How Law Firms Can Save Time and Reduce Business Risk With Email Management

How Law Firms Can Save Time and Reduce Business Risk With Email Management

Uncategorized, Blog, Insights

Law firms send hundreds, or even thousands of emails a day. How can Thread Legal help firms with email management, firm management and more?

When you enter your law firm offices and sit down at your desk, the first thing you probably do is check your emails. Or you might even have checked your emails before this – whilst in your house, or on your commute. Why do we check our email inboxes so many times a day? 

Information flows in and out of law firms continuously and email is one of the primary channels through which it flows. If you are behind with your emails, you are working in the past. New information, currently marked as ‘unread’ could be urgent new instructions from a client, a missing piece of information in your case or a critical issue that needs resolved immediately. This is why, despite the unnecessary group emails and spam that wastes time, lawyers and their inboxes are rarely parted.

The Advantages of Managing Emails Within Your Case Management System

When we were designing Thread Legal, we knew that email management within Thread would be a critical piece of the puzzle.  

Emails are a critical channel for information, but their nature means they can also act as a barrier to this information flow. Information that the wider company needs can often get ‘trapped’ or lost within an individual’s inbox. 

For example, imagine that a critical piece of information gets sent to a fee earner, but that fee earner is unable to access their inbox. Maybe they are in court, or meeting with a client, or travelling. Junior members of the team are available and able to act on that information, but it does not reach them. 

Now imagine that one of your team has suddenly resigned and another employee has now, in addition to their own work, taken on the ex-employee’s cases. They have a case management system filled with documents, but no understanding of where the case is currently at, the communication history or the relationship with the client. They have to manually search through the ex-employees inbox, where emails were only sporadically filed and often have unclear subject lines. This takes the new case owner several hours. 

Law firms using email management software

One of the key advantages of using a software with email management functionality is that it frees up internal bottlenecks. Emails are available instantly on the file, meaning that the team can action them, even if the internal recipient is unavailable. This makes firms more efficient and responsive to clients.  

Another advantage is that it provides firms with full case visibility. If files need to be transferred to someone new for any reason, it takes the new owner minutes rather than hours to get up to speed. This provides a better customer service and again takes time. It also helps de-risk your business. Individual contributors, however important, will not leave chaos in their wake if they leave suddenly due to illness or new employment. 

A further advantage is that if queries ever arise over your handling of a case, the evidence is immediately and easily available. There are no questions of whether that email was sent to Fred or Sue, or who responded to the client. All the relevant information is in one place and can be quickly reviewed. 

This is also very useful for internal reviews of a case and for more efficient management. Managers do not need to ask the case owners what is happening as all case information is easily accessible in one place. 


How Thread Legal Manages Your Emails 

Thread Legal is built with Microsoft 365, so managing emails within our platform is simple. We’ve provided options that suit all members of the firm! 

You can send emails directly from your file, within the Thread Legal platform. All replies to your email will be automatically attached to your case file and you will receive notifications within Thread when one of your cases receives an email response. This helps you to cut out time spent reading spam and other irrelevant emails – as Thread only notifies you of those directly related to your cases. 

When you receive an email within Thread Legal, it is just a couple of clicks to respond, save any attachments into the ‘Documents’ section of your file or set up tasks following on from the email.  

You can also set up email templates within Thread, to save you time on regularly sent emails.

For those lawyers who love to stay in Outlook, we have created a desktop add-in. From the Add-In you can choose which file you want to add an email to and save attachments. It just takes a few simple clicks to transfer emails from your Outlook into Thread. Inbox organisation has never been easier!


Email Management is About More Than Just Emails 

Emails are more than just electronic letters – these days they are a critical point of entry and exit for information and one that as a firm, you need to take ownership of. Using Thread Legal to manage emails takes the flow of information into individuals in the firm and spreads this information firm-wide. 

This creates efficiencies, as all firm members can act immediately on information, not just the email recipient. It also reduces the level of risk within your business, as if an individual firm member becomes unavailable either temporarily or permanently, the information that firm member holds is not trapped within their individual accounts. It is also available to the whole firm, within a case-specific format. 

Whatever area of law you are in, whatever the size of your firm, you can take control of your emails today with Thread Legal! 

Are you a client? Email [email protected] for advice on setting up your email system within Thread Legal. 

Interested in finding out more about Thread? Click here to sign up for a demo or a free trial.

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Thread contains all your key practice functions in one platform so you can work on your legal cases, and documents securely from anywhere.

SaaStock Comes to Dublin

SaaStock Comes to Dublin

Uncategorized, Blog

SaaStock is coming to Dublin from 14-16th October. It is a conference specifically designed around growing software businesses – with talks about investment, growth and lessons from those who have already succeeded in the industry.

SaaStock has a number of high quality speakers on their agenda from across the startup ecosystem. This includes investors such as Accel and Point Nine Capital, successful tech companies such as Stripe, Intercom and Active Campaign and business advisors.

SaaStock also contains a dedicated Startup Programme which gives high potential startups the opportunity to exhibit their company and ideas, attend dedicated workshops and meet investors.

The Startup Pitching Competition gives startups the chance to compete for an amazing prize – the winner gets $25,000 cash, a number of ‘partner perks’ from SaaStock’s partners and global recognition as a high potential company.

To find out more or sign up for SaaStock, please visit here.

Our team at Thread Legal will be attending the conference – we’re looking forward to learning from other software as a service founders and applying these insights to our own growth journey with our innovative case management software solution.

We’ll be live-sharing our experience throughout the day, so please do come and say hi!

Collaboration, Effective Working and Legal Technology

Collaboration, Effective Working and Legal Technology

Blog, Uncategorized

In simple terms, collaboration involves people working together to achieve a shared goal. It is rare for a lawyer to complete a case from start to finish without input from other lawyers and legal staff such as secretaries and paralegals. Equally, law firms can often become siloed – with poor communication between different departments leading to missed opportunities and unhappy clients.

Given the importance of working together at law firms, it is understandable that partners can be eager to sign up to new technology claiming to improve collaboration.

However, unless you make meaningful changes to your processes as well as your technology, people will go back to their old communication habits. The same old frustrations and inefficiencies quickly resurface. So how can law firms ensure that their investment in case management, document management or other technology results in improved collaboration throughout their firm?

  1. Understand how your organisation currently operates
  2. Give specific guidance on how you would like your organisation to communicate once the
    technology is implemented
  3. Proactively enforce the rules that you have set up
  4. Be fanatics about ensuring that your system is kept up to date

The Future is in the Cloud

The Future is in the Cloud

Uncategorized, Blog

When you think about it, Cloud computing is the future of the internet and business and it’s a wonderful development that is changing our world forever. However, many law firms are still confused and nervous about the Cloud and specifically running their practice software in the Cloud.

The Future is in the Cloud

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Seems like everything is in the Cloud these days and it’s the new buzz word for all things mobile, whether it’s Android or Apple, smartphones, tablets or phablets. Cloud offers you the ability to use and discover all sorts of apps and to store their data, photos, music etc. safely in the Cloud. 

If it’s software in the Cloud and you pay a subscription fee, you could be tricked into thinking it is true Cloud software, however, nothing could be further from the truth and it could be just your old software retro-fitted into the Cloud. There are lots of well-known brands with old legacy software doing this today and being unaware of the difference between the two could be disastrous for your business, particularly if you are a growing business. So, let me elaborate and hopefully clear up some of the confusion around what is retro-fitted legacy software and pure Cloud.

Let’s start with the Cloud, in layman’s terms, what is it? In essence – the cloud is just a collection of things and services. These services include:
• Physical objects
• Documents and databases
• Functions – (e.g. password checking)
• Services – (applications and software)

It is made up of thousands of different elements – like tiny droplets. These droplets represent all the “things and services” that work together, interact and share resources, like all the water droplets making up a cloud – hence the name.

The physical Cloud is all of the data hosting centres worldwide. The popular and well-known ones are Google, Amazon, Microsoft and RackSpace. We access the Cloud or Data Centres through the World Wide Web and much of this access is today via Wi-Fi that is in nearly every home, office, hotel, airport, shopping mall etc. and we do this using our smartphones, tablets, phablets, laptops and PC’s. We refer to this Cloud as the Public Cloud.

As a business user you might access apps like LinkedIn, Bloomberg, CNBC, TED, and you might also be an avid digital marketer and tweet and write blogs and follow various Influencers to stay up to date and on top of your game. Business promotion using digital marketing tools is available and easy to do from any device, any time and from any place. All of this is possible because these apps and tools have been designed and developed specifically for the Cloud, I call this Cloud Software and it’s available through the Public Cloud.

Much of your daily web, phone, online activity happens or is managed through Cloud services and applications without you even being aware of it, and this is only going to increase.


The difference between legacy software in the cloud and true Cloud software.

You may well ask, why do I need to know the difference? Believe me, it’s important that you understand as the future success of your business may depend on it, particularly if you are expanding and growing your business.

By way of example, if you designed and manufactured a car 40 years ago then you might not have considered important items such seat belts, headrests and airbags. Even 20 years ago you may not have considered CO2 emissions, fuel economy, hands free phones, isofix for baby seats etc. In each case the designers of cars in that era built beautiful cars that met the needs and customer desires for that time. The challenge today would be to retro-fit these vintage cars with next generation elements – isofix, Bluetooth and clean fuel processors. It would be near impossible given the advances in technology, manufacturing and regulations.

Software is no different. A piece of software designed 20 to 30 years ago didn’t know about smart phones, tablets and phablets; never mind the concept of cloud computing. An application that is 20 years old is probably very feature rich today because the developers have spent 20 years adding elements and patches and the result is that it has become very bloated and difficult to maintain.

This legacy software was designed to run on a PC or Server, sitting in an office/business premises, on a local area network. Upgrades and bug fixes were performed manually by an IT company under an annual maintenance support contract and data corruption normally required the software authors to intervene to repair the data. Any feature enhancements and 3rd party integrations were planned over a 3 to 5 year timeline depending on the software roadmap. What’s even more painful is when 3rd party software is added it sometimes prohibits the user from taking advantage of the updates. Scary, isn’t it?


Can you retro-fit legacy software into the cloud? Yes, but with great difficulty.

Of course, it’s possible to retro-fit this software on the Cloud with sufficient additional software being applied to the original legacy software. Essentially you have to make this legacy software think it’s running on a standalone PC or Server in an office and you do this by topping and tailing the legacy software with other software; software that sits between the data centre servers and the legacy software and software that sits between legacy software and the device you are using to access the software. This new environment is complicated and specific to a customer, and is referred to as the Private Cloud. A separate instance of this environment is setup for each customer who would then be referred to as a Single Tenant.

Now, in this new environment (Private Cloud) you have more software than you ever had before. That means more software to maintain and patch for bugs, which is even more difficult to add new features to or upgrade; and logically more expensive to maintain. And after all that effort, time and expense this new software is still not at all ready for the next wave of new devices that will hit the market – it’s your vintage car that won’t know what to do with Bluetooth or GPS. In addition to all this the legacy software will not take advantage of one of the biggest benefits of Cloud computing and that’s horizontal scalability.

Scalability is vital for any growing business so it can manage and cope with larger amounts of data or faster performance. Your “top and tailed” retro-fitted legacy software stand up to your increasing productivity demands and sadly won’t be able to take advantage of the benefits of Cloud computing. A final point to mention is that this legacy software will need more broadband bandwidth to work efficiently, so if you do not have a high- speed broadband connection then you’ll be adding frustration to your list of complaints.

Many software suppliers will say their software is in the Cloud and they will prove this by offering you a monthly subscription plan which would normally indicate a true Cloud software subscription model, however, it could be the old stuff retro-fitted to the Cloud.


The benefits of Cloud software

I briefly mentioned scalability earlier, not let’s look at mobility. The Cloud is designed to be offered as a service through a subscription based model and to be used by mobile devices anytime anywhere. It will typically be accessed through a browser and will render itself beautifully for whatever device you choose to access the software from. And your data is secure and automatically backed up to the Cloud giving you peace of mind from old operational hazards. The risks associated with having a local server on premise disappear,
all the worries associated with no regular backups, arriving into the office to finding that a hard disk drive has failed etc. Now you get the comfort that your data is maintained in the Cloud and accessible anytime, anywhere.

Using the Cloud simply allows people to access shared software through the internet – a multi-tenant environment. Microsoft Office 365 is an item in the cloud. Some of its features include SharePoint, Skype for Business, Outlook, Excel etc. Some examples of Cloud software in the legal space are Clio, Rocket Matters, Practice Panther, and of course Thread. Thread is also an item in the cloud which works with and interacts with Microsoft Office 365 – and its features.

In the case of Thread, this is a pure cloud case management system built in Microsoft and therefore can offers the solo practitioner, the small to medium sized firms, and in-house counsels superior case, document and email functionality at a disruptive price. We’ve harnessed the power of Microsoft by developing Thread on the Azure platform to ensure that it’s pure Cloud.


Cloud benefits:

Easily connect and integrate to 3rd parties, carriers, ecommerce, and payments companies etc.

You only pay for the number of users that you need. No need for expensive servers and maintenance costs. You choose the Office 365 subscription that suits you

24/7 access to your data wherever you have an internet connection. Easy file sharing with permission control. Once you set your password you can access it from your desktop, tablet or mobile. You always have access to your date – no matter what happens to your local machine

Automatic Updates:
Servers are off-premise, secure and stable. Software updates are rolled out seamlessly, with no interruption to you or your business.

The Cloud complies with all privacy regulations. Your data is held in and accessed from your local data centre.

Microsoft is the leader in Cloud infrastructure – it already provides small and large enterprises with government level security. With end to end encryption it safely transfers your data to you, your colleagues and clients. Protection under the umbrella of Microsoft security helps users stay clear from evolving cyber security threats.

With true Cloud software you are future proofing your business until someone like me is writing a similar article in 20 years’ time saying similar things about Cloud Software!  I would welcome any feedback or comments.


About the Author

Liam has over 35 years experience working with ICT companies in Europe and operating at CEO level with ICT businesses in the UK & Ireland. Prior to joining eXpd8, Liam was CEO Europe VersAccounts, CEO Sage Ireland and Sage Global CRM.
A passionate supporter of all things Cloud, Liam believes small and medium businesses are now poised to take full advantage of Cloud applications to deliver their Global growth ambitions.
Email: [email protected]
Phone: +353 1 8704925

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