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Five Takeaways from a Law Cloud Survey

by Alexa Drago on April 1, 2014

By Guest Blogger, Loretta Ruppert

There is no denying the cloud is having its moment in the legal industry. While some attorneys claim to be “die hard” cloud proponents, others aren’t as convinced. In order to determine where attorneys’ perceptions stand on the issue, LexisNexis recently conducted survey titled: Cloud Technology in the Legal Industry. The survey, which polled 279 solo and small firm attorneys from across the United States, unearthed some interesting findings.

Here are five takeaways from the cloud survey:

1. Small Law is Poised for Mass Cloud Adoption:  74 percent of attorneys said their firm is likely to use the cloud for business purposes in 2014, while 50 percent said they are more likely to us the cloud next year. Additionally, current usage rates of cloud-based tools show a steady increase over industry studies previously released. Adoption among attorneys in smaller firms is approaching the 40 percent level, almost 10 percentage points higher than previous surveys. These numbers indicate 2014 could be a catalyst year for widespread cloud use among solo and small law firms.

2. Security is a Big Concern. 59 percent of respondents said they felt the cloud was unsecure or they were unsure about its level of security, while, 41 percent of respondents said their data was safe from intrusion or unauthorized access. Only 9 percent said their data is unsafe or unsecure, indicating while valid concerns about data security remain, attorneys are beginning to gain confidence about security in the cloud.

3. Barriers Point Back to Security and Ethics. When asked to rank barriers to cloud adoption in the legal profession where #1 is the most signi­ficant and #10 is the least.  Here’s how they ranked:

i.        Security and data protection
ii.        Ethical concerns
iii.        Data ownership/ease of getting out
iv.        Uncertainty of data location

These barriers indicate that more needs to be done in cloud community in terms of education and/or third party validation to alleviate these concerns.

4. Freedom of Access and Mobility Reigns. 45 percent of attorneys pointed to mobility or freedom of access as the single most valuable benefit of cloud based solutions. 41 percent said disaster recovery and data backup was another main benefit. These figures aren’t surprising given the increasing number of attorneys who are using mobile devices and/or tablets for business purposes.

5. Future Tech: Cloud vs. Premise. When asked if cloud-based solutions will surpass premise-based solutions in the next 3-5 years, 38.7 said yes, while 34.1 percent said yes, but it will take more than five years. 15.4 percent said yes, it will happen in the next three years. Clearly there’s agreement among the majority that cloud-based solutions will trump premise-based solutions, however, attorneys were split on timing.

Technologists rightly argue that the cloud isn’t new – but it is still new to the legal profession – and lawyers and legal professionals are just starting to become comfortable with the concept.  The indications to point to the notion that the law cloud will see significant adoption in 2014.

 

Loretta Ruppert is the Sr. Director with LexisNexis Firm Manager.  Loretta brings experience as a previous business owner and legal technology consultant, a manager of professional services for a CPA firm, an accountant, and a subject matter expert for developing back-office software. Probably most relevant, she is a former law firm employee and user of law firm practice management and financial systems. Find her on Twitter @LorettaRuppert

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