Mobility for Lawyers – File Access is Key

iphone 6 in hand V2With 91% of lawyers using smartphones¹, Legal IT professionals are deploying solutions to expand mobile productivity at their firms. Here are three tips for mobile prosperity in 2015.

1. Files for the win.
Lawyers are all about billing. Their billable work is frequently related to electronically stored docs: contracts, briefs, and supporting research. Make sure that your mobile solution provides your lawyers with secure mobile access to their files.

The challenge is that files are stored in an array of repositories. Most often files are stored on-premises in a Document Management (DM) system such as WorkSite. Files may also be stored on-premises in SharePoint or Windows/CIFS file shares. At some firms, files may be stored in NetDocuments, which is a growing cloud-hosted DM. Use of public cloud solutions like Dropbox, Box, or OneDrive for file sharing is less common.²

Wherever your firm stores its files, from WorkSite to OneDrive, make sure that your lawyers can access their files from smartphones and tablets. A lawyer needs to be able to quickly find a file, review it, then to email or share the file, along with pertinent advice, to the client.

2. User experience will make it or break it.
If you work in legal technology, you are well-familiar with this dynamic. Lawyers have high standards. Consumer apps are easy and intuitive. Lawyers want the same at work. If your mobility solution does not provide an experience which is on par with consumer apps it won’t be adopted. A single workspace app with email, files, DM, SharePoint, calendar, and contacts is ideal.

Be sure to include lawyers in your trial. Poor user experience is the leading cause of failure of enterprise mobile apps.³ There’s precious little worse than deploying a solution which becomes shelfware.

3. Keep it simple.
The world has changed. Buying physical hardware is old school. Your mobility solution should not rely on proprietary servers. If it is to be deployed on-premises, look for a solution based on Virtual Machines, HTTPS, Exchange, HTML5, that is, infrastructure which you use today. Standard IT infrastructure will keep your costs and maintenance efforts low. If your firm is ready for a cloud-hosted mobility solution, that is often the simplest way to proceed.

At Mobile Helix we specialize in mobile applications which make it easy for legal teams to be productive from smartphones and tablets. If you are exploring ways to provide mobility to your lawyers we would be happy to discuss your needs and how we might be able to help you.

–Maureen

Twitter: @mobilehelix

1. ABA TECHREPORT 2014.

2. Recent ILTA data indicates that 15% of law firms use Dropbox for large file sharing. This figure was down in 2014 from 2013.

3. Kony Enterprise Mobility Survey.

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