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The legal profession - head in the clouds?

Posted by: Laurence Simons 16/12/13

Cloud computing is not, sadly, a new tech development that simulates the experience of being slowly enveloped in fluffy liquid droplets as they gently lift you from your office desk and allow you to soar above the city, all thoughts of legal statutes falling gently from your memory like summer rain.

Nevertheless, it's a buzzword you're likely to hear a lot of in the legal profession over the coming years, with firms in England and Wales proving quick to embrace the possibilities it offers.

Fundamentally, cloud computing allows companies to outsource certain IT processes to external servers, meaning smaller firms can access as much tech as their larger counterparts and cutting down on storage space and energy usage.

This might not be as appealing as the scenario outlined in the first paragraph, but it's proven quite attractive for decision-makers keen to ensure they make the best use of their technological capabilities.

Nagib Tharani, international director at cloud-based practice management platform Clio, recently pointed out that lawyers in the UK have adopted the tech far more quickly than those in the US.

Writing for Law Gazette, she said: "This situation is changing quickly as the advantages of cloud services become clearer and the need for legal practices to improve their efficiency grows."

Although the concept of cloud computing has gained a huge amount of traction in recent years, meaning it may seem unfamiliar to non-experts, the reality is that many firms already incorporate elements of the technology into their own IT model.

For instance, email servers such as Hotmail and Google Mail operate on a cloud basis.

Ms Tharani argued that the need for greater tech efficiency will drive cloud take-up, also pointing out that security processes around the system are improving all the time, something that will make an inestimable difference to its role in a legal setting.