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When to Move Your Practice to the Cloud

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When to Move Your Practice to the Cloud

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Whether you’ve been worn down by attrition or are making a conscientious effort to modernize your firm, get ready to wipe away any lingering reluctance in moving your practice to the cloud.

Whether you’ve been worn down by attrition or are making a conscientious effort to modernize your firm, get ready to wipe away any lingering reluctance in moving your practice to the cloud.


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When to Move Your Practice to the Cloud

  1. 1. 1 2017 © AppFolio, Inc. Confidential. Signposts of Antiquity: When to Move Your Practice to the Cloud #2018cloudpractice
  2. 2. 3
  3. 3. 4
  4. 4. 5 2017 © AppFolio, Inc. Confidential. HeidiAlexander, Esq.  Deputy Director, Lawyers Concerned for Lawyer  Specialist in law practice management, technology, and productivity  Author, Evernote as a Law Practice Tool (ABA LP Publication)  Former practicing attorney and small business owner
  5. 5. 6 2017 © AppFolio, Inc. Confidential.
  6. 6. 7 2017 © AppFolio, Inc. Confidential.
  7. 7. 8 2017 © AppFolio, Inc. Confidential.
  8. 8. 9 2017 © AppFolio, Inc. Confidential.
  9. 9. 10 2017 © AppFolio, Inc. Confidential.
  10. 10. 11 2017 © AppFolio, Inc. Confidential. 2016 ABA Legal Tech Survey
  11. 11. 12 2017 © AppFolio, Inc. Confidential.
  12. 12. 13 2017 © AppFolio, Inc. Confidential. Naysayers Top 10 List • Confidentiality / security concerns • Less control of data • Unfamiliar with technology • Concerns re access to or ownership of data • Cost of switching to cloud • Cost of services • Preference for owning v subscription • Belief that non-cloud software is sufficient • Lack of ethical guidance • Uncertainty over longevity of vendor
  13. 13. 14 2017 © AppFolio, Inc. Confidential.
  14. 14. 15 2017 © AppFolio, Inc. Confidential. To the naysayers . . .
  15. 15. 16 2017 © AppFolio, Inc. Confidential. Cost • Lower upfront costs decrease barrier to entry • Predictable monthly expense • Avoids IT and software management costs • More versatile • Shared servers reduce costs
  16. 16. 17 2017 © AppFolio, Inc. Confidential. Data Access, Control, Availability • 24 x 7 access and availability of data • Backup and geographic redundancy • Reliance on terms of service • Separation of data from other providers • Improved collaboration
  17. 17. 18 2017 © AppFolio, Inc. Confidential. Confidentiality & Security • Do you keep all your money in a bank vault or in your dresser drawer? • Highly sophisticated and talented security specialists • Thorough and frequent auditing • “None of the most catastrophic hacks have been on the big public clouds [Amazon, Google, Microsoft]” – NYTimes
  18. 18. 19 2017 © AppFolio, Inc. Confidential. Professional Responsibility • ABA Model Rule 1.1 Comment 8 • Nearly half of all state bars have authorized use of the cloud • Must take reasonable precautions • If it is safer, improves client service, and boosts productivity, what does that say about your professional responsibility?
  19. 19. 20 2017 © AppFolio, Inc. Confidential. Moving to the Cloud Successfully!
  20. 20. 21 2017 © AppFolio, Inc. Confidential. Systems Inventory • File Storage • Matter Management • Financial Management • Administration
  21. 21. 22 2017 © AppFolio, Inc. Confidential. Research and Due Diligence • What needs are met? • Does this this product integrate with others? • Is it a legal-specific product? • What is the company’s reputation and history? • Does it encrypt “at-rest” and “in-transit”? • Does it explicitly give unfettered access to and ownership of your data? • Where are its servers located? • Does it conduct regular and redundant backups?
  22. 22. 23 2017 © AppFolio, Inc. Confidential. Plan
  23. 23. 24 2017 © AppFolio, Inc. Confidential. Project Management 101 • Establish working group with project lead • Distil complex tasks into discrete actions • Prioritize and clarify tasks • Assign due dates • Delegate tasks and communicate expectations • Follow through on commitments • Measure progress
  24. 24. 25 2017 © AppFolio, Inc. Confidential. Security
  25. 25. 26 2017 © AppFolio, Inc. Confidential.
  26. 26. 27 2017 © AppFolio, Inc. Confidential.
  27. 27. 28 2017 © AppFolio, Inc. Confidential.
  28. 28. 29 2017 © AppFolio, Inc. Confidential. Thankyou! Heidi Alexander Heidi@masslomap.org @heidialexander
  29. 29. 30 2017 © AppFolio, Inc. Confidential. Questions? Contact Us! mycase.com support@mycase.com 800.571.8062

Notas do Editor

  • Growing
    38% in 2016

    ILTA 2017 Tech Survey
    77% of firms with 700 or more attorneys indicated increased cloud tech adoption for 2018

    2017 ABA Legal Tech Survey
    Firms 100 to 499 attorneys - 75% have web portals, 51% encrypt emails, 60% encrypt files
    Solo firms – 12% have web portals, 24% encrypt emails, 37% encrypt files
    2 – 9 attys – 26% have web portals, 31% encrypt emails, 35% encrypt files

    BTW – generally 90% of large businesses use the cloud; 52% of small businesses use cloud for storage

  • Versatile – can’t get back the thousands of dollars you spent on the server


  • When data is stored off-site in the Cloud, employees, vendors and visitors are physically separated from a company’s mission-critical data.
    This lack of physical access makes it more difficult for third parties to stumble across data and use it negatively. The amount of human risk decreases.
  • Analogy – money in bank vault versus in your dresser
  • File Storage
    Are your files stored as paper or electronic (or both)?
    Where are your files stored? (i.e. hard drives, USBs, servers)
    How are your files organized? (i.e. chronological, categorical, matter number, client
    Approximately how many paper files do you have stored and how large is your
    electronic repository?
    o How many client files are closed? o How many client files are open?
    Matter Management
    How do you conduct client intake?
    Where do you complete and record conflict checks?
    Where do you store matter information?
    How do you track deadlines, appointments, and statute of limitations?
    How do you track your time?
    How do you bill your clients?
    How do your clients pay for services?
    Financial Management
    Partly Cloudy to Cloudy – Page 12 of 18 Is Your Practice Ready March 18, 2016
    Where do you store your financial records?
    Where do you keep vendor records?
    How do you conduct payroll?
    Where do you maintain a budget?
    How do you run financial reports?
    What service (i.e. Google, Exchange, iCloud) and client (i.e. Gmail, Outlook, Apple Mail) do you use?
    How do you keep track of your tasks?
    Where do you keep notes and drafts?
    Where is your administrative data stored?
    What type of phone system do you use?
    Do you have a fax line?
  • Why
    Include information about each cloud-based service, why it meets the firm’s needs, and its benefits. Making your case to the entire firm will increase staff buy-in, ensure a successful transition, and ultimately a more efficient law practice.

    Recently, a major hospital in Boston underwent a massive change to its records system, streaming its records to an online database. To do this, they required clinicians to reduce their caseload for a finite period of time by twenty-five percent.
    Consider what makes the most sense for your practice. Is there a traditional lull in client intake? Do you plan to close any major cases in the upcoming months? When can your budget handle a reduction in caseload (consider reserving funds for the transition period)?
    Set a timeline. Rather then attempting to do it all in one day, take an incremental approach, which should include alerting staff to upcoming changes.

    In determining what and how much data to transfer to the cloud, there are a few options, explained below.

    1. All Files: This is a good option if you are starting from scratch or already maintain most of your files in electronic format. If you have loads of records in paper format, it’s better to purge first and then develop a paperless system (as discussed under “How") before willy nilly uploading a massive batch of records.
    2. Open Matters and Frequently Accessed Information: For firms that have been in operation for a number of years and have accumulated a plethora of records and information, it may be most efficient to upload only open matters and frequently accessed information (i.e. contacts, notes, administrative files) to the cloud. The firm thus benefits immediately by having access to the records and information used most on a daily basis, and yet doesn’t need to devote significant resources to a major systems overhaul. This option relies on a legacy system (more later).
    3. When New Matters Open and New Information is Obtained: This is an ideal option for longstanding firms that don’t wish to spend the time transferring records back in time.
    Rather, this option starts you from scratch similar to a newly minted firm. Pick a date, and from that date forward enter all new records and data into your cloud-based system. As with option #2, this option relies on a legacy system (see below).
  • Create checklist of what accounts to create (i.e. email, cloud storage)
    Create checklist of what data each employee needs access (abide by the principle of least privilege)
    Provide firm devices when possible and monitored by IT
    If BYOD, have a policy
    Create and have employees sign WISP
    Train on security policies and awareness
    Procedure for off-boarding