I’m sure you’ve heard the line, “no man is an island”? Well here’s another truth for you: no lawyer is a law firm.
No matter how smart and capable you are by yourself, you are part of a legal team. You have to work together, rely on one another, pull in the same direction. You have to be able to delegate and trust your colleagues accordingly. You have to work long hours to tight deadlines and a weak link in the chain can be a disaster for everyone else.
Thing is, that’s not actually how many law firms are set up. Chances are, the systems you currently have in place undermine your attempts to collaborate, to delegate, to share the load equally and keep everyone on track. Systems that treat every lawyer at his or her desk as their own little island, that only let you tap into the files, folders and applications in your immediate surroundings, that cut you off from colleagues outside of your physical office – these hardly make for great teamwork. Yet that’s the situation that so many lawyers find themselves in.
For many lawyers, this is all the more frustrating given that, today, in the digital age, it certainly doesn’t need to be like that. In some cases they go outside of company protocols and use common file sharing tools like Dropbox to do what they need to get done. This opens up a number of issues. First, does your client know that their data is going outside the UK (Dropbox uses only US based data centres)? Is confidential data now sitting in personal file sharing accounts? How does IT control something it is not aware of. Fortunately, top-notch technologies exist to help you share files online, to handle file transfer securely in real time, to let you simultaneously edit a document – even to retrieve old versions of them if something goes wrong. Technologies that use the cloud to bring you far closer together.
Let’s take Citrix Xenmobile. Users with a XenMobile Enterprise licence have access to tools like ShareFile, which is one of the best providers out there for secure sync and sharing of data across all devices.
Lawyers can share access to documents with colleagues, speeding up the communication and collaboration process. Because it integrates with tools like Outlook and RightSignature, they can work fast without the hassle of jumping between systems or platforms to get the job done. Plus, because the files are hosted in the cloud (in UK data centres), they don’t even have to wait around for attachments to download before they open them, work on them, save them to a new location and send them back: they just need to click on an embedded link and they’re right into the document, ready to get started.
At the same time, IT departments keep hold of management and control tools that mean they oversee security – ensuring that no one gets unauthorised access to sensitive client data. In fact, one of the main benefits of Xenmobile is that it’s actually more secure than sending files through native email. The firm can stay well in line with corporate data policies and compliance policies, while lawyers reap the benefits of working in a cohesive, closely aligned and vastly more productive team.
There’s no excuse any longer for trying to strike out on your own, to try to be your own little island, when it does neither your work nor your clients any good. Technology has sped on ahead, and now you have the power at your fingertips to be agile, to be responsive, to be collaborative. You can pull together and work as a first-class team, tackling your work more effectively, managing your relationships more successfully, serving your clients better. Sharing is caring, and if you care about being the best team you can be, it’s time to get on board with the cloud.