Legaltech has come a long way in its relatively short life. What began as an industry designed to help law firms and court systems make the most of being online has morphed into an industry coming up with all sorts of technologies that are making the practice of law more efficient and productive. The engine behind most of it is the cloud.
Cloud computing is by far legaltech’s greatest asset. Without it there would be no modern-day case management applications like NuLaw. Without it there would not be online court filings, e-discovery, and many of the services law firms are now availing themselves of. By the way, those services are the linchpin in all of this. It is the combination of cloud computing and the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model that has given legaltech life.
The Technology Buyers
Understanding the cloud as legaltech’s greatest asset begins with understanding who it is that actually purchases new technologies. A recent post from JD Supra lays it all out. That post cites data from several reliable sources to demonstrate that technology buyers are largely service providers who turn around and offer SaaS products to law firms and corporate law departments.
This post previously mentioned the NuLaw case management application. It is an excellent example of this very point. Law firms and corporate law departments that utilize NuLaw do not buy software that is installed locally on their computers. Rather, they subscribe to a service facilitated by the NuLaw package.
NuLaw provides an online environment through which a set of integrated applications offers full software function in the law office. Attorneys have access to secure communications, ABA-compliant billing, a law and document library, matter management tools, and more. And guess what? It is all hosted in the cloud.
JD Supra points out that law firms and corporate law departments are not purchasing legal technology for themselves. Moreover, those producing the technology are not running around trying to convince attorneys to buy it. They are shopping their technologies to service providers. In turn, those service providers recruit law firms to subscribe to their services.
Law Practice in the Cloud
All of what we are now witnessing in legal tech is made possible by the cloud. It is cloud computing that allows the people behind NuLaw to bring so many law firms and corporate legal departments on board without having to deploy software at thousands of locations around the country.
Law firms benefit tremendously from this. For example, switching to a cloud-based app immediately eliminates the need for them to buy, install, and maintain their own software. It eliminates the need to have a robust IT department whose main priority is to keep the law firm’s computer network up and running.
Case management in the cloud allows attorneys to get more done in less time by increasing efficiency. Attorneys can work remotely using a laptop computer or mobile device. They can leverage artificial intelligence to automate calendaring and billing. They can speed up the discovery process by doing as much of it as possible online.
Understand that offering all this functionality requires a tremendous amount of computing resources. The resources are so vast that it is impractical to run a modern case management application on a local computer network. Why? Because law firms have to invest an inordinate amount of money in new computer hardware to get the most out of the technology. Once again, cloud computing is the answer.
It is safe to say that the cloud is legaltech’s greatest asset. Without it, their technologies would be irrelevant and worthless.