By Ryan Groff, Practice Management and Product Advisor
Should I use cloud legal software?
The short answer is yes. Law firms prefer cloud legal software, case management software, or practice management software because it is better than on-premise software.
What is on-premise software?
The alternative to cloud legal software is software running on a physical server box sitting at your law firm. This is often called “on-premise” software. On-premise software requires lawyers and their paid IT professionals to ensure:
a safe environment where the server box sits
hardware is current for adequate speeds and storage
operating system software and security patches are updated
24/7 backups are available for immediate restoration
the current version of the actual legal software is up-to-date
Prior to the internet, law firms were accustomed to being responsible for this kind of data maintenance. We expect more from software products today. Now, we expect that products include data maintenance.
LEAP’s true cloud legal software provides what on-premise case management or practice management cannot:
Lower, flatter IT costs
Universal and mobile features
Better data security and access control
Sustainable foundation for growth
1. Lower, flatter IT costs
On-premise software costs less upfront because you get less.
On-premise legal software requires law firms to maintain their data, whereas cloud-based legal software products include built-in data maintenance. For this reason, cloud-based legal software per person pricing is not comparable to the annual contracts for on-premise software. Calculating the total cost of on-premise software must include the:
Cost of IT contracts to maintain server hardware and software
Cost of server hardware and software replacement every few years
Cost of annual access to the actual legal software
Obviously, on-premise software costs will not be static. Expenses will balloon when firms need new server hardware and software. Depending on your IT provider, these updates often exceed $10,000.
Cloud-based legal software per person pricing remains constant for simpler budget planning. Once all of these extra costs are considered, choosing cloud-based legal software means lower, flatter IT costs.
2. Universal and mobile features
On-premise software does not include data maintenance, but it also lacks other features lawyers and paralegals need and buy separately.
For instance, after buying on-premise practice management or case management software—and IT maintenance contracts—law firms often buy products or integrations for the following:
automated legal forms
secure doc sharing and e-signatures
Good cloud legal software products include these features as part of one, simple per person price. For example, LEAP:
Integrates with Microsoft Outlook, Word, Teams, and Zoom
Includes free, secure doc sharing with LawConnect
Offers built-in e-signature processing and InfoTrack integrations
Maintains a growing library of thousands of automated legal forms
Provides built-in document automation for firm templates
Includes free timekeeping and legal billing software integrated with QuickBooks Online
Includes flexible, client-focused online payments through RapidPay powered by LawPay
LEAP is also mobile so lawyers and paralegals can access LEAP from:
Desktop and laptop computers
Web browsers anywhere with an internet connection
Free Android, iPhone, and iPad mobile apps
Amazon Alexa and Apple Watch
In addition to decreasing and flattening IT costs, good cloud legal software like LEAP becomes even less expensive than on-premise software after considering these included features.
3. Better data security and access control
Lawyers do not want the burden of data maintenance, but they need data security and access control. Cloud-based legal software like LEAP includes all three.
LEAP is powered by Amazon Web Services (AWS), a global leader in data security, because AWS focuses on data maintenance and security. Lawyers know the law, LEAP knows practice management, and AWS knows data security. Commercial landlords and local IT providers cannot compete with this kind of world-class security from AWS with 99.99% uptime.
Access control is also easier with LEAP’s cloud-based legal software because lawyers, paralegals, legal assistants, and other law firm professionals use one login for everything they do, from online intake, scheduling, and document management to billing and online payments. You have complete control over who has access to case files and for how long.
Onboarding, ethical screening, and termination can be managed from anywhere with an internet connection. This means your clients’ important information is available to everyone who needs it, and nobody else.
In this way, LEAP provides everything law firms need to connect with clients online from anywhere.
4. Sustainable foundation for growth
There are lots of decisions to make as businesses grow. There are more with on-premise software.
Negotiating revised IT contracts to cover increased maintenance costs
New servers with more storage for more data
Larger, physical space to store and secure servers
Growing with cloud-based legal software is as simple as adding another user account. LEAP’s price per user per month includes data maintenance and security, unlimited storage, and LEAP never takes up any more physical space than the computer or mobile device a lawyer or paralegal uses to login.
LEAP’s cloud-based legal software makes legal case management or practice management easier because lawyers aren’t maintaining their IT systems and they have one comprehensive product for working with clients digitally.
PCLaw | Time Matters LLC is a joint venture of LEAP and LexisNexis. LEAP is the largest global provider of cloud legal software solutions. Learn more about the joint venture and making the switch from PCLaw & Time Matters to LEAP at leap.us/joint-venture.