Why All Lawyers Should Use Microsoft 365
A lawyer’s level of success is hinged on their ability to start and conclude matters on time. But that’s easier said than done. Often stuck behind literal piles of paperwork and other elements of the legal workflow, many lawyers become overwhelmed and struggle to stay productive. Luckily, there’s a bunch of tools lawyers can use to streamline operations and increase productivity. One of them is Microsoft 365.
In this article, we’ll explain what Microsoft 365, formerly Office 365, is. We’ll also look at what lawyers and law firms stand to gain from using this service. Finally, you’ll learn how to fully utilize the productive power of Microsoft 365 to run your law firm more efficiently, securely, and cost-effectively. Read on.
What Is Microsoft 365?
Microsoft 365 is a cloud-based online suite offered by Microsoft. This product line consists of workplace applications such as the premium versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint — which you don’t get with the traditional Microsoft Office package — and a variety of web-based tools that can be easily used across platforms and devices. In addition, Microsoft 365 offers a plethora of options to support functionality and efficiency within your organization.
How Microsoft 365 Can Help Your Law Firm
There are many reasons why Microsoft 365 makes sense for your law firm. This innovative suite gives you access to office applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook, plus a whole pallet of new productivity tools that support collaboration, teamwork, and the flexibility needed in the modern workplace. Here are some of the benefits your law firm stands to gain from using Microsoft 365.
Save Time & Increase Productivity
In the legal profession, time is of the essence. A lot goes on at a law firm within a single day, and lawyers can easily become overwhelmed, impacting productivity and affecting your bottom line. Microsoft 365 offers a wide array of innovative apps to help lawyers save time and improve productivity. These include:
- Microsoft Planner. The Planner app is Microsoft’s answer to Asana, Monday, Trello, and other popular project management apps. Lawyers can use this shared workspace to assign tasks for team members, create workflows, and track progress for each team member.
- Microsoft Flow. This application provides a way for users to automate multiple tasks and combine different cloud services to improve productivity. You can also connect Microsoft 365 applications to other productivity solutions such as Asana, Basecamp, and Google Apps for seamless transfer of information.
- Microsoft Bookings. Another key productivity booster within the Microsoft 365 ecosystem, Bookings allows your clients to book appointments through an online calendar. Clients can make appointments via your social media page, website, blog, or mobile apps. Microsoft Bookings displays appointments for each lawyer in your firm.
- Microsoft Groups. With just a few clicks, you can create a collaboration portal using Microsoft Groups. You can create collaboration portals for both internal and external teams. Use this tool to set permissions for your group to use a shared Planner, calendar, OneNote notebook, and other Microsoft 365 features.
- Microsoft Forms. Forms allow law firms to collect feedback from clients through the creation and use of surveys, intake forms, and questionnaires. Law firms can also use Microsoft Forms to measure employee satisfaction and organize team events.
The various productivity tools within the Microsoft 365 environment can be used as standalone applications or in tandem. However, as a law firm, you stand to reap more benefits using these tools collectively. Used correctly, these apps can help you enhance productivity, increase billable hours, and reduce overhead within your law firm.
Streamline Your Workflow with Microsoft 365 Plugins
In addition to the native apps, Microsoft 365 also offers several plugins that lawyers may find helpful. These include Rocket Matter and Boomerang. Rocket Matter is an Outlook plugin that lets you associate emails with matters. You can even upload attachments and add billable hours directly from within Microsoft 365. Every lawyer can appreciate the benefits of a streamlined solution such as Rocket Matter.
Boomerang is another Microsoft 365 plugin that can make your professional life more manageable. This free application allows you to write an email and schedule when you want it to actually go out. This option is known as ‘Send Later.’ Boomerang is an excellent tool for when you are burning the midnight oil or working on the weekend and don’t want to disturb your client.
Improve Data & Email Security
Due to the vast amounts of privileged information and client data they retain, law firms are frequently targeted by hackers. According to the American Bar Association (ABA), law firms have a responsibility to protect the confidentiality of client information. Not to mention that in the legal profession, the documents and data in your possession are your most valuable assets.
Therefore, this data needs to be protected at all costs. Microsoft 365 can help you improve your overall security posture and meet your ethical obligations to your clients. Microsoft 365 comes with multi-factor authentication, end-to-end encryption, and other built-in security features to protect and secure your data.
You can also use the native privacy settings in Microsoft 365 to make your email more secure. With the sensitivity option Outlook set to private, you can control who has access to your emails to prevent snooping and unauthorized access. Microsoft 365 also comes with built-in protection against phishing, malware, and spam.
Work Anywhere, Anytime
Microsoft 365 is a cloud-based software that can be easily used across platforms and devices. This means you can collaborate on matters with your colleagues, clients, and other lawyers from virtually anywhere. Microsoft 365 is continually updating and improving to maintain relevance. Therefore, your law firm will always have the most up-to-date modern productivity tools from Microsoft without lifting a finger.
At Advantages Industries, our goal is to help lawyers and law firms in the DC Metro area better understand how to harness the power of innovative productivity tools such as Microsoft 365. We also provide IT support and managed IT services to help businesses streamline day-to-day operations and improve their cybersecurity posture. Contact us today for a detailed analysis of your organization’s IT services and IT security.
Advantage Industries is a Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) providing practical networking and software solutions, as well as web site and application creation services. For nearly two decades, Advantage has worked collaboratively with hundreds of clients in understanding complex business processes, identifying needs, and providing recommendations tied with sound technology solutions custom-tailored to their business.