure access and retrieval. With multiple online authentication features and no need for secure physical storage, the threat of security breaches is significantly lowered, ensuring only the people who should have access do.
- Remote access to a robust, functional and flexible case management solution.
Changing company cultures and work styles have made remote and flexible work more popular than ever. With legal software, physical files are never lost or left behind. Digital files aren’t sequestered on one individual’s computer. All data for a particular matter is accessible digitally whenever you need it. With a single system made specifically for managing legal information, you can better sort, manage, filter and automate all your data and tasks. No more disparate methods of managing various cases, files or projects. You can gain quick access and up-to-date information anytime, anywhere.
- Improve collaboration and productivity among teams.
Legal case management systems offer a seamless way to categorize and track all legal work, on a matter basis, in one location. Easily access, organize and identify key contacts including clients, third parties, outside counsel, etc. Productivity increases with the ability to coordinate and facilitate activities with outside participants, including law firms, alternative legal services and outside expertise through one centralized system to keep track of activities. And because information is kept in the cloud, there’s a single source of data where updates are made in real time so everyone sees the same thing. This level of organization is how legal work gets done efficiently and effectively.
- Easier access to legal case information on the go using mobile devices and tablets. Now more than ever, legal professionals are looking for technology tools to give them access to critical case data remotely and on-the-go through mobile devices and tablets. Whether in the office or the living room, having access to critical case information makes work easier and more productive. With traditional spreadsheets (not in the cloud), users must be tied to their desk or home computer to gain access to the information. Legal case software enables access to all the same case data, but from the convenience of a tablet or mobile device.
- Automate repetitive tasks and save time in the process.
Spreadsheets don’t lend well to easily automating tasks. Pivot tables and code are involved, and the process can become quite cumbersome for legal professionals. With investigation case management software, all your legal data is stored in a single place, making it much easier to set up workflows and automate routine legal processes. The workflow functionality within the system automatically assigns tasks and due dates to users based on their role in a case. Workflow wizards use a template which standardizes each step in a process into a task with an assigned role, ensuring nothing is forgotten.
The system is so smart that even changes made to these processes or tasks result in an automated notification to the user. You can also define conditions that trigger the sending of an email to whomever is involved in a case based on a specific workflow activity or task. These features save valuable time to focus more on closing cases and less time on administrative tasks.
Ditch the Formulas: Manage Your Content Completely in the Cloud
Spreadsheets have always been king in the legal industry. More and more organizations are looking for efficient ways to work remotely. Cloud-based legal case management software is the solution for legal professionals who are finally ready to take the plunge into a new, better way to work. While many have hesitated to move to the cloud out of an abundance of caution, data has shown that confidential legal information can be better protected in a trusted, cloud-based legal case management system than anywhere else.
With more than 30 years of experience supporting organizations across a number of industries, Legal Files gives teams the security, centralized storage capabilities and automation needed to focus on the bigger picture of case management.
“A spreadsheet was being used to track numerous pieces of information related to litigation,” Jordan recalled. “We have hundreds of contracts, and data was not easily or quickly accessible because anyone in the office might have the pertinent file. Everyone did store documents to a single folder on the network, but everyone had their own naming conventions—it didn’t make it easy to find what you were looking for.”
Matthew Jordan, Chief Legal Advisor
New Jersey Passaic County (Legal Files Customer)
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