Until recently, law firms that wanted to implement practice management software had to invest in programs that would run on their office network. These programs are often expensive and require that you purchase additional support plans and pay for upgrades. But now there is an alternative to law practice management software. Several companies have developed web-based practice management systems. These systems exist, not on your office network, but on the web . . . or “in the cloud.” “Cloud computing” allows you to store and manage your data on the internet. That means you can access it from anywhere. Office. Home. Smart phone. For an excellent series of articles explaining cloud computing for lawyers, check out Nicole Black’s articles at Firmex
There are several companies at the forefront of legal cloud computing. Clio provides web-based practice management tools designed specifically for sole practitioners and small firms and includes a secure web-based client portal. Rocket Matter offers features similar to Clio and incorporates a very user-friendly dashboard. Vlotech allows you to create a virtual law office on the web. All three services have pros and cons, but if you want to step onto the cloud just to try it out, Clio is the only service that offers a free 30-day evaluation.