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Microsoft Office 365 for Lawyers and Law Firms: What You Need to Know

Jason Clause
Jason Clause
June 13, 2023

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Boost productivity, increase acquisitions, build industry authority, and more with Microsoft Office 365.

Key Takeaways:

  • Microsoft Office 365 lets you do more with robust security and client-pleasing features.
  • Collaboration, communication, and productivity improve.
  • Users (with the proper permissions) get access from anywhere at any time. 
  • It’s easy to use, but implementation can be challenging.
  • The right partner can get you off on the right foot.

Businesses today depend on technology, and for your busy law firm to stay competitive, finding tools to streamline operations and increase productivity is essential. This includes cloud computing, an innovation that allows controlled access, encourages collaboration, and improves communication between your firm and your clients.

One of the most powerful tools is Microsoft Office 365, a cloud platform designed for productivity with applications including Microsoft Teams, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneDrive, SharePoint, and more. It’s accessible from anywhere on desktop computers and mobile devices.

Microsoft Office 365 means staff can work with the same familiar software but gain the benefits cloud computing offers. Think enhanced data privacy, workflow automation, better communication, and easier sharing. Here’s how lawyers and law firms are using Microsoft Office 365 and how it can benefit you. 

How law firms benefit from using Microsoft Office 365

It is all about enabling better communication, sharing, automation, collaboration, and security. This enablement touches every facet of your business, making it more efficient. 

  • Increased collaboration via Microsoft Teams.
  • Improved communication with clients. With SharePoint and Dynamics, your firm can store client communications and manage and track them as well.
  • Anytime, anywhere access. Cloud access means access anywhere from your office to a beach in Bali. 
  • Enhanced security. It’s all in the cloud, not on an unsecured desktop computer. It offers world-class security with built-in safeguards like version control, permissions, eDiscovery, and records management controls. 

Productivity is enhanced through frictionless information exchange, automated software updates, and safe and efficient storage and flow of documents. The available Microsoft 365 apps and services offer everything from everyday apps such as Word and Excel to Microsoft Stream, where you can make explainer videos, offer feedback, and review team meetings. Let’s look at some apps that will have the most significant impact on your legal practice.

Microsoft 365: How to use its features effectively 

The sheer number of features offered by Microsoft 365 can be overwhelming, so here are some of those that will impact your legal practice the most.

1. Exchange Online

  • Exchange Online is a hosted email alternative to your current email server, with advanced features that allow you to send encrypted emails if sensitive personal data is included.
  • Access email through Outlook, which allows you to share calendars. When you install the app on a mobile device, you can view your calendar and get reminders on the go. 

2. SharePoint Online

  • Provides cloud-based document storage, quick searching, and a smart search feature that lets you hone your results.
  • Designed for teams, SharePoint allows easy collaboration.
  • Document sharing outside your firm is easy, and you can make revisions directly – no more emailing back and forth. And all changes are tracked and can be viewed instantly. 
  • Includes seven permission levels, five of which are customizable. This means you can limit document access to only the eyes who need to see it. 

3. OneDrive for Business

  • OneDrive is a cloud storage and file collaboration and sharing application.
  • Like with SharePoint, you can create documents and control access.
  • OneDrive can store documents for easy access, including scanned legacy files. 

4. Microsoft Teams

  • Microsoft Teams is an app for meetings and collaboration, like other online meeting tools. You can use it to meet, call, collaborate, and chat individually or in groups.
  • Share screens and content to increase engagement and team synergy.
  • Enjoy audio, video, and web conferences with large and small teams inside and outside your law firm.

5. Office Online (Microsoft 365)

  • A web-based version of Microsoft Office.
  • Create, collaborate, and share using the same familiar apps with enhanced features.

With these tools, your law firm gets secure document storage, an efficient workflow, anytime/anywhere access and collaboration, and improved client relationships. It also can help improve your firm’s client acquisition rate. At this point, you’re probably curious about how to implement Microsoft 365 in your legal practice. Read on.

Implementing Microsoft 365 in your law firm

While not complicated to use, Microsoft 365 has its technical requirements and needs planning from expert help from a managed IT services provider. Cloud computing requires careful network, identity setups, and proper security implementation. Then, the software can be deployed, mobile device management set up, and applications and services will be configured. 

Challenges and solutions

Issues, both technical and with humans, must be addressed.

  • User acceptance can be a problem, so proper user training is essential to get everyone on board and use the software properly – including security protocols.
  • To get the best and the most out of Microsoft 365 in your legal practice, staff must be trained in proper data management and how the platform integrates with your legacy systems. 
  • Integrate on-premises Active Directory Domain Services with Microsoft 365 with the addition of an Exchange or SharePoint on-premises server.
  • This creates a hybrid environment until all users are migrated to Microsoft 365.

All these issues are easily solved with the right IT managed services partner experienced in both cloud and hybrid environments. 

The future of Microsoft 365

Artificial intelligence (AI) in the law office? It’s here, and more is coming. Microsoft 365 Copilot helps increase productivity and uplevel staff skills in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Teams with writing suggestions, the ability to automate tasks, and clear your inbox fast. And Microsoft WorkLab is busy devising other ways AI can help in the future of legal work. 

The tools offered by Microsoft 365 are a sound investment for today as well as the future of your legal practice, but proper implementation using the right partner is key.

Unlock Microsoft 365 capabilities with Endsight's expertise

Endsight has Microsoft 365 expertise and a dedication to the success of your law firm. We have a proactive approach, tailor our services to your needs, and the ability to leverage the technology you already own. Our high retention rate comes from clients who are fiercely loyal, and many are referrals from other happy clients. 

We’re your complete technology support solution to create optimal IT management and human-friendly technical support for small and medium-sized businesses. Endsight’s core values bring peace of mind, an honest partnership, commitment to your long-term success, and unparalleled, dependable service. Reach out today.

How Endsight's Microsoft 365 expertise helps you? Learn more.


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