Law Firms are Switching to Cloud-Based Software in 2019

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04Feb2019

Law Firms are Switching to Cloud-Based Software in 2019

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By Nicole Black

Earlier this month, I shared the top signs that it’s time to upgrade your law firm’s law practice management software. In case you missed it, here are a few surefire indications that your law firm’s software is due for an upgrade:

  • You’re cobbling together several systems instead of one
  • You still have endless stacks of paper around your office
  • Your software looks like it was designed in the ’90s (and probably was!)
  • You still have to maintain a server (probably located in your office’s closet) to run your software
  • Support for your law practice management software has been discontinued
  • Your software doesn’t leverage new technologies such as online billing and instant credit card payments
  • Your software doesn’t have automatic updates that include new features.

If a few of these apply to your law firm, rest assured, you’re not alone! According to the latest ABA Legal Technology Survey Report, more law firms than ever are making the move from premise-based software to cloud computing legal software. Some have already done so, and others plan to do so this year.

For starters, according to the Report, 55% of lawyers surveyed have used cloud-computing software for law-related tasks over the past year, up from 38% in 2016. Interestingly, and in keeping with last year’s trends, more lawyers may be using cloud computing than is evidenced by their self-reporting regarding cloud computing use. I suggest this because 75% of lawyers surveyed reported that they’d downloaded the Dropbox app in the past year, which would seem to indicate that a good percentage of lawyers are using a cloud computing tool – Dropbox – but may not understand that the data stored in Dropbox is, in fact, stored in the cloud.

Another trend of note from this year’s Report is that many of the lawyers who are not yet using cloud computing will likely do so in the near future. According to the Report, in 2019, a good number of law firms are planning to replace premise-based legal software with a cloud-based alternative. 10% of lawyers overall indicated that was the case (notably 43% weren’t sure what their firm’s plans were). Of the firms that planned to make this move, small law firms with 2-9 lawyers led the way at 15%. Next up was law firms with 10-49 lawyers at 14%, followed by firms with 50-99 lawyers at 13%, then firms with 100-499 lawyers at 12%, and coming in last was solos at 6%.

There were many reasons offered for switching. This isn’t surprising, since cloud computing offers law firms a host of benefits. The top reason cited was the ease of access from any location (68%), followed by 24/7 availability (59%), and the affordability and the low cost of entry (48%). Other reasons provided by the lawyers surveyed included robust data back-up and recovery (46%), the ability to get the software up and running quickly (40%), the elimination of IT and software management requirements (34%), and last but certainly not least, better security than the firms were able to provide in-office (31%).

Respondents were asked which cloud-based software providers their firms used. Of the 20 cloud-based software companies that received votes, only 9 legal software companies received a sufficient number to make the cut. Can you guess one of the companies that made the top 3? If your guess was MyCase, then you guessed right!

So if your law firm is still using premise-based legal software, what are you waiting for? Your current legal software is wasting time and money for your law firm. There’s no better time than the present to switch to cloud-based legal practice management software.

Not sure where to start? Then download our FREE guide: “The Definitive Guide to Choosing Law Practice Management Software.” And don’t forget to watch the FREE recording of one of our recent webinars, where lawyer and law practice management expert Heidi Alexander explains how to know when it’s time to move your law practice to the cloud.

Nicole Black is a Rochester, New York, attorney, author, journalist, and the Legal Technology Evangelist at MyCase, legal practice management software. She is the nationally-recognized author of “Cloud Computing for Lawyers” (2012) and co-authors “Social Media for Lawyers: The Next Frontier” (2010), both published by the American Bar Association. She also co-authors “Criminal Law in New York,” a Thomson Reuters treatise. She writes regular columns for Above the Law, ABA Journal, and The Daily Record, has authored hundreds of articles for other publications, and regularly speaks at conferences regarding the intersection of law and emerging technologies. She is an ABA Legal Rebel, and is listed on the Fastcase 50 and ABA LTRC Women in Legal Tech. She can be contacted at niki.black@mycase.com.

This article was originally posted at Mycase.com and is shared here with full permission from the author.

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