The Client Extra-Net: Review your case files from the cloud
By: Patrick Hoover
For those of you who don’t regularly read the Montgomery County Bar Newsletter you may not know that for about a year now I’ve been writing the monthly Tech Column. Whether it be about new ways to use tech innovations in the law office or simply a piece on the latest iPhone app, I have enjoyed sharing with my colleagues through the “Tech Talk” column every month. In next month’s column I write about a very useful online service my staff and I utilize on a daily basis. This online cloud computing service, new to lawyers, was also a topic I presented on at the recent program I gave to our Montgomery County Circuit Court Judges. So, without further adieu, here’s a sneak peek of my November column.
I recently gave a tech presentation to the Montgomery County Circuit Court Judges. When I was approached with the offer, I racked my brain for the most interesting and timely tech idea. I thought of presenting on the iPad and the various apps that can be used in the office, or in court. I thought of presenting on the best programs to use to create a paperless office. But, all that was minimal. I needed to address the bigger picture. I needed to focus on something that is quickly spreading in the legal industry: cloud computing.
For those of you who aren’t hip on the tech lingo, cloud computing refers to the shared resources and information that are available to any computer via the Internet, i.e. available from the proverbial “cloud.”
I talked about a number of programs, including Skype and Gchat video conferencing, Yuuguu screen sharing and remote desktop control of an office computer. One of my favorite new programs which I spoke of, and the topic of this month’s column, is BaseCampHQ. Basecamp is a particularly effective online service provided to attorneys allowing greater, faster and easier communication with clients and other permitted collaborators on a given attorney-client matter.
<a href=”http://hooverlaw.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/BaseCamp-Logo.png”><img title=”BaseCamp Logo” src=”http://hooverlaw.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/BaseCamp-Logo-150×150.png” alt=”” width=”150″ height=”150″ /></a>
For several months I have successfully used Basecamp in my law office. We routinely take in very large school records in our special education and general school law practice. Basecamp allows for the easy manipulation, storage and analysis of massive record dumps; something many lawyers are well aware is often a very difficult and expensive undertaking.
Basecamp is one of the more notable offerings from 37Signals. Simply put, the online software service provides permitted users with the ability to gain immediate, always-on access to client files and documentation, including e-mail messages, photographs, video and audio recordings, PDF files, correspondence, calendared events, task lists and much more.
It really is remarkable what a difference it makes to many clients when they are permitted access to their files as and when they see fit. Not only does the program benefit in the collaboration between counsel, staff and client, but it also has been a real time saver if used to the degree necessary to fully populate each client’s online “Project.”
Every important document or pleading can be uploaded online to a client’s “Project,” where it will be visible to anyone who has been given special privileges to view the files. Clients are able to access their case documents at any time. This may be very helpful for clients who are unable to to call in the office during regular business hours. Often times, client questions can be answered online, by review of one’s file.
Interested in reading more? This is just a sneak peek. Check out my next “Tech Talk” column in the November BAMC newsletter: https://www.montbar.org/Newsletters/2010%20Newsletters.aspx.