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Web-Based Client Portals: The Benefits to Lawyers

By | Sep.15.14 | Cloud Computing, Law Practice Management, Legal Technology, Product Spotlight

Client Portals

In the first post in this series, attorney and MyCase Director Nicole Black introduced the concept of law practice management software platforms with built-in client portals. In part two, she outlines the many benefits that web-based client portals offer lawyers.

Client portals are incredibly valuable tools for law firms because they allow lawyers to improve client service by increasing efficiency and streamlining communication. Law practice management software with built-in client portals simplifies client communication and provides your clients with secure, instantaneous access to information about their case.

Client Portals Offer a Number of Benefits

Client communication. First, client portals improve client communication. Web-based law practice management software with built-in portals enables you to communicate securely from anywhere, with real-time notification to recipients. Client portals virtually eliminate phone tag and free up time for both you and your administrative assistant. Instead of repeatedly calling your firm for information about their cases, your clients can log on day or night and quickly and easily find answers to many of their most common questions.

Secure access. Client portals also provide convenient and secure access to case-related information using any Internet-enabled device. Cloud-based case management software programs with built-in portals provide easy access to online document storage, searchable client files and client communications. Your files and client communications are available to you regardless of your location and you can easily access your calendar and share documents with both your office and your clients.

Team collaboration. Importantly, online portals can be used by more than just you and your clients. In fact, some law practice management systems, such as MyCase’s platform, allow you to add contacts of your choosing, including investigators, experts or co-counsel, so they can access documents and information related to the case that they are working on. And, just like your clients, your contacts can upload or download documents and can communicate with you about the case in a secure online environment. You set the permissions and determine who has access to specific information related to a case.

Why Client Portals Trump Email

Finally, client portals are not just convenient; they offer increased security over other methods of electronic communication, including email. This is because standard email is inherently unsecure — yet, surprisingly, many lawyers are unaware of this disconcerting fact. As emails travel to their intended destinations, they traverse an untold number of servers and can be intercepted and viewed by virtually anyone with the proper technological know-how and desire. As such, most emails are more like mere postcards written in pencil, their contents readily viewable by anyone with an interest in doing so. This security flaw in email, as it now exists, arguably places confidential client data at risk. This can be problematic since lawyers have an ethical obligation to ensure that confidential client information remains confidential.

Cloud computing platforms that incorporate encrypted client communication provide a ready-made solution to this problem, offering a much more secure method of communication that easily trumps unencrypted email.

So, as you can see, client portals offer law firms many benefits. But it’s not just lawyers who benefit — clients do, too. Tune in for part three of this series, where you’ll learn about how clients benefit from online portals and why many 21st-century legal clients who are used to 24/7 access to information prefer using this type of interface more than any other.

Nicole Black is a Director at MyCase, a cloud-based law practice management platform. She is an attorney in Rochester, New York, and a GigaOM Pro analyst. She is the author of the ABA book “Cloud Computing for Lawyers” and co-author of the ABA book “Social Media for Lawyers: The Next Frontier,” and she co-authors “Criminal Law in New York,” a West-Thomson treatise. She speaks regularly at conferences regarding the intersection of law and technology and can be reached at niki@mycase.com

MyCase is a leading all-in-one web-based case management software solution offering features that seamlessly cover all the daily functions that a modern solo and small law firm requires. To learn more about MyCase and get your 30-day free trial, visit www.mycase.com. Follow MyCase on Twitter at at @MyCaseInc.

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