3 Resolutions All Law Firms Should Make in 2019

Another New Year is upon us! ‘Tis the season for law firms to take stock of the past year’s successes and shortcomings and make goals for the upcoming year.

It used to be that preparing a law firm for a new year mainly meant staying the course and constructing growth goals. While growth is something that most law firms want to happen in 2019, there’s now more that goes into making a robust and agile law firm.

Get up-to-date on technology

If your law firm is still going about the business of law the old-fashioned way, it is going to be left behind. Technology has helped to even the playing field for law firms. Now, with technology’s help, smaller firms can take on more complex clients. And, larger firms can provide more efficient, more accurate service.

Automation and management

With a wide array of legal applications, law firms can streamline management and administration. For example, practice management software, such as Amicus Attorney® or Time Matters®, allows administrators to track and manage schedules and records. Document management software, such as Worldox®, takes organization and productivity a step further.

Time and billing software simplifies the invoicing process, increases accuracy, and frees up valuable attorney time. And, legal document generation automation software, such as Hot Docs® and ProDoc®, prevents attorneys from re-inventing the wheel every time they create a transactional document.

Using this kind of technology releases legal minds from the tyranny of busy work. It also allows management to manage instead of worrying about the little things.

Flexibility and reliability

By now, most law firm management has heard about using the advantages of using a cloud environment. One benefit is that attorneys and employees can access their workspaces from their Smartphones, tablets, laptops – practically any device that can connect to the internet. And, downtime is a thing of the past: Cloud environments like Legal Workspace use top notch technology and talent to provide clients with reliable, seamless service.

And, all of the above mentioned legal applications are compatible with Legal Workspace – which means that you can either do a complete technological overhaul when you make the switch to the cloud, or, you can work with Legal Workspace to integrate your current software with its environment.

Secure your data

Hackers have New Year’s resolutions, too: to work continuously and find new ways to penetrate defenses and steal data. Clients are becoming increasingly aware of the dangers and have higher expectations for data protection. And, of course, large clients and clients in certain industries (such as those associated with medical records) have high security standards (such as HIPAA) that need to be met.

Legal Workspace was created solely for law firms, so security is paramount. The Legal Workspace cloud environment utilizes military-grade security, which means that your clients’ data is much safer than it would be if you were to attempt to build your own secure environment. Not only that, but if a client does have a particular security request, Legal Workspace can adapt its environment to meet its needs.

Prep for disaster

No one likes to think that a natural disaster might occur that could wipe out their law firm’s records. Fire, flood, and tornadoes are just a few examples of challenges that could interrupt business and cause irreparable damage to a law firm.

When you have your data and workspace housed in a cloud environment (and that data is stored redundantly in multiple geographic locations and regularly backed up), that’s it: You’re prepared for disaster. Your data will still be accessible in the cloud no matter what might happen on the ground.

These three ways to prepare your law firm for 2019 can be accomplished easily by making one decision: to move to a cloud environment. Make this year the year that technology and data stop causing challenges in your law firm.

Future-Proof Your Law Firm

Use the Cloud to Keep Up with the Pace of Technology

It’s no secret; technology has accelerated the pace of change – in work and in life. There are a few ways that your law firm can go about adapting to these changes.

You could:

1. Bury your head in the sand and insist on the traditional ways of doing things.

2. Throw money at the problem, amassing all the new software and gadgets available and hiring experts to teach you how to use everything.

3. Make a simple change to the way you do work and handle your data.

Of course, the third option is making the change over to using a cloud environment, such as Legal Workspace. Using the cloud is an easy way to set up your firm for any future tech innovations, in addition to the other advantages it promises, like security and flexibility.

Why the cloud allows for rapid change

When a law firm operates from on-site servers, it lacks the kind of agility that using a cloud environment can provide. For example, what would happen if your biggest client suddenly placed regulations on your firm? How would you go about making sure you could meet those requirements? How much time, effort, and money would it take to give them what they wanted?

And if you were able to pull it off, would the client still be there, waiting for you to bring your security to their level?

Taking advantage of law firm cloud services removes that worry. Legal Workspace, because it was created specifically for law firms, utilizes military-grade security for all of its clients and can accommodate special requests from firms who use its services. HIPAA compliance obligations and any other high-level security requirements can be quickly applied to ensure that your clients’ data is protected.

That kind of behind-the-scenes agility is important because it also allows you to make changes to the way you do business. For example, if you’re not already taking advantage of legal document generation automation to streamline your attorneys’ workloads, you can select one of the applications that is compatible with Legal Workspace, work with its team of experts to customize the program to your preferences, and increase your efficiency.

Beyond that, the simple fact is that workplace culture is changing. Many attorneys are putting in the same number – or even more – hours than they ever did before, but they’re not necessarily doing it from the office. A cloud work environment, like Legal Workspace, allows attorneys to access their workspace from anywhere, on any device, at any time. If an attorney has a big realization while watching their kid’s soccer game, they can grab their smartphone and get moving.

The future is in the cloud

When you migrate to the cloud, a big chunk of worry falls away. No fretting about your data security’s adequacy. No concern about making the right software and application choices. No restrictions for your attorneys with regard to when and where they choose to work.

Now, which of these three options sounds like the best strategy:

1. Stick to tradition and hope your firm remains viable?

2. Throw money at the problem and try to do it yourself?

3. Or, lean on experts to take care of your technology issues by using a cloud environment?

Security With Zero Effort

Security With Zero Effort

Do you know that October is cybersecurity awareness month? More importantly, do you know what you need to do in order to keep your data secure? Or, are you aware of what you need to do…except sometimes tasks (like regular back-ups) fall through the cracks?

Maybe your IT person or department is responsible for security, but you’re not really sure what that entails – which could mean that you’re not really sure if the efforts your law firm makes toward securing its data are effective.

It makes sense that managing partners of law firms would want to concentrate on the business of law rather than spend precious time attempting to grasp the intricacies of cybersecurity. But, managing partners also understand how important it is to secure their firms’ data.

So, how does a savvy law firm strike a balance: not wasting time (and money) on something better left to experts, but ensuring that its data is completely secure?

There is a way for law firms to benefit from military-grade cybersecurity without the hassles that accompany elite in-house security. No personnel management. No constant upgrades, patches, or maintenance. No unexpected expenses, such as the sky-high cost of replacing a server. No downtime. No cumbersome back-ups. Just peace of mind.

When a law firm opts to work with a cloud environment, such as Legal Workspace, security stops being an issue that anyone in the firm needs to consider.

No more worries, just security

Law firms can be lucrative targets because they store privileged information that hackers can use in unintended ways. If your law firm’s cybersecurity isn’t up to snuff, it could mean that you are at risk. Having holes in your cybersecurity could be considered the equivalent of leaving privileged information out in the open for anyone to take and use.

And, if a law firm’s technology isn’t up-to-date and fully operational, that means a different sort of problem. What would happen if your server failed? How much time – and how much data – would you lose?

When you work within a cloud environment specially designed for law firms, you don’t have to worry about any of those issues any longer. With geographically redundant data centers, such as those used by Legal Workspace, your data is safer in the cloud than it could ever be in an on-site server. Access to those data center servers is limited, and staff is always on-hand to monitor for and prevent problems – and to react should anything unexpected occur.

Advanced data encryption, firewalls with a sophisticated detection system, and automatic back-ups secure your data so well that passing compliance standards, such as HIPAA and PCI, is just a regular part of what Legal Workspace does.

What to do instead

If you make the switch to the cloud and your security worries disappear, your attorneys and employees can spend more time on revenue-generating activities. And, if you have an IT person on staff, he or she doesn’t need to spend the day running from place to place, troubleshooting and patching up problems. Instead, that person can concentrate on strategy: discovering and implementing new technology that will save your law firm time and money.

As for law firm management? Well, you can just sleep better at night, knowing that your data is secure, and your clients are happy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who Wants Budget Stability? A New Year, Better Predictability

The year’s end is a time for reflection and projection. You look back at what happened over the past year, and you think about what the future holds. Some of this process is subjective, and some of it is speculation – but some of it is hard numbers.

Take your law firm’s budget, for example.

How was your IT spending in 2017? Did you stay within the parameters, or did you experience any major technological fall-out that caused you to dip into another line item?

What about next year? How’s your server holding up? Will this be the year be the one that results in multiple repair bills or the cost of a replacement server (and the associated migration costs)?

Good news: There is a way that you can stabilize your law firm’s IT budget for 2018. Migrate to a cloud environment, such as Legal Workspace, and you will experience predictable monthly costs instead of highly variable IT repair and maintenance bills.

Consistent bills, consistent budget

Because a cloud environment like Legal Workspace is constantly upgrading its software, servers, and security, those costs to your law firm – and that worry – can just disappear.

The responsibility is on Legal Workspace’s shoulders, not yours. No longer will you have to pay for upgrades. You won’t have to stretch a dying server’s viability until its last gasp. Instead, your data will be stored on up-to-date, state-of-the-art equipment.

You’ll simply pay for a predictable, unchanging monthly bill. Now that’s easy to budget.

Quicker client payments

Not only will you be able to stabilize your law firm’s IT budget, but you can utilize Legal Workspace’s tools to get paid faster, too.

Administrators can spend hours reviewing invoices. They might allocate a significant portion of their day to sharing invoicing information with attorneys – and attorneys might be wasting their time on clunky timekeeping and pre-billing. The Legal Workspace team can work with law firms to determine the best technology and processes for streamlining billing.

Working with Legal Workspace on this issue results in faster payment. As Diane Kuhre, firm finance manager for Davis Schilken, PC, puts it, “Since I can complete monthly billing in half the time, invoices get out the door in two days. The firm gets paid much more quickly now.”

 

All-in-one solution

Other headaches can fall by the wayside, too, when you start to use a cloud environment. Constantly adjusting to hackers’ increasingly adept and creative ways to penetrate law firms’ shields is a major annoyance – and it takes significant expertise (not to mention serious dollars) to protect your firm’s data adequately.

That’s one of the many reasons so many law firms now take advantage of a cloud environment for data storage. Law firms no longer need to worry about security updates or maintaining back-ups; it is all taken care of for you.l

Adopting the use of a cloud environment like Legal Workspace results in many benefits – not least a healthier bottom line. Just one simple decision can stabilize your IT budget, take away headaches about security and back-ups, and get your law firm paid more quickly.

Server or Cloud? A law firm deliberates

We get many calls every week from law firms that are debating between the cloud and maintaining local IT resources. Yesterday, we received a call that a law firm is losing productivity because of unexpected server downtime. Concerns about data loss overwhelm the managing partners. What if the server fails?

The law firm is being proactive and looking into solutions. One option is working with their IT vendor, which wants to upgrade their server hardware. But the estimate for that project is prohibitive: $15,000 for server hardware and 40 hours of work at $175 ($7,000). On top of that, they can expect the usual costs for network upkeep that come from quarterly updates, 6 hours of work every quarter ($4,200 annually), and monthly maintenance, four hours of work each month ($8,400 annually).

The managing partners wonder: What if there’s another way to protect our data and reliably keep our firm up and running? Is there a more sustainable option to stabilize costs and eliminate downtime?

There is.

It’s the cloud.

An instant productivity boost

The law firm has an IT administrator on staff who deals with server downtime and other day-to-day tech issues. From his arrival to his departure at the office, he spends every day running around troubleshooting. What would his day look like without the hassle of damage control? He could spend his time evaluating new technology, customizing legal applications, and training new employees — all in the service of maximizing billable hours.

Other, smaller firms have a slightly different IT problem: Attorneys and staff members have to figure out what to do when technology fails. Imagine that problem disappearing. They could get back to focusing on revenue-generating activities.

Were the law firm to migrate to a cloud environment, such as Legal Workspace, the IT administrator, attorneys, and staff members could reclaim their time. Legal Workspace’s data centers have a history of more than 14 years of 100% continuous uptime.

Wasted time eliminated.

More than convenience: Safety

That concern the managing partners have about data loss if the server fails? It’s a real problem that could occur whenever you use an onsite server. Cloud solutions such as Legal Workspace have geographically redundant data centers that render data safer in the cloud than it could ever be on an onsite server. Here’s a video that illustrates the difference between server and cloud security. Legal Workspace has advanced security measures in place, such as:

• Limited physical access to servers
• Staff that’s available to react if a problem occurs
• Firewalls with sophisticated detection system
• Advanced data encryption

Using a solution like Legal Workspace also allows law firms to provide the tightest security available to their clients. For example, a firm that works with healthcare providers will need to be HIPAA compliant. Legal Workspace has a HIPAA-compliant version of its cloud environment and will even sign a business associate agreement. Other special security mandates from financial institutions and government contractors are easy for a solution such as Legal Workspace to meet and exceed.

Security concerns eliminated.

What choice would you make?

What choice do you think the law firm made? Did they plunk down $21,000+ and upgrade their onsite server, or did they jump at the chance to advance both productivity and security by switching to a cloud environment? Did they decide to eliminate downtime and stabilize costs?

The choice seems pretty clear.

Q1 Newsletter: The Latest from Your Law Office in the Cloud

IN THIS ISSUE

Spring Referral Deal

 

Do you know a firm that could use Legal Workspace? If you refer a law firm to Legal Workspace we’ll send you a $100 visa gift card.

Send your referrals to info@legal-workspace.com.

Offer ends June 1, 2017.


2 Easy Ways Legal Workspace Helps Users Tighten Security

 

Law firms have an obligation to keep client data secure. As hacking becomes an ever-increasing threat to businesses of all sizes—especially those that store and transmit sensitive data—two options, Two-factor Authentication and Email Encryption, can help put up barriers.

Read the article >>


10 Tips To Streamline Case Management Software

 

Practice and Case Management applications empower attorneys to streamline their law firms. Over time, the databases need to be cleaned-up to preserve data integrity and accuracy. Here are 10 tips to keep your practice management database trim, relevant, and running at optimal speed.

Read the article >>

Feel free to reach out to our legal applications team to learn more about customizing, automating, or upgrading your applications.


Support Whenever You Need It!

 

Legal Workspace’s helpdesk is monitored by experienced engineers capable of resolving desktop, practice management, legal applications, or workstation problems quickly and efficiently.  Our staff will troubleshoot your problem using the latest remote support tools and escalate the call, if necessary, to a specialist to resolve critical issues.

Monday – Friday 7AM – 6PM (MST)     Call (877) 713-8302, option #2

Should you have an after-hours emergency, please call the support line and a member of our technical staff will return your call within one hour.  Please note that after-hours labor rates and minimums apply. (877) 713-8302 | helpdesk@legal-workspace.com


Make Legal Workspace Better

 

If you see opportunities for improvement in either the service we deliver or product enhancements we are always here to listen. Email your feedback to feedback@legal-workspace.com.

Win Outside Counsel for an Insurance Giant

Winning Large Clients

When your firm handles insurance defense, you receive, send, and store highly sensitive materials. Wise law firms understand that security and compliance are critical because of the growing threat to cybersecurity. Without the proper safeguards in place, you put clients’ information at risk and jeopardize your reputation. And large insurance companies simply won’t hire you if you don’t apply the right controls and protocols to keep their data safe.

They’re right to be cautious: 80% of the largest 100 law firms have been hacked since 2011, according to the American Bar Association in 2015. Law firms are a prime target for hackers because they store large amounts of high-value, confidential data. In The Security Vulnerabilities Law Firm Hacks Create for Corporations,” which appeared in Inside Counsel in June of this year, Amanda Ciccatelli writes, “IT capability is often viewed as an administrative function, not an integrated business capability, and as a result, information security has suffered.”

The rewards of working with large corporate clients are sizeable. To get your foot in the door, you need to be aware of vulnerabilities, be able to bolster security, and meet insurance companies’ compliance requirements.

What You Can Do to Win Outside Counsel

There are ways to determine what holes you have in your security controls and how to patch them. You should, for example:

Protect and back up data and plan for recovery.

Data encryption, dual-authentication, administrative policies, firewalls, and intrusion detection systems can help protect data. Secure off-site back-ups are another key component to data security. If a breach still occurs, know how you’ll respond—and how quickly you can be back up and running. The American Bar Association article, Facing the Cybersecurity Threat to Your Firm, experts say that “[a]dvance planning is critical for effectively responding to a data breach, and that includes an incident response plan.”

Perform a tech review and assessment.

Since new cyberthreats emerge regularly, you should routinely assess and patch your vulnerabilities. Pay attention to audit logs, so you know who accesses what files and can see if something unusual happens.

Understand what devices attorneys and other staff use to work.

Are they using their personal Smartphones and laptops to work outside the office? Are they carrying client information on flash drives? What kinds of safeguards are in place on those devices?

Control access to information.

If an attorney isn’t working on a particular case, there’s no reason for him/her to have access to it. This precaution isn’t about attorney ethics—client confidentiality is paramount to lawyers. Rather, it’s about decreasing the number of ways that hackers can access information. Train employees and attorneys to follow security protocols. As Chris Pogue, CISO of Nuix Solutions writes, “Protecting your information is a battle that is fought by every member of your organization, from the most senior partner to the newest intern, who has access to any data of value.”

These recommendations can be used by law firms looking to increase security in order to be more attractive to any large corporation, but there are also “insurance-specific uses of technology, internal and external research capabilities, and client support databases that should be a part of a law firm’s technology resources,” according to an article written by Bob Dolinsky, CIO of Sutherland Asbill & Brennan.

Crafting a strategy and executing its steps may seem like expensive, time-consuming, and technical work. But it all depends on the avenue you take. Working with an IT firm on a project like this can end up costing tens of thousands of dollars, and the process can last months.

Faster and Less Expensive Solution

Legal Workspace can take a project like this off your hands and deliver it more quickly than you might expect. Depending on the size of your firm, it could take only a week for Legal Workspace to perform a cybersecurity audit and apply the appropriate controls for compliance with large insurance companies’ standards and with government regulations.

And, if you’re considering getting into the insurance defense game, but you’re concerned about the upfront costs of upgrading your IT to handle compliance requirements, Legal Workspace’s fees are only a fraction of the cost of working with an IT firm.

The other upshot of selecting Legal Workspace to help you get compliant is that as new threats emerge and security standards evolve, you don’t need to worry about shelling out more money: Maintenance and updates are automatically included.

There are usually a lot of hurdles a law firm has to jump in order to win the business of a large insurance company. The security and compliance hurdle doesn’t have to be the most difficult and expensive one to clear.

 

 

2 Easy Ways to Tighten Security

Law firms have an obligation to keep client data secure. As hacking becomes an ever-increasing threat to businesses of all sizes—especially those that store and transmit sensitive data—two options, Two-factor Authentication and Email Encryption, can help put up barriers.

Two-factor Authentication (2FA): What is it?

2FA simply verifies a user’s identity a second time to make sure that the person making the request to enter a system is the actual user.

Often, it works in such a way that you enter your log-in credentials as usual, then the system sends a code to your cell phone that you enter to verify your identity a second time before you can access the system.

2FA is quickly becoming more prevalent in the business world. Some companies that currently use it include Google, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, Paypal, and Citibank. Many colleges and universities, including Penn State and the University of Chicago, are also adapting their systems to incorporate 2FA. Because these organizations understand that the data they house is precious to their users, they know that extra security is necessary to protect that data. It’s only a matter of time before 2FA becomes the standard.

What advantages does 2FA offer?

It can be frustrating to come up with a unique password for every single account—and that means that many people duplicate passwords across accounts or use simple and easy-to-remember passwords and passphrases. That may make it more convenient for the user—but it makes hacking more convenient, as well.

Even a strong password might not be enough because hackers sometimes use tools that repeatedly guess passwords. Such a tool was used to hack Apple’s iCloud in 2015 [link to: http://www.businessinsider.com/icloud-hack-idict-patched-by-apple-2015-1]; many high-profile users were affected. One way Apple responded was by improving 2FA.

Whether users employ weak log-in credentials, their information gets stolen, or they repeat passwords across accounts, 2FA adds an extra layer of protection that protects law firms’ data.

How does 2FA work?

Legal Workspace offers 2FA as one of the many security options so its clients can experience greater peace of mind around data security. When a Legal Workspace user logs in, he or she can automatically receive a one-time code on his or her Smartphone app. Then the user enters the code in the Legal Workspace environment and gains access to their workspace. The whole process takes five seconds or less.

Most users find the process painless, but if any issues arise, Legal Workspace offers complimentary technical support for assistance.

Email Encryption: What is it?

Email encryption protects content from being accessed and read by unauthorized parties. When an attorney sends a sensitive document to a client, he or she probably assumes that no one but the client will be able to see it. However, most email can easily be accessed by hackers determined to get the information, and the device where email is retrieved and stored—whether that’s a laptop or a Smartphone—is also at risk.

What advantages does Email Encryption offer?

Attorneys know it’s their duty to perform due diligence to protect client privilege. Sending unencrypted documents puts client data at risk—especially since email is one of the most vulnerable and targeted areas for anyone.

When a user opts to send encrypted email, the sent document is never stored on that user’s email server or computer. That means that the information is safe in the event of a computer or email server hack. It also protects information in case laptops or other devices are stolen or lost.

How does Email Encryption work?

Legal Workspace uses a system that works as follows: An attorney who is sending something to a client types the word “encrypt” in the subject line. Instead of the email server sending the email to the other party directly, it instead sends a link that informs the client that he or she has been sent an encrypted email. The client clicks the link, goes to the website, and can access or download the sensitive document from the website, bypassing the email system completely so the files are never stored on the recipient’s email server.

2FA and Email Encryption considerably help law firms battle ever-increasing threats to security. It’s no longer enough to cross your fingers and hope that hackers won’t attack your firm. If you store and transmit sensitive information, you are at risk. These two offerings mitigate that risk by giving you extra layers of protection.

Work Smarter, Not Harder: June 2016 Newsletter

IN THIS ISSUE

Work smarter, not harder

 

Christine Anderson recently joined Legal Workspace as our Legal App Specialist. Christine has over a decade of experience optimizing efficiency and profitability for legal firms. While she is familiar with most legal software apps she is particularly well-versed in PC Law, TimeMatters, Juris, ProLaw, Bill for Time, and QuickBooks.

Whether you’re looking to streamline accounting or improve productivity, there’s an app for that.

Looking for a better way to streamline case management?

  • Christine recommends Amicus for smaller firms and TimeMatters for larger firms. Both programs offer comprehensive, efficient case management to help you stay ahead of the workflow.

Do you need a billing system that also handles full accounting and financial reporting?

  • Christine recommends PCLaw or Tabs3 for smaller law firms and Juris for larger firms. With fully integrated time entry, billing, payables, receivables, and management reports, both of these will help you capture more hours, maximize revenue, and control costs.

Looking for an all-in-one solution for billing, accounting, and case management?

  • Christine recommends ProLaw, a fully integrated, robust, highly customizable system that allows front and back office to share the same client and case data.

If you’re interested in learning more about how legal applications can support your firm, please reach out to Christine at CAnderson@Legal-Workspace.com.


Legal Workspace Featured in Westlaw

 

Westlaw is an online legal research service for law related materials and services. Legal Workspace CEO Joe Kelly’s article about data ownership was selected for inclusion in the Westlaw database. The article highlights data-ownership rights in the cloud. With free and low-cost cloud storage services, lawyers might not even own their intellectual property after they upload it to the cloud. As tempting as iCloud, Google Drive, Dropbox, or other sites may be, lawyers need to do their research first before uploading.
Read the article >>


Client Spotlight

 

Has Legal Workspace helped your practice? We want to hear all about it.
We’re looking for clients who can answer a few short questions about how the cloud has helped their firm.
The answers will be turned into a case study and will position you and your firm as technology leaders and illustrate how Legal Workspace helps support your firm. Email TStork@Legal-Workspace.com to learn more and get started!


Support Whenever You Need It!

 

Legal Workspace’s helpdesk is monitored by experienced engineers capable of resolving desktop and workstation problems quickly and efficiently. Our staff will troubleshoot your problem using the latest remote support tools and escalate the call, if necessary, to a specialist to resolve critical issues.

Monday – Friday 7AM – 6PM (MST) Call (877) 713-8302, option #2

Should you have an after-hours emergency, please call the support line and a member of our technical staff will return your call within one hour. Please note that after-hours labor rates and minimums apply. (877) 713-8302 | helpdesk@legal-workspace.com


Make Legal Workspace Better

If you see opportunities for improvement in either the service we deliver or product enhancements we are always here to listen. Email your feedback to feedback@legal-workspace.com

Referral Special

Refer a firm or 2 or 3…Do you know a law firm that needs Legal Workspace? When you refer a friend or collage to Legal Workspace we will help them succeed and you will get a free month of service! Send your referrals via email to feedback@legal-workspace.com