Login | October 19, 2017

Cloud essentials for lawyers, 2017 edition

Technology for Lawyers

Published: October 13, 2017

Although there is no reason to trust the security of “the cloud,” right now, small law firms likely need to use it in order to compete. So here are some essential cloud services lawyers could weave together to make a viable virtual office, courtesy of the legal tech site Attorney at Work:

Office 365. I’ve had this since it started. Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook, online and on any platform. For the price, it really can’t be beat.

Slack (www.slack.com). Seems like every group is using this app, which replaces intra-office email with a very robust client that smooths out, organizes and saves office communications. Users can create task-dedicated channels, inside of which corroborative work can take place. It creates searchable archives and is cross-platform. A similar product is HipChat (www.stride.com).

A legal practice management system. Rocket Matter (www.rocketmatter.com) is sort of the go-to app here, although there are many others. A practice management system should do what it says: Collate your entire practice, from intake, to writing and docketing, calendaring and billing.

Calendly (https://calendly.com) syncs with various parties’ office and other calendars to schedule meetings. Saves the “back and forth.” There are also other ways to do this, which I’ve written about before in this column.

Document-sharing apps like Dropbox (the original), Box, Google Drive and OneDrive are a foundational part of any cloud suite.. An essential tool for doc collaboration with external folks like clients (because your internal document collaboration should already be a part of your practice management software).

QuickBooks Online. Intuit is starting to move from desktop applications to the online world, so, if you already use QuickBooks, you should migrate over sooner rather than later. Other online bookkeeping/accounting apps include Xero (https://www.xero.com/us) and Freshbooks (https://www.freshbooks.com).

1Password. I’ve written a few times about cybersecurity but guarding passwords and creating passwords that can’t be hacked is as essential right now as air, food and water. Don’t mess around.

Cisco Umbrella is an off-site control panel for regulating what websites and other online behavior are allowable, or not, by employees or anyone with access to the system. Do this, too.

Fujitsu ScanSnap Cloud—the best, most powerful office scanner. Allows you to scan directly into any cloud app (like Dropbox). Yep.