Technology Trends in the Legal Sector

March 03, 2015 by Alex Collins

 

Legal_Team_small

Security and compliance requirements are changing rapidly within the legal sector. These issues have traditionally been afterthoughts in the IT department, but they’re now considered to be primary initiatives. Law firms need to deploy advanced security and compliance measures that identify and mitigate the risks to their clients’ assets. These challenges become even more complex given the increased reliance on cloud computing by law firms. Another recent trend in the legal sector is the increasing use of eDiscovery, which has resulted in the development of many tools to streamline the discovery process. Client relationship management (CRM) software is also becoming an essential requirement for today’s law firms.

Security and Compliance

Security and compliance requirements account for an increasingly large portion of a law firm’s IT budget. These requirements generally mean that security risks must be identified in a way that can be demonstrated to a firm’s clients, business partners and regulators. The handling of personally identifiable information (PII) in particular has been the subject of increased regulations. California, Massachusetts and Wisconsin have all significantly increased the requirements for protecting PII in recent years.

“It’s no longer just about being secure,” says Marco Maggio, legal practice director for All Covered, IT Services from Konica Minolta. “Law Firms need to be secure in a demonstrable way. Hackers are now gaining easier access to big corporate data through less secure routes, such as their outside counsel, and no firm wants to make the headlines as the hole in a client’s infrastructure.”

The attestation requirements for security and compliance measures can vary considerably depending on the client. Attestation can be as simple as conducting in-house penetration tests and describing the results of those tests. However, clients in sectors such as finance and healthcare have additional attestation requirements that are federally mandated.

Cloud Computing

Many legal firms have now moved at least some of their applications and data to the cloud. The primary reasons for this transition are to improve the efficiency of their business process and to reduce IT costs. Popular cloud services in the legal sector include Apple Cloud, Google Docs, Microsoft Office 365 and SharePoint.

However, a firm must perform due diligence to ensure that a cloud platform's security measures meet the client’s requirements. Cloud activity routinely occurs even when the firm’s primary network doesn’t operate in the cloud, such as transmitting files with Google email or sharing files with Dropbox. Law firms must therefore implement a risk-management program for cloud platforms in addition to their own internal security measures.

eDiscovery

Electronic discovery, or eDiscovery, is discovery that involves the exchange of information in electronic format. The handling of this data is subject to regulation and agreed-upon processes. It's typically reviewed for relevance and privilege before submission to opposing counsel.

Managed review is one of the significant emerging trends in eDiscovery. This process specifies a framework of accountability that encourages the desired treatment of discoverable information, including its creation, storage, deletion and valuation. It also includes metrics, standards and roles to ensure the effective use of discovery. Managed review is a new discipline that’s ready to implement security solutions that have been optimized for the cloud.

“Through a managed review offering, eDiscovery vendors can now address up to 80 percent of the electronic discovery reference model, or EDRM, in order to provide clients with efficient routes to significant savings of up to 40 percent on their current eDiscovery spend,” says Maggio.

The techniques that eDiscovery practitioners have developed since the beginning of the 21st century can readily be applied towards the implementation of a managed review framework.

CRM Software

CRM software manages a firm’s interaction with its current and prospective clients, including the automation of customer service, marketing and technical support. The ability to capture data from social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter is one of the most significant trends in CRM software. Some systems also have mobile capabilities, allowing remote staff to access this information.

CRM software is typically available through the cloud as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). The first company to offer these enterprise-level applications through a web browser was Salesforce.com, a position it still retains. Other CRM providers such as Oracle and SAP are also moving into the cloud by acquiring smaller firms.

Learn how All Covered can assist with Legal IT Services and Solutions

 

Marco_Maggio2

 

 

 

 

 

Marco Maggio
Legal Practice Director for All Covered, IT Services from Konica Minolta

 

The All Covered Difference


All Covered is here to work with you to set up a comprehensive technology plan for your law firm. Our goal is to help your firm maximize IT efficiency and protect  client data. Go here for more information or contact us today at (866)446-1133 to schedule a consultation.