Microsoft has confirmed that Investment in Cloud based infrastructure continues to grow as businesses move from legacy systems and limited deployments to more comprehensive cloud based solutions.
Cloud adoption continues to gain traction in the legal profession as more and more law firms in Scotland and England recognise the increased opportunities that Cloud presents.
One such Cloud provider has seen a phenomenal growth over the last 12 months, with its client base increasing by 50 new Law firm Cloud start-ups in this short time and growing.
Warren Wander, Managing Director of LawCloud explains that the technology is now ripe for Cloud adoption, and that there has never been a better time for law firms to review their technologies. Wander says that planning for improved efficiencies and cost savings by embracing Cloud technologies and services is a vital ingredient in todays competitive market place.
“The new ways that this technology can be delivered creates opportunities for lawyers to embrace, such as flexible working, scalability, technology simplification. Headaches that existied with traditional technologies are removed such as performance issues and backup problems. Cloud enables concepts such as the virtual office, where lawyers can team up and work together without being bound to traditional partnership premise & practice.”
Alongside the opportunities for legal branding, collaborative membership groups are becoming more commonplace, where lawyers are using this kind of technology to strengthen their proposition and work together in new and interesting ways.
Winston Churchill once said “The empires of the future are the empires of the mind” and never has this saying been more apparent.
Last month, The Copthorne Hotel in Aberdeen hosted the third instalment in a series of legal practice management events chaired by Warren Wander, founder of LawCloud.
Professor Stewart Brymer – Brymer Legal
The day started with a keynote from Professor Stewart Brymer, owner of Brymer Legal, who detailed his experiences of LawCloud. Explaining how the Cloud has helped his firm work more flexibly and save on IT costs, Professor Brymer noted that “everything I need is available to me – easily, and, I only need a PC and a printer. Being on the cloud has removed the burden and cost of investing in servers”.
Noting that despite initial apprehension regarding security of the Cloud, performance and functionality, Professor Brymer sought out answers, discovering that because other markets have embraced cloud technology for years, solicitors have to as well.
Having made the transition to LawCloud, Professor Brymer noted that he continues to receive the highest quality of IT support from Warren Wander and his team at LawCloud, which he is able to use fully to his and his clients’ advantage.
Because of Cloud technology, Brymer Legal is able to succeed as a virtual law firm in Scotland, delivering a high quality service to its clients. Instead of traditional, fixed overheads, Bryme Legal moulds resources around client needs, making best use of quality thinking and internet technology, allowing clients to receive best advice at a reasonable cost.
Warren Wander then presented on the benefits of cloud computing for law firms, explaining how LawCloud has enabled over 170 lawyers across the UK to improve their legal practice with cloud technology. Warren introduced LawCloud by screening the following presentation:-
Explaining LawCloud for the audience, Warren said “In simple terms, LawCloud is the name of our secure server on the internet which you can rent space on. It delivers LawWare Enterprise and is the new generation in Practice Management & Office Software for law firms. It’s built on Microsoft’s Cloud Services platform and housed in a Fort Knox style data centre provided by LawWare business partner Rise Ltd.”
Elaborating on the main features, Warren then discussed Cash Accounting, the Full Electronic Case File, Risk Management & Compliance tools, Microsoft Office 2010 with Email, Shared Diaries, and, a secure, robust, high performance set of servers that have no single point of failure.
Summarising the main ways in which LawCloud benefits law firms both in Scotland and England & Wales, Warren noted that “It enables flexible working because it’s on the internet. It supports your mobile and remote working capability which means you can work as easily from home, court or holiday as you can from the office. Access to all information is at your fingertips. It also means that you can link branch offices together without the need for expensive servers to route the information. We simply connect your remote offices up to the LawCloud Server and straight away you have a wide area network for your teams to share information. LawCloud gives you peace of mind through Automatic Backups, in-built disaster recovery & a readymade business continuity plan.
As LawCloud looks after all of your critical data, you have complete peace of mind. All information is backed up multiple times per day; the environment is absolutely secure and scalable. With Automatic Updates your software is always kept up to date so you’ll never need to worry about running an out-of-date version or having to pay for new software licenses.”
Discussing pricing, Warren concluded noting that “LawCloud is available for a low fixed monthly cost (there is No or very low Capital Expenditure required). Along with the advancements in technology, IT vendors have realised that pricing models need to change and with LawCloud we’ve introduced a single low fixed monthly fee that offers real value for money. There’s no need to purchase or upgrade expensive servers or retain high cost maintenance contracts. This represents a substantial cost saving. The LawCloud bundle includes subscription based software licenses and we take care of all of your complicated back-end infrastructure & server requirements in the cloud. All you need is a standard PC and a secure internet connection to access the system.”
To discuss any of these aspects in greater detail, please call Warren and the LawCloud team on 0845 2020 577.
Catherine O’Day – The Cashroom
Founder of The Cashroom, Catherine O’Day then explained the benefits of cloud computing and how they have enabled her firm to grow and continue to work with an expanding range of law firms across the UK.
Explaining The Cashroom’s services for the audience, Catherine said “We do everything an in-house cashroom does, only we do it remotely, without the need for lawyers to employ and manage cashiers and accountants, and all for a fixed monthly fee. We are confident that the fee will be less than the equivalent employment costs, and you don’t have the hassle of employing people.”
Noting that The Cashroom has more than doubled its client base in the past year, Catherine elaborated on why outsourced accountancy for law firms is a serious consideration for the practice manager of every law firm in the UK. Against the backdrop of the vast array of rules and regulations that have to be followed by a CRP (CashRoom Partner) for a firm to be compliant, such as Law Society inspections, HMRC, VAT returns, PAYE & NIC, cashflows, surplus, accounts, budgets, etc, Catherine explained that The Cashroom aims to alleviate much of this burden for law firms, allowing all partners to be able to focus on fee-earning activities. This also removes the need for an internal cashroom to be staffed and frees up essential office space and other IT expenses.
The Cashroom provides a virtual cashroom service, on demand 9am-5pm, 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year. This is made possible by The Cashroom’s use of the cloud to provide better communication with clients, support flexible working for staff and to manage cashflow better.
Gavin Ward, Search and Social Media Marketing Manager at Moore Legal Technology, then presented on the return on investment for law firms in optimising their use of social media marketing and online presence.
Gavin introduced the subject by explaining the various components of return on investment (ROI) in a social media context. These included brand awareness and development, growth of digital assets, development of risk management capability and direct or indirect financial results.
Using examples of successes both personal and for client law firms, Gavin elaborated on several types of social media use in the legal profession. These include blogging, which can be used to develop personal brands and the brand of the law firm, to share legal knowledge, develop current awareness and ultimately to expand online presence and generate more business online. This LawCloud blog itself, which is listed as one of the top 100 blogs on cloud computing was used as an example of how blogging can work well for firms.
Discussing Twitter as a tool to develop relationships, maintain current awareness and drive traffic to law firm websites, Gavin illustrated examples of Twitter accounts, such as LawCloud’s Twitter account, together with analytics to measure use of those accounts.
Lastly, LinkedIn was discussed, with Gavin looking at LinkedIn groups can be particularly rewarding. He looked, for instance, at Warren’s Cloud for Lawyers group which was set up earlier in the year, which has attracted 500 members and which itself ranks first in Google for the term “Cloud for Lawyers”.
Gavin concluded by suggesting that firms should focus on the benefits and value of social media use in the broader sense, with financial results, e.g. in terms of client wins, inevitably following. The following PowerPoint slides give an overview of the presentation:-
If you’d like to discuss web presence or social media activities further, Gavin and the Moore Legal Technology team can be contacted on 0845 620 5664 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Upcoming Event in Inverness
If you didn’t get a chance to attend previous events, the speakers will be presenting again on Wednesday, October 26, 2011 from 12:00 PM to 3:30 PM in Inverness. This is a free business event that qualifies for CPD points. It is recommended that delegates book early as places are limited. See http://law-firm-challenges-inverness.eventbrite.com/ for further details.