Laws are formulated and enforced to maintain order and balance in society. What would happen if we as an individual or a company felt aggrieved over some genuine issue? We are quite likely to knock the doors of the best law firm that our money can buy, which is subjective of course.
As the world population and global trade grow at a tremendous pace, legal disputes are also bound to rise. Although this is not the best of news for us as petitioners, it is definitely great news for the legal industry. Just to give you some perspective, the global legal services market is estimated to cross US $1 Trillion by the year 2021.
Legal disputes are over a multitude of issues and their scope also greatly varies. However, when large corporations lock horns, the financial impact of a legal dispute may touch millions or billions of dollars. When stakes are this high, there is no room for inefficiency or a subpar performance.
Also Read: Best Cloud Solutions For Law Firms – Cloud for the Legal Industry
How Virtual Desktops Fit in the Legal Industry?
Although the inherent flexibility, scalability and efficiency of Virtual Desktops (VD) makes them suitable for many diverse industries, the benefits of VDs unique to the Law Industry are too good to pass. Let’s highlight some of the key advantages of Virtual Desktops for the legal industry.
Lawyers tend to travel a lot, either for the same case or different cases which they are pleading. This hampers their ability to access vital case related facts and information on the go. Further, lawyers may have to apprise certain clients about the recent hearings by visiting their premises.
In the above two circumstances in particular and a host of other instances, it is very helpful if a lawyer can access the case related facts on the move from any device on hand. A Virtual Desktop can be accessed from a variety of device platforms such as smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop PC.
In a Virtual Desktop (VD) infrastructure, the data related to all the cases is maintained at a single central location. The circumstances of cases vary with each hearing and at times, a new defense has to be chalked out or tweaked in the best interest of the client.
The advantage of a VD setup is that any update regarding a case will have to be made at a single location. All other lawyers or firm officials privy to the case will automatically be served with latest information regarding the case. This will remove the off chance that key information about a case does not reach all the concerned people in time.
Sensitivity and Security
Legal cases are comprised of highly sensitive information that each litigant wants to use for gaining mileage in the case. At times, the outcome of a case may hinge on the fate of just a few sensitive documents or pieces of information. No law firm can afford this sensitive information falling in the wrong hands.
In a VD infrastructure, the entire data of a law firm is safely housed in the data centers of a Cloud Service Provider (CSP). There are multiple layers of security which include but are not limited to encryption, firewalls and multi-factor user authentication. This ensures the security of highly sensitive information.
Another advantage of this centralized data storage is that pertinent information is made accessible to only the relevant law professionals. The vulnerability of case sensitive information can be gauged from a recent study which estimated that the data of about 40% law firms was hacked, without them even knowing.
Most highly reputed law firms operate at a global scale. Due to the multi-jurisdictional nature of a few cases, law firms have to engage local lawyers who have a better grip over the domestic laws of the specific region. VDs make the process of on-boarding such lawyers a matter of just a few minutes.
A VD infrastructure also enables companies in the legal industry to cope with seasonal trends in a much efficient and cost effective manner. An example of this scenario is that the number of appeals on levied taxes exponentially increases during the last days of filing the income and tax returns.
Lastly, law firms can easily engage the services of fresh law graduates over the VD infrastructure. This gives law firms a good chance of evaluating the potential of fresh blood and in the process, young graduates gain the valuable practical experience they need to land fulltime jobs.
Virtual Desktops can be created and decommissioned in matter of a few minutes. This rapid scalability makes them a highly viable and efficient solution. No elaborate IT workforce is required to manage this simple process and most modern Cloud Service Providers offer an intuitive user interface to manage the scaling of VDs.
Most Cloud Service Providers (CSP) offer a highly cost effective, robust and reliable Disaster Recovery (DR) and Business Continuity (BC) solution with their VD offering. Given the critical nature of companies in the legal industry, this is a great plus point and no hardware has to be procured in house for this feature.
In-House v/s Outsourced Virtual Desktop Infrastructure
Now that we have covered many compelling advantages of Virtual Desktops, we will address the pertinent question of which VD infrastructure to deploy. Any law firm can choose between an in-house solutions or outsource this service to a Cloud Service Provider (CSP).
Given the nature of the legal industry, it is much preferable to source the VDs from a CSP. In support of this suggestion, we have the following reasons:-
- No need to invest in the capital intensive hassle of setting up a data center.
- Minimal IT staff will be required for the routine tasks of the law firm.
- Law firms lack the high level of skilled IT professionals to manage an in-house solution.
- No capital expenditures are required to scale up the existing VD infrastructure.
- Security of the sensitive legal data is the sole responsibility of the CSP.
- CSPs now have data security certifications that meet certain statutory compliance standards.
- No need to provision a DR and BC site as it is offered by most CSPs at an affordable cost.
- The law firm will be billed on a “pay as you use” basis and no fixed costs are attached.
- CSPs offer cloud native and fully compatible applications used specifically by law firms.
- Law firms get rid of integration challenges between in-house VDs and Law Apps.
Also Read: Hot Technology Trends in the Legal Industry
Law Productivity Apps and Integration Bottlenecks
Although we have highlighted several benefits of a CSP sourced VD infrastructure, one issue was so vital that it deserved a special mention. When law firms deploy in house VD architecture, they have to face an additional daunting challenge of integrating their law specific productivity applications.
This turns out to be a nightmare for most law firms who have deployed even the relatively advanced in house Virtual Desktop infrastructures. They lack the high skilled IT professionals who have the requisite capacity to resolve such complicated integration and compatibility issues.
On the other hand, Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) have a large pool of highly skilled and experienced IT professionals who have already resolved the integration and compatibility problems, before a customized VD solution is offered to a law firm. This means that when a client from the legal industry commissions a VD solution, it is a turnkey one.
Right from the word go, all the law specific productivity applications will be fully integrated and operational with each virtual desktop machine. As the integration is performed by highly skilled professionals, the industry specific productivity applications are very stable and efficient. This improves the overall productivity.
Artificial Intelligence and Legal Intelligence
In the end, let’s discuss an avenue that is not yet being utilized optimally in the legal industry. In law, old legal precedents hold a lot of weight. At times, they can even influence the outcome of the whole case. The human mind has limitations when it comes to memorizing millions of legal precedents.
This is where the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Cloud Computing can work miracles for the legal industry. A law firm can upload thousands and millions of already decided cases, we call legal precedents, over the central database being maintained at the Cloud Service Provider’s data center.
Use the power of AI and develop algorithms that can identify certain correlations between the circumstances of a case and the subsequent court decisions. This will create a highly refined pool of related case laws that are quite relevant to the case in progress.
How Do AI and VD Deliver Results?
A lawyer will simply access the central database of cases residing in the data center of the CSP using a VD. The individual will enter a few key parameters of the case for which relevant legal precedents are required. The algorithm will extract a large pool of highly correlated and relevant case laws in a matter of seconds.
If done manually, this task alone can take hundreds of hours and would still not be accomplished with the level of accuracy that AI can attain. This can revolutionize the legal industry by leveraging the power of Cloud Computing, Virtual Desktops and Artificial Intelligence.
The way today’s legal industry functions is one of the most suitable environments for a Virtual Desktop (VD) infrastructure. It will surely result in efficiency, scalability and security for the deploying law firm in particular and the legal industry in general.
Law firms should not get into the hassle of deploying in house virtual desktop solutions and must opt in favor of customized and optimized VDs offered by CSPs. dinCloud, being a strong emerging player in the cloud solutions landscape, has the full capability of offering a VD solution that is just right for all your legal needs.