The benefits of practice management software are well established, allowing lawyers to work more efficiently and bill more hours by streamlining data entry and eliminating re-work. With software, firms can better manage the entire matter lifecycle as well as improve overall decision making through business management tools and functionality.

ProLaw consultant Wilson Pritt and Kenny McBride from CenturyLink’s presented at a ABA Techshow Lunch ‘n Learn last week, picking up where these benefits left off and discussed the expanded benefits of cloud-enabled practice management services.

According to McBride, small and medium-sized businesses have crossed the cloud chasm and are rapidly adopting cloud-enabled tools. Today, more and more businesses expect cloud to drive key business decisions and outcomes, from strategic allocation of IT budget to managing the cost of IT operations and improving the customer experience.

Pritt said that law firms are a little slower to change, based on legacy impressions of the cloud, and because it’s in a firm’s DNA to always manage risk. Law firm client and billing information is highly sensitive, and there are common misconceptions that large-scale, on-premise servers are more secure than cloud providers. Other perceived benefits of the on-premise status quo are fingertip access to servers and a fear of missing out on customization by using “out of the box” solutions.

According to the presenters, though, cloud solutions now provide the best in next-generation security technology, underpinned by numerous professional certifications. Software is always up to date and data storage is managed by large specialist teams. According to Pritt, law firms are tackling increased competition and tightened budgets, and cloud solutions can dramatically reduce both capital outlay and maintenance cost while offering quick implementation, as well as high scalability and adaptability.

Finally, the added security offered by modern cloud technology providers offers peace of mind to law firm clients. And clients – especially business clients – are putting more pressure on their firms to adopt cloud solutions. According to Pritt, cloud is increasingly a strategic, technical and reputational asset for law firms.