Virtual Lawyer Moves to the Cloud - Case Study

May 31, 2010
Salt Lake City, UT
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James Linehan uses NetDocuments to run a cloud based legal practice.

James Linehan runs a solo law firm in Oklahoma City. He is a pioneer in legal technology and has been running a virtual paperless firm for over 10 years. With the emergence of cloud technologies, James has eliminated his need for servers and software and now runs his practice from the cloud.


Although James Linehan had been running a virtual law firm for 10 years, he wanted to eliminate the stress caused by local servers and file backups, as well as the difficulties he was having in being able to work from anywhere.

"My biggest fear before was due to me storing all of my client files on my computer. I'd then have to separately back them up to a hard drive or portable drive and switch them out every week. And as you know, every now and then those would just quit so you don't know if you are getting a good back up. Then there was always a risk of having a catastrophe or your computer burning out and I would have lost everything," recalled James. "Also, to get to my files on the go, I had to make sure my computer was up and running the whole time while I was gone, and make sure I had a program like Gotomypc™ on the remote computer at the hotel or wherever I was working, which rarely had it, so I'd have to download and install it. I needed it to be much easier."


When James heard about NetDocuments, he instantly recognized the benefits of moving to the cloud. "I saw the major advantage of it being SaaS. I did a free trial, liked what I saw, talked to my sales rep and was then completely up and running with all my documents within hours. I didn't have to order a product from [NetDocuments] and wait for a CD to arrive or even download or install anything. Traditional software is always a pain to me,"

Not only was James up and running that same day, he was also able to leave his old life of backups and IT headaches behind. "Now that I'm with NetDocuments, I don't have to worry about [servers and backups]. That is the best thing about it. You've got multiple redundant backups built in so I don't have to worry about backing up, saving, backing up, saving and then keep worrying about if it is still working or not."

Moving to the cloud also allowed James to work from anywhere. "Now I can access my client files from anywhere I'm at whenever I'm on the road from any computer. I was presenting in a seminar in downtown OKC the other day and while I was waiting to present I was able to work on client files from right there. It was great. I also like that I can now take my laptop and go work on my porch or in the backyard on nice days."

Along with reducing IT hassles and becoming more mobile, James has seen a cost savings with NetDocuments. "There is big cost savings for me. Last year I tried using an online backup solution but it was very slow and took forever to upload documents. NetDocuments is much faster, better, more organized and the cost is right on."


One of the biggest benefits to Jim is the ability to easily organize his work by clients and matter. "I use workspaces which organize my emails, documents and faxes based on clients. And because there is a specific email address for each client's workspace, when I have a client email me a document, I have him or her email it directly to his or her workspace. Now when a client calls to ask if we discussed something over email, I can instantly pull up their workspace and say yea or nay."

He summarized the functional benefits of NetDocuments by saying, "The email management, scanning ability, unique email addresses and the simplicity of it are the main benefits for me with NetDocuments."

After 10 years of running a virtual law firm, Jim has settled on a mix of powerful technology products that let him focus on serving his clients rather than his technology. "For my whole office, other than NetDocuments, I have a Fujitsu ScanSnap scanner, a desktop and laptop computer, Oovoo for video conferencing, Gmail with Outlook for email, MS Office and a website with a live chat function so I can chat with current and prospective clients."

"When I went virtual about 10 years ago, my fellow attorneys thought I was nuts when I was scanning and shredding all of my files. Nowadays, all the big firms have done the same thing and smaller firms are starting to go virtual but it would be even better if they understood how much better something like NetDocuments would be for them. Everyone knew me as the guy that ran the virtual office, now I tell everyone that I'm a cloud office and they like it."

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