Enhance the power of Microsoft Teams for law firm collaboration

Three coworkers at a table looking at a paper document

Traditionally, law firms have relied on multiple legal point solutions such as practice management systems, document management systems, and client collaboration portals. However, because these solutions aren’t usually interoperable, data and workflows often become siloed, and fee earners lose precious time trying to track down information, fix errors, and determine next steps.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, when law firms transitioned to more agile working hours and remote working, it became clear that firms would need better collaboration tools to accommodate this new working model and ensure team members could maintain productivity. Law firms also realized that fully investing in collaboration technology could help improve client satisfaction. According to a recent survey[1] of 700 legal professionals in Europe and the U.S., 78% of law firms desire greater collaboration and transparency between them and their clients, and believe that clients expect firms to better leverage technology to help achieve this. Additionally — and not surprisingly — 78% of legal departments view collaboration tools as the top technology investment.

Collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams provide an easy and efficient way for fee earners to share information, communicate via voice and chat, author and collaborate on documents, and manage tasks. A recent report[2] also shows that Microsoft Teams users save valuable time by not having to constantly switch between applications; instead, users can view information sources within the platform itself. Consequently, information workers save 15 minutes per day and first line workers save 5 minutes per day; the total time savings over 3 years translates to nearly $4.8 million.

As the way we work continues to evolve, it will be critical for law firms to embrace collaboration tools that not only bring teams and information together, but also help maintain and enforce firms’ security and governance standards.

Addressing the gaps in Microsoft Teams

With millions of professional users, Microsoft Teams is one of most popular collaboration tools for professional services firms. Part of the reason for its popularity is that it’s included in Microsoft 365 — a suite many legal firms were already using before the pandemic. By using Microsoft Teams, law firms could avoid paying for a third-party collaboration tool and instead get more value from their Microsoft 365 investment.

Microsoft Teams lets professionals communicate via video or chat, share and store files, and collaborate in real time on documents —all in one place. Despite its many benefits, Microsoft Teams remains a horizontal platform, and isn’t designed to meet the specific needs of law firms “out of the box.”

For example, law firms need to have strict processes and permissions in place to ensure fee earners don’t share inappropriate information with others, both internally and externally. Unfortunately, Microsoft Teams doesn’t provide the level of security and governance legal firms require.

In a typical deployment scenario, Microsoft Teams users could easily create a team with the wrong people — or add the wrong people to an existing team — and give them access to sensitive data. Users may also lose track of information if they create too many teams, or they may lose the data altogether if they delete a team.

Legal firms need to be able to fully manage their data in a secure and organized manner, and ensure their professionals have appropriate access and permissions. Although they can’t do this solely with Microsoft Teams, Intapp Workspaces allows law firms to enhance governance, increase security, and gather information across multiple systems into a “single pane of glass” view for fee earners and support staff. This reduces the overhead of administration, mitigates risk, and increases efficiency.

Adding a legal-centric layer to your Microsoft 365 investment

As part of the OnePlace Collaboration & Content suite, Intapp Workspaces helps law firms improve their Microsoft 365 experience by offering the necessary capabilities that Microsoft 365 lacks. With Intapp Workspaces, leaders can approve the creation of teams to ensure these teams are correctly configured, include the appropriate members, and have security measures in place so only those with access can view and share certain files or chats.

Intapp Workspaces also streamlines law firm professionals’ preferred ways of working in Microsoft 365, gathering disjointed engagement information from Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, and other firm applications (e.g., data management systems) into a single pane of glass. Professionals can easily access the firm’s collective intelligence from the familiar platform of Microsoft 365 — a benefit which will likely accelerate adoption rates, especially among those resistant to change.

Watch our recent webinar recording to learn more about OnePlace Collaboration & Content, and discover how Intapp Workspaces can help solve your unique challenges while also unifying matter-centric workspaces within Microsoft Teams.

Schedule a demo to learn how OnePlace Collaboration & Content and Intapp Workspaces can improve collaboration across your firm.

 

[1] The 2021 Wolters Kluwer Future Ready Lawyer Survey: Moving Beyond the Pandemic. Wolters Kluwer, 2021, 14.

[2] The Total Economic Impact™ Of Microsoft Teams: Improved Employee And Company Performance. Forrester Total Economic Impact and Microsoft, 2019, 4.

Written by:

Leigh Smith

Practice Group Leader, OnePlace Collaboration & Content

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