Why law firms are using SharePoint Online
27 Jul 2021
Why law firms are using SharePoint Online - Main body
A lawyer can create up to 100,000 pages of information a year, according to research by Purdue University. Due to the number of documents legal cases generate, one of the most important aspects of running a successful legal practice is to have a secure and easily accessible content management system. But Legacy ECMs, are deemed to be no longer fit for purpose and have been proven to slow businesses down in this ever-increasing digital world.
To stay ahead, and with more people working from home, it is advisable to modernize your firm so that your lawyers can securely work from anywhere, at any time and with anyone whilst adhering to the highest security and governance controls. SharePoint Online allows you to do just that. This cloud-based system with state-of-the-art security allows collaboration between co-workers and increases productivity with metadata tagging. So, all you need to bring to the table is legal your prowess.
Not convinced yet? Here are five reasons SharePoint Online can help your firm today.
1. Internal file organization
Many legacy ECMs are a nightmare to navigate. Documents are easily lost or difficult to find. Busy legal professionals do not have the time to search through millions of files to find the one that cracks the case.
iManage to SharePoint migration success story #1
J. Sagar Associates (JSA), a leading Indian law firm providing legal services to Fortune 500 companies, had over 1 million content items spread across a complex iManage Worksite deployment. Plus, a high volume of un-filed documents on individual users machines due to the constraints of device-based iManage licensing.
After successfully migrating to SharePoint Online with the support of Proventeq and Migration Accelerator, JSA can easily retrieve and store internal and case-related documents. SharePoint tags and metadata help JSA's teams efficiently store documents whilst streamlining the search and retrieval of them. This also enables them to filter documents by a range of criteria, such as document type, and via unlimited custom tags or properties, such as author and date.
Not only does SharePoint Online help classify content, but customizable Team Sites allows legal teams to create sites for specific processes like depositions, motions or witness files. All these documents can be explored, moved and shared between colleagues, thanks to SharePoint Online's handy search tool. So you won't lose files.
2. Collaboration and sharing
The growing complexity of legal work is often cross-practice and multijurisdictional. Meaning lawyers increasingly need to collaborate across expertise, organizational, and location boundaries.
SharePoint Online allows legal professionals to efficiently handle caseloads as lawyers can quickly edit, review, and amend documents on the go. The real-time co-authoring function allows multiple users to collaborate on a single agreement, contract or other legal documents simultaneously.
iManage to SharePoint migration success story #2
McAllister Olivarius, a transatlantic law firm that specialises in discrimination claims and corporate law, was operating on an iManage Worksite system. Managing content from four separate divisions was beginning to limit them, so they decided they needed a more structured and inclusive online environment. They chose SharePoint Online for its collaborative features and ability to create a complete content services platform for the practice.
With SharePoint Online, McAllister Olivarius can now flexibly and remotely collaborate with associates and co-councils, no matter where they are.
“Working with Proventeq allowed us to figure out all of the different mechanics of how to migrate and restructure our data. They allowed us to have a clean break and start working immediately in the new system.”
Honza Červenka, Internal Project Lead - McAllister Olivarius
In February 2021, Campbell Conroy & O'Neil – a US law firm serving as trial counsel in high stakes, complex litigation for leading global brands such as Ford, Boeing and Exxon - were hacked in a ransomware attack.
The law firm said attackers might have accessed clients Social Security numbers, passport numbers, payment card information, medical information and biometric data.
Law firms like Campbell Conroy & O’Neil regularly deal with highly sensitive and confidential information, which of course needs to be protected from security threats (both internal and external) but still needs to be easily accessible to the relevant team.
SharePoint Online allows this by enabling easy-to-set permissions for shared documents that can be further supported by enabling Azure Information Protection. Individual documents are protected, such as contract and business deal information, from being accessed by unauthorised users. Only the correct legal practitioners working on relevant elements of the case can open the document. All of this is controlled and managed by a single admin portal for ease of use.
Furthermore, SharePoint Online employs some of the most complex global data protection regulations which protect confidential information from external cyber threats. The security in place deflects malware, bugs, spam, phishing attacks and many more – without you having to lift a finger.
4. Policy & Compliance
We all understand the importance of data privacy. Law Firms have the additional burden of protecting sensitive content, like clients data and case matters, as a commitment to the customers they serve.
SharePoint Online enables you to manage policy and compliance with a range of tools that help you to:
- Define policies and information management labels to control retention and expiration, to ensure documents are retained for specific periods or deleted when no longer required – allowing you to comply with the latest data protection regulations, such as GDPR
- Implement data loss prevention policies to help prevent inadvertent disclosure of sensitive or confidential information
- Execute comprehensive eDiscovery plus hold functionality to aid with investigations. Using search, eDiscovery searches and finds information based on your specified criteria. You can then decide to keep or export the information
- Provide comprehensive audit and reporting capabilities
5. Increase productivity by helping to get work done from anywhere and anytime
And finally, we have already explained how SharePoint Online increases productivity through easy collaboration. But it doesn’t stop there.
Automatic version control and history make previous versions of documents readily available and accessible. Tools like Microsoft Flow and Power Apps can streamline repetitive tasks and business processes, for example, automating document approvals and notifications. You can create a flow for new documents to be saved in a particular folder on your firm's SharePoint site, which then triggers an approval process that requires one or more people in the firm to work together on the document.
Legal professionals need to quickly access, edit, review and amend documents, contracts and data. SharePoint Online can facilitate collaboration and productivity as follows:
- Co-authoring allows multiple people to work on documents simultaneously
- Automatic version control and history means previous iterations of documents are always available
- Integration with Office 365 productivity apps
- Automate business processes such as approval processes using tools such as Microsoft Flow and Power Apps
- Integration with various electronic signature tools
- You can get to your applications and files from virtually anywhere—PC, Mac, tablets, and most mobile devices—and they are always up to date. Collaborate on matters with teammates, share documents with clients, and connect with other lawyers.
iManage to SharePoint migration success story #3
Air Lease Corporation (ALC), an international aircraft leasing company, became increasingly frustrated with its legacy iManage systems due to its limited adoption across the business and restrictive external support. As a confirmed Microsoft house, they wanted to implement SharePoint Online to create a more cohesive Office 365 environment.
Due to the highly confidential client data ALC hold to create complex aircraft leasing and financing solutions, they needed to transfer complete metadata from their ten-year-old iManage system to SharePoint Online. Whilst maintaining the highest security and governance standards in their new environment without compromising usability.
Proventeq’s migration experts worked closely with ALC to design and implement a best practice content migration solution to enable a smooth transition to their new SharePoint Online environment.
“Long term we will be more productive because SharePoint is so much more integrated with the overall environment that we are in. It will make life easier.
“All in all, we found the SharePoint interface was more intuitive and easier to use.
“We’re going to continue to use SharePoint for years to come.”
Pinella Shapiro, Assistant Vice President Business Systems - Air Lease
Want to better serve your fee-paying clients, reduce your case admin and increase your data compliance? Simply migrating to Microsoft SharePoint Online could be the answer.
Book a free consultation today to learn how SharePoint can seamlessly integrate into your practice. Our Microsoft experts will review your current situation and explain the best migration options for you to enhance productivity, reduce costs and most importantly, increase security. So, your talented lawyers can spend their time best serving your clients.