What are the Different types of Legal Cloud Software?
How does Cloud Practice Management Software affect you as a Law Firm?
August, 2022 - Author Kelly Mills
A lot has changed in Legal Cloud Applications in the last 5 years, with tech giants like Facebook and Google introducing new ways for web Legal Software to stretch beyond what was ever possible in its legal desktop counterpart. The new Internet is for more than just web pages, Lawyers, Legal Administrators and Conveyancers want to do everything anywhere, including their legal professions and jobs.
Learn how you can take lessons from internet giants like Air BNB, Netflix, Spotify and even NASA, it's time for faster and more powerful Law Firm user experiences.
Microsoft has dramatically shifted gears to online, with Office 365 now well embedded in the market. Microsoft has announced it will soon no longer support old Outlook Add-in tools. A huge hit for many legal products when saving emails and document generation. This move decays old legal technology.
Don't forget Covid, which has cemented the greatest shift towards workplace portability ever for Lawyers, and all professional services industries. Many Legal Software providers are still scrambling technically behind the scenes to keep programs taped together as they hobbled toward the cloud, trying to adapt, now that working from literally anywhere is the minimum requirement for most office workers today.
Law firms with progressive leaders win
While hardware has calmed in pace, Software technology is a bullet train, so don't be tethered to those old-fashioned methods or you clients will see you as out of touch, and be hesitant to trust that you can help them stay ahead of their competition or respond quickly when needed. Is the lawyer at a mahogony desk surrounded by papers, an image that resonates with you as a progressive lawyer? Most Lawyers would say that image has changed, as has the requirements of lawyers today.
It's not rocket science that Law Firms should invest in technology
Even at the most rudimentary financial level, the cost of legal staff vs new Legal Software, isn't in the same ballpark. With sky-high costs for legal staff, it's no surprise that businesses are reaching for tech as an alternative. Legal software can provide a much more affordable option to bridge the gap. Modern legal Software can as much save money as it can make money.
Desktop? Hybrid Cloud? and what about Cloud, that Legal Software that runs on Web Browsers?
Things have gotten murky with Legal Software marketing, the question of what is "Cloud" or "Hybrid" is difficult unless you know what you are looking for. So, Lets break down the three generations of Legal Software so that you have a clear way to know the difference.
Desktop Applications and remote desktop
You're likely familiar with legal desktop applications, that is Legal Software that is installed locally to your computer or server, upgrades must be installed locally by you or your IT person, and you must be in the office to use the Legal Software effectively.
To use a desktop application about town, you will need an expensive server license for ‘Remote Desktop’ or you will need to pay a private hosting provider, ouch. You’ll easily recognise this type of system because it's like inception, a desktop inside of another desktop.
Sadly, servers and remote desktop licenses are expensive, clunky, and require a substantial capital outlay initially for hardware, that ages faster than newborns.
Still on the Runway with Hybrid 'Cloud'
Hybrid Cloud Legal Software is the result of an unsatisfying compromise - attempting to meld together a desktop-style application with cloud legal data storage. Marketed as "cloud," it's really just outdated software that was modified years ago in order to save expensive costs associated with completely rewriting for the cloud. Hybrid clouds shortcomings make apparent why newer, more streamlined offerings are today available and how far we have come since this hybrid version emerged from its predecessor over a decade ago.
These early Legal software hybrid providers may not have pondered the consequences of keeping your legal data locked away in their products, leaving you with a frustratingly difficult task when it comes time to switch services. And that day is coming soon - these applications are getting outdated and unable to keep up with ever-changing tech advancements.
Rise of Legal Browser Cloud Applications
Despite being relatively new to the legal industry, modern browser-based applications have become immensely popular. This is largely due to cloud integrations enabled by technology giants and user's ability to log in without any tech support or installation restrictions - just open Chrome on your laptop and you're good!
Very little computer resources are required for these legal applications, and they are completely portable. The very latests of these Web Cloud applications can be used on any computer, windows or Apple, as they use browsers (think Chrome). As a bonus Software Providers that work with googles fancy new tools are set for 'fat' finger touch screen, so you really can use nearly any device that has a browser. That tablet to look at your matter and documents in court is now standard.
User Interface is a term you need to know, and here's why.
User Interface is what you see when you use any Legal Software. Apple coins the term as, the 'user experience', so its rightly important.
Google & Facebook tool kits (Material Design 2014) are currently being used by leaders in modern web development, to create for the first time a proper uniformed way to set up applications for users.
The big bonus of course is that Google, being the kings of the internet, made the layouts for fat fingers as well as a mouse, which means you can touch the screen or click the screen, without getting your reading glasses on.
But what does this even mean for you as a Law Firm, or Legal Professional?
Well, it means that your legal team will instinctively know how to use modern applications that have invested in writing their software with these tools. Stop and take a time out to look at new Legal Software Products, like Law App, and you'll see that you get it, like really get how to use the software, even in the demo! And why? Because, Material Design is used by internet giants like, Air BNB, Netflix, Spotify and even NASA. So… you and your team has already used it, without training. So.. Moving to modern easy legal software, is much easier today than it was 10 years ago.
Kelly Mills is a Financial Writer and Legal Software Entrepreneur, an Australian legal industry veteran of 27 years, a Legal Software expert.