The Cloud? It’s Down to Earth…
In a special feature on outsourcing support for the legal office, the Law Society of Scotland’s Journal focuses on a business partnership that has harnessed the latest IT to offer a platform for law firms facing the challenges of the 21st century – and some client experiences.
Outsourcing has been a much debated topic in recent times. Applied to the legal sector, it often refers to large-scale deals where city firms ship quantities of work and/or back office administration to places where it can be carried out more cheaply.
But the potential advantages can be even greater for legal practices of a much smaller scale: the technology now exists to enable the average high street firm to offload many of the tasks that otherwise eat into valuable fee-earning time, providing expert help at a level that would otherwise be out of reach to most.
Here in Scotland, legal software providers LawWare and outsourcing business The Cashroom Ltd have collaborated to offer solicitors the means to take that step into the future – a step that many predict will be essential if the profession is to meet the challenge posed by increased client expectations combined with new competitive threats in the changing legal market place.
Light through the cloud
In a nutshell, LawWare offers a cloud computing solution, which it has christened LawCloud. The uninitiated should not let the term “cloud computing” fog the brain: it’s simply the popular name for outsourcing tasks through the internet that you would otherwise have to employ people and invest in IT systems to carry out within your office.
Launched in February 2011, LawCloud offers online the top-of-the-range Enterprise version of the LawWare case management software that has been adopted by 180 law firms in Scotland since the business was established in 1998 by managing director Warren Wander. Trials in the preceding months resulted in 25 firms already being live on LawCloud by the time of the official launch.
One of them is BBM Solicitors, a startup practice established at the turn of the year by brothers Eric and Alasdair Baijal, taking on high-end commercial and litigation work at offices in Wick and Edinburgh. “When we decided to set up our own practice, we wanted an IT system that enabled us to share data and gave us easy access via a laptop if we were in court”, says Eric. “We had already decided to go for a paper-light system, scanning any mail, saving it to client files, and doing without paper file copies of correspondence. Our previous firm used LawWare. We didn’t know about LawCloud, but when we talked to Warren and had a demonstration we were very impressed – even Jennifer, our associate, who has worked in a big firm with a heavy duty case management system.”
For the rest of this article, please see the LawCloud website at http://www.lawcloud.co.uk/outsourcing