Five Risks and Benefits that Show Why Lawyers Should Adopt Microsoft 365 for Secure Client Document Management

Legal Documents

Lawyers handling complex files and documents with their clients are well acquainted with the challenges that must be navigated to ensure the secure, collaborative, and organized sharing and editing of documents, safeguarding the integrity and success of the transaction while upholding confidentiality and compliance standards.

While many industries share this use case, such as R&D-intensive firms or financial institutions, the unique nature of a lawyers' business model generates a specific set of opportunities and risks, especially when managing contracts and other documents for transactions like mergers and acquisitions (M&A). Five of the most important are:

  1. Risk mitigation. During a complex transaction, the onus is on the lawyers to ensure they have reviewed every document, and approved all edits and changes within those files, and must be able to provide an auditable record that they have done so. Failure to review these changes, or an inability to demonstrate that they did so, can create potentially expensive liability.
  2. Security and confidentiality. Lawyers handle the most sensitive information and ensuring that documents are shared securely is crucial. M&A documents, for example, often contain proprietary data, financial details, and strategic plans. Lawyers must implement robust encryption, access controls, and secure file-sharing platforms to protect this information from breaches or leaks.
  3. Collaboration and version control can be complex. Lawyers and clients may need to work on the same document simultaneously, often across different time zones or locations. Managing different versions of the contract, tracking changes, and ensuring that all parties are on the same page is a delicate balancing act.
  4. Maintaining an audit trail is essential. For example, M&A contracts undergo multiple revisions, and it's vital to have a clear record of who made what changes and when. This is not only for accountability, but also for legal compliance and due diligence purposes.
  5. Bridging the technological gap. Clients may not be familiar with the same document management tools as lawyers, necessitating user-friendly platforms and efficient training.

Given the legal industry’s well established business model, unique set of risks and opportunities, and clear ways in which it creates client value, it’s not surprising that the industry has access to a set of proprietary technical solutions that cater exclusively to lawyers. There is an obvious business justification for managing processes unique to the industry, such as document automation, client intake, and billing. But for the specific use case of managing files with clients, there is an emerging imperative to consider a more broadly utilized solution: Microsoft 365.

Microsoft 365 and the Legal Industry: The Time is Right

Microsoft 365 is one of the fastest growing productivity solutions in the world, with over 300 million commercial monthly active users. It’s a driver of value, with businesses using it experiencing a 466% return on investment over a three-year period. It’s familiar to millions of business professionals who use Excel, Word, and increasingly, Teams to complete their daily tasks. Microsoft’s strength has driven market cap growth of 64% in the last three years, valuing it at $2.5 trillion. Clients managing workloads on the platform can be assured that the company has the resources to continuously update the solution and ensure best in breed security.

Until now, it has made sense for lawyers to not adopt Microsoft solutions to the same extent as other industries. In addition to the reasons noted above, Microsoft has shown an occasional interest in developing solutions unique to lawyers, but has not sustained that focus. Recent developments mean the time is right for lawyers to adopt Microsoft-based solutions, especially for managing collaboration with clients.

First, lawyers must take cybersecurity very seriously, and Microsoft 365 and Entra (formerly known as Azure) offer unparalleled security measures, making them a trustworthy choice for organizations seeking robust data protection. With extensive investments in cybersecurity, Microsoft implements industry-leading technologies such as multi-factor authentication, data encryption, and advanced threat intelligence. Their continuous monitoring and prompt response to emerging threats ensure rapid mitigation and remediation. Additionally, Microsoft's extensive compliance certifications, including ISO 27001 and GDPR, demonstrate their commitment to meeting rigorous security standards. Leveraging a comprehensive security framework and a global network of data centres, Microsoft provides organizations with a secure environment to store, process, and manage their sensitive data, instilling confidence in their ability to safeguard critical assets.

Second, lawyers are beginning to use Microsoft solutions like Teams, both for internal collaboration and for client meetings. This increased usage is creating one of Microsoft 365’s most compelling value propositions: enabling a wide range of tasks to be managed through a single license, creating healthy ROI by reducing license costs and application proliferation. In addition, lawyers can bridge the technological gap by working with the same tools as their clients, notably Word and Excel.

Third, while Microsoft 365 is continuously improving, it is also a well-established, stable, and scalable platform with a strong ecosystem of vendors who know how to address its issues and accentuate its strengths. Extranet User Manager (EUM), for example, has a proven set of solutions for making Microsoft simple. Our solutions shield users from the complexities of Microsoft 365, enabling each department to implement it within established processes.

A Data Room Optimized for Lawyers

In addition to making Microsoft simple, Extranet User Manager and our parent company, Envision IT, have an established track record in developing solutions for the legal industry. We have built on this sector experience by consulting with experts in the legal industry to optimize a solution that will allow lawyers who are managing complex transactions involving multiple files with their clients, such as M&A. EUM’s Data Room for lawyers provides a complete solution that makes it simple to address the challenges that must be navigated to ensure the secure, collaborative, and organized sharing and editing of documents, safeguarding the integrity and success of the transaction while upholding confidentiality and compliance standards. Four of the main benefits are:

  1. Risk control. Microsoft has best in breed identity management and an intense focus on governance and compliance. It offers a comprehensive solution for tracking edits and changes to documents that can be linked to individual users, provides alerts to document owners with interactions archivable for future-proof of compliance.
  2. Simple user interface optimized for legal processes. For lawyers and their clients, the user experience must be simple and focus on the specific documents required to manage transactions using established legal processes. The Data Room for lawyers features a radically simplified UI that has been configured to support processes unique to legal transactions.
  3. Bridging the technological gap. All the files managed in the Data Room are Microsoft applications, primarily Word and Excel, eliminating the need for client training and change management.
  4. Highly secure and simple permissions management. The combination of M365 and Azure, and Azure AD if it’s managed within an organization’s established processes, provides extraordinarily strong Information Security when engaging with external stakeholders. One of EUM’s core competencies is eliminating the complexity of configuring permission management. The IT department is involved at the beginning of the deployment. They set up Delegated User Management, with administrators configuring permission structures with peace of mind knowing the permissions are set, and they are simply delegating user management to a business user that owns the relationship with their audience.

There has never been a more important time for lawyers to mitigate risk, maintain security and confidentiality, simplify collaboration and version control, and maintain an audit trail while bridging the technological gap. By unleashing the full power of Microsoft, the EUM Data Room for lawyers makes it simple for them to do so.

Latest Articles

Related Pages

{{#if RollupImage}} {{Title}} {{else}} {{/if}}
{{{hyperlink RelativeURL Title Title null}}}
{{#if EventStartDate}}

{{eventDate EventStartDate EventEndDate}}

{{/if}} {{#if PublishedDate1}}

{{generalDate PublishedDate1}}

{{/if}} {{#if RollupContent}}



{{{hyperlink RelativeURL Title "Read more..." null}}}