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Should I Use Cloud-Based Legal Software?

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:

  1. Lower, flatter IT costs

  2. Universal and mobile features

  3. Better data security and access control

  4. 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:

  • email management

  • automated legal forms

  • document automation

  • secure doc sharing and e-signatures

  • timekeeping

  • billing

  • online payments

  • client intake


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.

Get started with LEAP


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.