What Law Firms Should Look for When Migrating to the Cloud
25 Apr, 2022 | IDS
Since the advent of the internet, continuing advances in technology have driven the need for change in traditional businesses.
From when email replaced the internal memo or the letter, the age of digital transformation, has seen the legal services industry embark on a journey of business-critical changes to practice management systems (PMS). The way that lawyers and legal professionals work, communicate, record billable hours, market, and manage customers, continues to evolve.
Now, law firms invest in cloud-based legal technology that allows the firm to collaborate with their employees on different tasks simultaneously and provide co-workers and clients with real-time updates.
Litigation teams are enabled to collaborate on the same case from anywhere in the world. Practices are enabled to be more agile; making it easier to find new clients who can be served remotely without any inconvenience or delay.
There is a rise in the number of law firms relying on the cloud for their data management. 96% of businesses are using cloud services with legal research reports showing 74% of law firms currently store client data in the cloud, as clients proactively ask for cloud solutions.
Moving to the cloud is like moving to a new home and law firms are required to plan and execute timely, in-budget data migrations from one practice management software to another. By doing so, this will help avoid mistakes that could lead to costly compliance issues and reputational damage for the firm.
A business-cloud data strategy has many benefits. It allows a comprehensive approach that helps firms evaluate and optimize their operations across the practice. A PMS migration is an investment in future-proofing a law firm.
It is essential that firms identify pain points and operational gaps, which an upgraded PMS would resolve including:
Many law firms battle with revenue models, which drives them to find new, more efficient ways of making money.
The model for servicing clients may require modernization for a firm to remain relevant and competitive. As client demands grow, the requirement for communication has become more intense to the extent that it has become instant. It is only technology that can enable firms to meet the increasing demand for speed, in a flexible, efficient, and cost-effective manner.
Law firms thrive on their level of productivity and hours billed. Since the advent of the BlackBerry, technology has continued to deliver progressively more sophisticated solutions to maintain the levels of output per employee.
Choosing a Software Provider
As part of any cloud migration strategy, selecting the right PMS for your law firm to migrate to should involve what needs to change, and what needs to stay the same, when adopting the new system.
Factors to consider in selecting the best software provider can include:
How PMS data is accessed and where it is stored
The tools/pricing terms needed to utilize the full functionality of the new system
Whether the PMS follows a safe route to ensure compliance
Examining the existing tech stack and what tools the PMS can be integrated with
Whether a pilot or POC of the PMS by team members is available.
Choosing a software provider is a difficult decision. You need to consider if the provider has all the necessary criteria for your new PMS software. If you have any doubts, it’s best to consult with an expert in legal tech.
Don't Underestimate Data Migration
A lack of planning and underestimation of the size of data migrations can result in the risk of long-term damage after the process is complete.
Data migration is a critical step in a successful cloud migration strategy. PMS migration is a complex process that requires a lot of resources.
It’s therefore critical to allocate the appropriate time and resources for data migration to avoid a messy transition. PMS migration objectives must be communicated clearly with all parties involved, as well as the timeline for completion.
Data quality management is also often, an overseen practice when migrating to a new PMS. Data cleaning exercises are recommended to be executed before migration to avoid insufficient data to exist in the new system.
If not, then it will be difficult to allocate resources and clean up dirty data that may have been left behind by previous software versions and users.
Ensuring Compliance with Technology
As cloud-based legal tech advances, data security becomes one of the key worries when migrating from different geographic locations of data and complying with associated jurisdictions.
Law firms are not immune to this problem. In fact, they’re one of the most targeted industries when it comes to cyberattacks.
“a lawyer shall make reasonable efforts to prevent the inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure of, or unauthorized access to, information relating to the representation of a client.”
Regulations like these emphasize why legal practices must be compliant during complex PMS migrations. Client data and information must only be accessed by those with proper authorization. Sensitive data can also be effectively safeguarded by following data quality management techniques like data obfuscation and synthesis to ensure compliant handling of client data during PMS migration.
This avoids risks of legal practices experiencing data breaches and reputation damage in the short-term.
Firms' Reliance on Legal Tech
Many firms have already begun to use the cloud with hosted email, PMS, and document management systems (DMS). Practices should now recognize the suite of cost-saving benefits a cloud-based PMS offers.
Post-migration, law firms can enjoy advantages of accessing data from various devices, scale their storage space, and collaborate internally and externally with customizable features.
Depending on the software being relied upon, many PMS solutions have upkeep and maintenance services included in their price offerings.
The success of any migration is dependent on data quality. A law firm’s PMS is its most critical asset, and it must host good quality data, with a single point of truth to stay competitive.
With all this to consider, as well as the day-to-day management of the practice, migrating PMS to the cloud can be a daunting task.
IDS have helped over 150 organizations make these transitions as part of their digital transformation, using our end-to-end data quality assurance methodology, Kovenant™.
Get in touch and our consultants will work with your firm to design a data governance program, cloud migration strategy and solution that meets your specific needs and budget.