02 Dec Virtual Law Firm: Practice in Place Guide
Since there is no requirement in the Model Rules that attorneys practice from a brick-and-mortar office, there have always been lawyers who worked from a virtual law office to save on overhead costs or to maintain flexibility.
Of course, the pandemic changed the way everyone works and now, more than ever, law practices are exploring ways to go fully virtual while still maintaining client confidentiality, security of electronic documents and case files, and privacy for privileged communication.
Not only are lawyers expected to stay abreast of changes to the law and its practice, but today’s attorney also needs to understand the benefits and risks of technology to the attorney-client relationship.
In its recent formal opinion, the American Bar Association addressed several virtual law practice technologies and considerations. Whether you are collecting client information or sharing large documents and files with fellow attorneys or legal assistants, a virtual law practice has unique data management challenges. This is why many law firms are turning to cloud-based solutions that are designed to deliver on security and privacy while keeping IT costs low.
How to Take Your Law Firm Virtual
When you consider your options for taking your firm online, you’ll want to consider a partner who has extensive industry knowledge and a track record of keeping critical data safe and accessible. If you rely on legacy applications, you’ll also need a cloud solution that has established relationships with independent software vendors who can get those programs operating in the cloud.
Taking your office into the cloud also provides your clients with a more integrated and accessible experience. It allows your entire organization to access needed files from home, from the car, or from the courthouse. Even if you aren’t ready to make the leap to a fully virtual office, going paperless in your law practice has significant advantages.
With the right paperless policies in place, you’ll know that onsite and offsite backups are secured and accessible should the inevitable happen and you need to be able to perform a data recovery.
Cloud Computing Services for Law Firms
To maintain the same ethics and confidentiality standards of a traditional office when attorneys and staff can access files from anywhere, it’s important to have a cloud service provider that relies on well-integrated security and multi factor authentication regardless of where employees are located and while being device agnostic. Security remains constant whether someone is logging in at the office or over a virtual private network using their tablet while working remotely.
Virtual law offices also need to know that their platforms are stable. Being able to seamlessly send, receive, and share large amounts of data and information means that teams can collaborate effectively and efficiently whether they are down the hall or around the world from one another.
But perhaps even more important is the continuity and security of virtual desktop as a service (DaaS). When the principals know that the entire workforce can work as well at home as they can in the office, it improves work life balance while never compromising on confidentiality or risking client confidence.
DaaS also provides vital support for your Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy. With a virtual desktop, client confidentiality and continuity happen whether employees are using company-owned or personal devices. And if they’re using personal devices, you have the peace of mind that data is protected because no matter the device, the system is designed to harden endpoints against breaches keeping sensitive data accessible and secure.
Six Things a DaaS Law Office Must Have
1. 24/7 data monitoring with protocols and procedures designed to spot and shore up potential weaknesses in your organization’s security before they become data breaches
2. Flexibility to respond to client, court, and staff inquiries at any time and from any location
3. Managed backups so there’s no more “what if” worries about lost data or other sensitive client files
4. Routine compliance checks to make sure your system and your staff are up to date on the latest security updates
5. Disaster recovery that gets you back up and running quickly even after a catastrophic event
6. Low total cost of ownership (TCO) plus cost effective IT support that saves money and time for your organization.
It’s understandable with all the options and considerations that most lawyers and law firms would prefer to rely on the expertise of a cloud computing partner with legal industry experience.
It can be overwhelming to figure out the full suite of applications your firm will require to improve workflows and productivity while still maintaining a high level of data security and seamless file management.
We can integrate your legacy applications with the most user-friendly cutting-edge security and file sharing programs designed to make your office run more efficiently, reduce costs and overhead, and improve client satisfaction.
If you’re ready to explore what virtual desktop, cloud-based options can do for your law firm, reach out today to get a custom quote or schedule a demo to see our services in action before you commit.