By Ryan Groff, Practice Management & Product Advisor at LEAP in New England
Cloud legal software improves legal access in Connecticut when law firms decide to be efficient and adopt what works for their clients.
Legal access in Connecticut
In 2018, Connecticut State Legal Services (SLS) admitted that technology improves access to justice, and made a half a million contribution in federal funds towards developing new and innovative tools. “SLS recognizes the importance of expanding beyond traditional legal aid resources to develop and utilize technology as a legal aid tool to assist low-income people.” (1)
While there is no easy solution that provides immediate, universal access to legal services, technology has an important equalizing effect. Lawyers provide the services communities need by simplifying their IT with cloud legal software.
Simplifying Law Firm IT to Reduce Overhead
Lawyers get the most out of technology by being efficient and adopting legal software that works for their clients.
Decide to be efficient
Lawyers and their law firms must be efficient to make money. Technology was always the best way for small and midsize firms to stay competitive. Some firms wait until dire circumstances require change, like the COVID pandemic. Successful firms that adopt technology early and for organizational reasons will have a significant advantage when calamity strikes. (2)
Fortunately, lawyers practicing law in 2021 have access to a mountain of affordable, adoptable, and accessible legal software.
User licenses cost less than the first hour billed each month.
Easy online transitions, installation, implementation and training.
Simplified IT that allows firms to work securely from anywhere, at anytime, on any device.
Tools with these attributes are true cloud products that charge a single flat fee per month. As a result, they simplify IT, reduce overhead costs, enable working from anywhere on multiple devices, and provide secure access from a single sign-on. This keeps law firms organized.
No more looking for your work; your work is organized in one place, so login and bill
No more complicated IT contracts; your data is secured by AWS with 99.99% uptime with unlimited data maintenance
No more servers; your subscription includes unlimited data storage and backup
No more risky VPN and remote desktop connections; login from anywhere with two factor authentication (2FA)
All of this is good for law firms, but cloud legal software also works for clients.
Cloud legal software works for clients
Choosing legal software that works for clients seems like a no-brainer. Yet, the ABA’s TechReport 2020 suggests that clients’ needs are not a driving factor for whether law firms adopt true cloud, SaaS solutions. (3)
This means early adopters of cloud legal software distinguish their services by simply listening to their clients. Clients are familiar with todays standard technologies. The devices and apps they use all operate on the cloud.
When law firms simplify their IT, and reduce their overhead by adopting cloud legal software, their tools are familiar to clients.
LEAP includes LawConnect so clients receive, review, comment on, and upload secure legal documents from anywhere. No mail, no downloads, and no paper trail means law firms quickly exchange information directly with a client’s personal computer or mobile device. Their clients’ get privacy and their cases move forward.
LEAP Web Portal is where law firm clients complete online intake forms and schedule meetings. Time is a luxury for everyone, but especially for lower-income populations. Clients need to be able to move their cases forward during the in-between times of their day—during commutes on public transit or while they wait to pick-up children—rather than during fixed business hours.
Law firms using LEAP schedule and start Zoom or Microsoft Teams meetings from the same software where they track time, draft automated legal forms, send bills, and receive online payments. Zoom and Microsoft Teams integrations are preconfigured with every LEAP subscription.
If time is an expensive luxury, then place-based meetings are unaffordable. Clients work during law firm office hours, and have limited day-time flexibility to take time off for, travel to, and have in-person meetings. Connecting via Zoom or Microsoft Teams on their Android or iPhone saves time and improves access.
LEAP uses RapidPay so clients receive bills by email and click to pay with credit cards. Clients pay every other bill online; they expect to pay legal bills the same way. Preparing and sending paper bills, and waiting for and depositing checks, also takes too much time. Quicker payments mean lawyers have more money to invest in their business today.
Improve legal access with simplified IT through cloud legal software
Cloud legal software will not completely solve legal access in Connecticut, but lawyers who decide to be efficient and choose tools that work for their clients will improve access in Connecticut’s communities.
(1) Statewide Legal Services of Connecticut, “Civil Legal Aid Annual Report” (2018). https://www.slsct.org/files/2018%20Annual%20Report%20FINAL.pdf. Accessed January 29, 2021.
(2) Richard Hugo-Hamman and Amanda Mead. “11 Habits of Successful Law Firms Updated for the Digital Age, E-book Volume 2,” 4. https://www.leap.us/11-habits/. Accessed February 2, 2021.
(3) Dennis Kennedy. “ABA TechReport 2020: 2020 Cloud Computing.” (October 26, 2020). https://www.americanbar.org/groups/law_practice/publications/techreport/2020/cloudcomputing/. Accessed February 2, 2021.