Adopt Cloud Technology or Fall Behind? Why Firms are Opting In

Mid-size law firms are experiencing a perfect storm. With the impact of rapid change and push for an innovative response to survive the fallout from the pandemic, are lawyers at the point of no return?  

Looking to the future, the only way is up and that is to the cloud, according to Thomson Reuters’ Customer Experience Advocate, Lionel Bird, speaking at Chilli IQ’s recent Lawtech Jumpstart in Sydney. Lionel forecasts that cloud-based technology is the solution for law firms adapting to the “post-pandemic” normal to stay ahead of the curve – and to build a foundation for future growth. 

Cloud the competitive advantage 

“The market is changing rapidly and is highly competitive for law firms. 89% of law firms see cloud technology as part of their future. As revealed in the 2020 Technology Survey conducted by the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA), more than three out of four firms plan to accelerate shifting their solutions to the cloud in 2021,” explains Lionel.  

“Why? Firms know that cloud technology is a competitive advantage that will improve client service delivery and reduce the internal costs that often come with installing and maintaining on-premises architecture. In a challenging market, adopting cloud technology is an incisive differentiator in law firm competitiveness.” 

With 84% of partners surveyed by Acritas for the State of the UK Legal Market 2021 report wanting their firms to increase technology investment, a lot has changed in a short time, reflected in this quote by a CIO of a large global firm: 

“Cloud was not on our radar six months ago, but COVID changed everything—we know migrating to the cloud will enable us to better serve our clients and attorneys in this new world.” 

Appetite for cloud is accelerating 

Leona Blanco, National Knowledge & Information Manager at Clyde & Co, Lawtech delegate and avid cloud adopter has first-hand experience of this change. Back in 2018 when the firm encouraged a group of large global clients to engage with Clyde & Co via Thomson Reuters’ HighQ, they said no thank you. “Now, they are demanding it!” laughs Leona. “They’re a huge supporter [of HighQ].”  

So why were they reluctant? “They simply would not allow us to host their data in the cloud. Now they’ve become educated, and they want to store their data in the cloud – and they want to share their data. Because if you’re not in the cloud, you can’t share data. 

“In the cloud, [looking at HighQ] you can work offline. Remotely, anywhere, on a plane! It’s global.” 

This shift means that clients now expect it, says Mira Renko, Special Counsel – Knowledge and Practice Support – Finance at K&L Gates, and a Lawtech delegate.  

“They do have sophisticated cloud systems and they expect their law firms to have the same, but they also want transparency of the work we’re doing for them. Their priority is to log into a portal to see how their matters are progressing, the costs and who’s doing what for them. And for clients to enjoy a seamless delivery of our legal services.” 

Scalability, security and innovation in the cloud 

In addition to these unique advantages of cloud, Lionel spoke of its further compelling benefits, specifically those of Thomson Reuters’ Elite 3E: time and cost savings, robust security features, agility and scalability – and innovation.  

The trusted choice of 70% of Global 100 law firms, 3E is now available on the cloud for mid-size firms. Powered by Microsoft Azure, and designed to build a foundation for your firm to scale for growth, 3E is the innovative solution that gives you tower-view visibility across your business. 

“Of course, underpinning all of these benefits is profitability. As we manage costs, you improve profitability, if you innovate you drive profitability.” 

In fact, in a survey of over 6,000 in-house legal departments around the world (about a third of these were from APAC) conducted annually by Acritas, innovation was cited as one of seven levers that drove General Counsel to rate their firms more highly. 

The data revealed that innovative law firms enjoyed a boost in their GC preferential rating of 32%. This innovation could be evidenced in the technologies they use to engage with their clients, agile ways of working or alternative billing arrangements.  

But don’t wait too long! 

There’s a catch for those who wait too long to innovate, as Lionel explained. “Sometimes there’s a danger that you could be left behind. In 2021, not doing anything is taking a risk.” Will you be among the first mid-size firms to adopt the top-tier Elite 3E technology

Want to learn how a cloud-based business management system will change the future for firms with 60 to 250 fee-earners? Click here and a 3E specialist will contact you for a confidential consultation. 

Virginia Ginnane is an author, lawyer and writer, working for more than 20 years for international publishers in the UK, US and Australia. Her articles have appeared in The Lawyer, Legal Week, Legal Business, The Guardian, The Sydney Morning Herald and Hello! magazine among many other publications. She was London correspondent for Time Inc’s Who Weekly and Life magazine, and also feature writer at Australian Associated Press in Sydney. Virginia has worked at Thomson Reuters as Commissioning Editor, Tax Writer and is currently Marketing Content Specialist, Thought Leadership in Asia and Emerging Markets.

Subscribe toLegal Insight

Discover best practice and keep up-to-date with insights on the latest industry trends.