Solicitors nowadays are much more inclined to use technology in their line of work than they ever used to be. This may have something to do with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing professionals and organisations in many different professional sectors to adopt technology to accommodate for the restrictions that were placed on their ability to work. For example, the use of videoconferencing solutions in the legal sector has increased significantly, to the point where virtual court proceedings have become quite common.
Microsoft 365 for Solicitors
It is important for solicitors to be using the right technology for their work; and in the legal sector, Microsoft 365 is becoming very popular as a full productivity solution. We discussed this with TechQuarters, a London-based Microsoft partner with experience providing business IT support London based solicitors and law firms use. We asked them about Microsoft 365, and its use in the legal sector, and they had a lot to say about it.
What Products in Microsoft 365 are Useful to Solicitors
As most people are aware by now, Microsoft 365 is a suite of products and services aimed at businesses, which provides extensive functionality for everyday work purposes. TechQuarters often refers to it as a ‘business-in-a-box’ product, because it is very easy to setup and equips organisations with everything they need for their work. But what products are included which can help solicitors with their line of work?
Firstly, you have the Office apps, which are probably the most well-known of the products in the plan. They include Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
All of these products are widely known and used in all professional sectors. With Word, you get powerful word processing capabilities, including templates, macros, the ability to insert images, tables, lists and graphics, and a very diverse range of text and page formatting capabilities. Excel is the ubiquitous spreadsheet editing software, and many individuals and organisations use it to arrange, process, and analyse data. Finally, you have PowerPoint, which is one of the most feature-heavy presentation applications in the business world – experts in PowerPoint can create highly detailed and complex presentations.
Often considered to be the fourth ‘Office app’ (although it is slightly less well-known), OneNote is a cloud-based notebook application. In OneNote, you can create different notebooks, in which you can have separate sections and pages. As with Word, it offers rich text, lists and tables, graphics and images, and much more. For solicitors, who often need to be able to take detailed notes, OneNote is a perfect solution; and because it is cloud-based, notes in OneNote can be accessed anywhere, at any time.
OneDrive & SharePoint
Cloud storage and file management are two things that Microsoft 365 excel at, thanks to OneDrive and SharePoint. Both offer cloud storage, but in different ways.
Firstly, you have OneDrive, which provides 1TB of personal storage for every single user; this is ideal for solicitors who may wish to work on the go, and need to be able to access all of their files across multiple devices (such as PC, tablet or phone, etc.) and OneDrive offers synchronised file storage.
Then, you have SharePoint, which is a heavier-weight solution aimed at organisation and department-level file management. It is a cloud platform that uses sites (which are a type of workspace on the platform) to help organisations organise their departments and teams. Within a site, files can be stored securely with strict access controls – thus, it is a very good file management solution for the legal sector.
Microsoft Teams is a platform that offers centralised collaboration, and unified communication. According to TechQuarters, who have used Teams since its launch, and have extensive experience providing IT support for solicitors, Teams is one of the most useful products in Microsoft 365. It offers chat, calling, and video communication, as well as integration with OneDrive and SharePoint (and several other third-party cloud storage platforms). Teams supports the creation and opening of Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, and OneNote notebooks, so the flow of work for solicitors can be streamlined considerably within the platform.