There are many reasons professional services firms are turning to the cloud—time savings, cost savings, reduced reliance on IT, and more—but one of the most prevalent reasons that they make the move is increased collaboration. Today, we will explore why this is so important, how the cloud makes this a reality, and how you can get started.
Legal services continues to evolve, and in today’s increasingly global marketplace, collaboration is more important than ever. Attorneys are more focused on specialization, firms expand beyond borders into global markets or even other states.
Knowing this, getting everyone on the same page often presents a challenge for attorneys trying to communicate across locations, time zones, or even countries using email is rarely efficient and could result in unforeseen challenges.
Specialization Creates Increased Demand for Collaboration
From BigLaw to small firms, attorneys have become more specialized in their focus than ever. Dr. Heidi K. Gardner, Distinguished Fellow on the Legal Profession at Harvard Law School noted in a 2015 National Law Review article that as client needs have become more and more sophisticated, staff has become more specialized and firms need to find a way to bring people together to serve a broad range of needs.
Collaboration has become necessary in part, because lawyers have become so specialized. With the need to stand-out as an expert in an area coupled with the incredible complexity of the modern world, those niche areas have become increasingly differentiated. However, clients are interested in answers and solutions that span across an attorney’s specific niche area, and she says, “the only way to square the circle is to get the experts to work together across disciplines.”
Gardner goes on to say that as clients work to narrow the number of external advisers they are using, collaboration is key to maintaining relationships and retaining clients. With some companies reducing the number of external law firms they use by up to 90%, collaboration may be a means to survival.
Collaboration, Yes. Increased Cost to Coordinate, No.
A client with specific needs is more than willing to pay for 15 minutes of a specialist’s time as opposed to paying three hours for an attorney who doesn’t have skills in that specific field. It’s easy to justify billing for the added value that comes with having connections—it’s not as easy to justify the increased costs to coordinate the transition.
This is why it pays to invest in software and services that facilitate collaboration. In today’s legal environment, email doesn’t cut it. As discussed in an Above the Law interview with Monica Zent of Foxwordy, things get lost when people are siloed:
“[…] if someone in a legal department is sitting down to draft a term sheet around a sensitive matter and someone else in that legal department created language that would be beneficial to use in that term sheet, discovering that would ordinarily have to happen by accident, or after sending a spam email to the entire legal department and culling through numerous responses or, if you’re lucky, trying to find it through the clunky search mechanism on your law department Wiki – if last summer’s legal intern even uploaded it to the Wiki! This is just not efficient,” explains Zent.
Bringing people together is rarely easy, but developing a technological infrastructure that brings people together is the first step to breaking down these silos.
How the Cloud Makes Law Firm Collaboration Easier
From document sharing to co-authoring, law firms are finding a home in the cloud. With a secure hosting environment, attorneys can break down silos, increase speed, share expertise, and ultimately increase client satisfaction. Documents are organized, changes are tracked, and people are always on the same version.
No more confusion on which document is the latest version, no more delays in knowing whether someone received an email, and no more file size limits.
Flywire provides you and your team the ability to access, edit, and share documents anytime from anywhere. You will be able to do more together, and do it better. Real time data allows for the highest level of collaborative visibility. In fact, collaboration is one of the top reasons companies choose Flywire. Thomas C. Ragan, Partner at Ragan and Freeman LLP had this to say about our services.
“Being able to work in the same email and document environment from any part of the world is essential to an international law practice in the 21st century. Flywire’s cloud hosting and support make seamless access possible without the concerns about outages and loss of confidentiality arising from the programs of competing services.”