The Role of Microsoft Office 365 for Lawyers & Law Firms

Lawyers and law firms all over the world depend on the tools included in the Microsoft Office 365 suite. Cloud service integration has made Microsoft Office 365 even more powerful when collaborating remotely with large teams. This article will cover all of the ways that lawyers and law firms are using the features of Microsoft Office 365 to optimize their workflows.

What Is Microsoft Office 365?

Microsoft Office 365 is an extremely popular SaaS suite of tools specialized for home and business use. Released in 2010, Office 365 became the go-to tool for many businesses’ daily needs. Microsoft Office 365 is versatile and regularly updated to improve the user experience.

Microsoft Office 365 is offered in several different plans such as Family, Personal, Business Basic, Business Standard, Business Premium, and Enterprise plans. Business Basic is the best plan for law firms to start with though an upgrade to a higher plan may be beneficial if more features and storage space are required.

The Business Standard plan contains all of the essential tools needed for documenting, record keeping, and creating presentations. The following applications are included:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Outlook
  • SharePoint
  • OneDrive
  • Teams

Microsoft Office 365 also includes access to Copilot AI, Microsoft’s advanced chatbot. Copilot AI can be used to generate helpful documentation and analyze data to simplify workflows and optimize processes for Law firms. Copilot AI is fully integrated with many Microsoft Office 365 applications like Word, Excel, SharePoint, Outlook, OneDrive, Teams, PowerPoint, and more.

Why Microsoft Office 365 for Law Firms and Lawyers?

There is a good reason that Microsoft Office 365 is used by so many lawyers and law firms. One of the main reasons Microsoft 365 Office has become so popular for use in law firm settings is because the tools included are all compliant with industry standards like FISMA and HIPPA.

Compliance with industry standards allows law firms and lawyers to use these Microsoft tools for versioning, record-keeping, and eDiscovery. Data is kept secure using cloud-based technology.

Services and users can be easily managed using Microsoft Office 365 through to single admin portal. This adds another layer of security that can block phishing attempts, spam, and malware. Apps4Rent can help set up Microsoft Office 365 for law firms/lawyers and ensure that you have access to all of the current security protocols available.

Microsoft Office 365 tools like OneDrive can help reduce the amount of paper needed to keep up with the latest documents by acting as an online briefcase. OneDrive features cloud technology so documents are available anywhere, at any time.

Office 365 is a versatile set of tools that is easily adaptable to the different needs of a lawyer. Apps4Rent can help figure out which tools your law firm would benefit from the most and get you set up with an Office 365 license today!

Is Microsoft Office 365 Safe for Law Firms/ Lawyers?

Microsoft Office 365 is safe for law firms and lawyers to use during everyday work. The tools included in the Office 365 suite are compliant with industry standards including HIPPA, FISMA, and EU Model clauses.

Documents are kept secure inside the applications with flexible version control, permissions, and updated security protocols. Microsoft Office 365 has been designed to be a safe and secure suite of tools for lawyers and law firms to use when handling everyday work tasks.

If using Copilot AI in your law firm, extra security precautions may be necessary to ensure that client data is being handled safely and securely. This can be done by ensuring that all ethical and legal standards are met when using AI to analyze documents or other sensitive data.

As long as Copilot AI is used responsibly in a law firm’s workflow, it is extremely safe to use.

Microsoft Office 365 Apps and Tools for Every Lawyer/ Law Firm

The following tools and applications are some of the most useful for a lawyer and law firms based on the type of work that is being done.

  • Microsoft 365 App Groups

    Microsoft 365 App Groups help teams collaborate easily. App Groups allow users to pick sets of team members for collaboration and set up shared resource points. This includes calendars, Outlook, and SharePoint.

  • Microsoft 365 Flow

    Microsoft 365 Flow is a tool that can be used to automate tasks and workflows. Repetitive tasks within the law firm can be easily automated, freeing up lawyers to deal with more pressing issues. Key parts of the process can be automated like document drafting and notification, streamlining the delivery and approval process.

  • Microsoft 365 Forms

    Microsoft 365 Forms are widely used across many industries. These forms can be used for customer feedback by designing surveys, questionnaires, and intake forms. These forms can even be uploaded to the web so they may be accessed by larger groups.

  • Copilot for Microsoft Office 365

    Copilot for Microsoft 365 is one of the newest tools being used by lawyers/law firms and other industry people. Copilot is an AI chatbot with the ability to generate documentation, create presentations, and analyze data, all within the Microsoft Office 365 suite of tools.

    Copilot AI works by using user prompts and context to generate results. It can be used to draft documents easily by simply giving Copilot the necessary context for the document. Integration into Word, Excel, and PowerPoint makes using the power of AI easier than ever, without ever having to leave the application.

    Copilot is an optional add-on for Microsoft Office 365 applications though many lawyers have found that it is an essential tool for optimizing their workflows.

copilot for microsoft 365
Discover how Copilot revolutionizes legal practice.

How Law Firms Use Microsoft Office 365 Features Effectively?

Law firms can use Microsoft Office 365 tools effectively in many different ways. The software suite is extremely versatile and adapts to most workflows and business requirements. Some of the most common ways to use the tools included for lawyers have been detailed in the sections below.

  • Microsoft Word for a Law Firm

    Microsoft Word can be used by law firms to create documentation, edit dispositions, and create newsletters, announcements, and other document types. Word is one of the most popular word processors in the world. It has several key features that make it a good choice for lawyers including cloud compatibility, an in-app editor, and Copilot AI integration.

  • Microsoft Excel for a Law Firm

    Excel is a popular spreadsheet application included with Microsoft Office 365. Many law firms and lawyers use Excel to store and manage data in spreadsheet form for easy analysis. Excel features cloud compatibility and Copilot integration for automating data analysis inside the spreadsheet.

  • Microsoft PowerPoint for a Law Firm

    Microsoft PowerPoint can be used by law firms to create presentations. PowerPoint is a popular presentation creator application that allows users to use text and images to create unique presentations based on unique requirements. PowerPoint includes Copilot integration for automatic presentation generation.

  • Microsoft Access for a Law Firm

    Microsoft Access is another useful application for law firms that can be used as a database management system. While typically used by software developers, law firms may find the database features useful for housing information outside of Excel spreadsheets.

  • Microsoft Publisher for a Law Firm

    Microsoft Publisher can be used by law firms for publishing documentation with an emphasis on page layout and graphic design. While this lacks the proofreading and text composition of Word, it allows for a more complete and comprehensive publishing experience by allowing special formatting and design tools.

  • Microsoft Exchange Online for a Law Firm

    Exchange Online can be used by law firms as a cloud-based messaging platform. Using Exchange Online, users can collaboratively connect to Office 365 applications like Outlook to share mailboxes, calendars, and global address lists. Exchange features hosting provided by Microsoft, so all files and data are secure and accessible, with added protection against data loss.

  • SharePoint Online for a Law Firm

    Microsoft SharePoint is especially useful for law firms as it provides one place for all documentation to be stored and accessed by team members. User guides, help documents, and other team resources can be uploaded to SharePoint and viewed at any time by authorized parties. This allows law firms to keep their internal documentation up-to-date easily. SharePoint uses cloud technology to store important documents so data loss is not an issue.

  • OneDrive for Business for a Law Firm

    OneDrive for Business is another useful tool for law firms that allows for the storage of important files in the cloud so they may be accessed by authorized team members. Team members can access OneDrive documents from anywhere in the world as long as the owner has shared access with them. This makes collaborating remotely much more efficient. Cloud technology ensures that files uploaded are never lost and accessible at any time.

  • Microsoft Forms for a Law Firm

    Microsoft Forms are popularly used by law firms to gather customer data. Law firms can use Forms to create questionnaires and other basic forms that can be filled out. Intake forms and website questionnaires are popular forms types used by law firms. Forms created may be published easily on websites, making them easy to access for target audiences.

  • Calendars for a Law Firm

    Microsoft Calendar can give law firms an easy way to handle scheduling online. Copilot AI integration can help with automatic scheduling. Shared calendars can be accessed by team members to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

  • Tasks and To-Do’s for a Law Firm

    Tasks and To-Dos can be used by a law firm to keep up with current project status. Using To-Dos, tasks can be easily tracked and prioritized, with team members being able to update their progress remotely using the Cloud wherever they are.

  • Invoicing for a Law Firm

    Invoicing can be extremely useful for a law firm when it comes time to create business invoices. Microsoft Invoicing provides templates for easy invoice creation and can even be automated to send them out.

  • Intune for a Law Firm

    Microsoft Intune can be used by law firms as a cloud-based endpoint management system. Using Intune, administrators can manage user access to law firm resources through the cloud.

What Are the Benefits of Microsoft Office 365 for Law Firms?

  • Improved Workflow and Functionality

    At a law firm, team members often have different roles and responsibilities to handle. Being able to manage and integrate workflows collaboratively is one of the biggest benefits of using Microsoft Office 365. Using Office 365, teams can share important data and documents and coordinate legal matters remotely.

  • Storage and Management of Documents

    Another key benefit of using Microsoft Office 365 is efficient and safe storage and management of sensitive files and documents. Law firms deal with many different types of documents and data types during a normal workday. Being able to safely store this data and access it when needed is a benefit of using the Microsoft Office 365 suite of tools.

    Collaborating on these documents is also easier due to cloud integration, allowing edits from team members remotely. SharePoint, OneDrive, and Exchange are all applications that can facilitate safe and secure document management. These tools can also be easily integrated with other Office applications like Outlook, Power BI, and Delve.

  • Convenient Mobility Usage

    It is common for lawyers to have to work out of the office or on the go. Microsoft Office 365 allows for quick remote access to stored information and documentation. Being able to work remotely is one of the biggest draws of using Microsoft Office 365 in a law firm workflow.

  • Improved Client Relationship Management

    Client relationship management (CRM) is easier using Microsoft Office 365. This is an essential element of any law firm, as growing a list of satisfied clients is vital for success. Using SharePoint and Dynamics 365, teams can manage and track client communications while running enhanced, dynamic campaigns. These campaigns can help address a client’s need while improving client acquisition for the law firm.

  • Enhanced Security

    Microsoft Office 365 applications offer enhanced security for all documents and data stored within the applications. This adds a safeguard for client data, which is vital in a law firm setting. Cloud technology ensures that no data is ever lost and is always easily accessible when needed.

  • Copilot Integration with Microsoft Office 365

    Copilot AI integration with Office 365 applications is one of the newer benefits lawyers are discovering when using the suite. Copilot AI can be used to generate documentation, analyze data, and create presentations based on user context. Lawyers are already harnessing the power of Copilot AI to automate repetitive parts of their workday and create more consistent documentation.

If you are ready to get started with Office 365, contact Apps4Rent today!

How to Implement Microsoft 365 in Your Law Firm?

Getting set up with Microsoft 365 in your law firm is fast and easy. Apps4Rent can provide you with a license for your select plan and even help you get everything installed and set up for use by your whole team.

After choosing a license and downloading the software, you simply need to start using tools and applications like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint in your day-to-day workflows.

The applications are straightforward to use, ensuring that the entire team will have no issues getting set up and familiar with the different features of each application.

Which Microsoft Office Plans Should Your Law Firm Sign Up For?

  • Microsoft 365 Business Basic

    Microsoft 365 Business Basic is the best plan for law firms who are interested in trying out the features of Office 365. The plan is only $6 per user/month and an annual subscription cost is offered. The plan comes with user management features, custom business emails, web and mobile versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook, and access to Microsoft Teams. OneDrive, SharePoint, and Exchange applications are also included.

  • Microsoft 365 Business Standard

    Microsoft 365 Business Standard is the next best option for law firms who are familiar with Office 365 tools and how they work into the daily processes of the firm. It includes everything from the Basic plan plus desktop versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. It is available for $12.50 per user/month.

  • Microsoft 365 Business Premium

    Microsoft 365 Business Premium is the ultimate plan for law firms who have grown to depend on Office applications in their everyday workflows. This plan is available for $22 per user/month and features everything from the lower tiers as well as advanced identity and access management.

    This plan is appropriate for larger teams who already have some experience using the Microsoft Office 365 tools and applications but wish to have more control over user management.

How to Get Started with Office 365 and How Apps4Rent Can Help?

As a Microsoft Solutions Partner, Apps4Rent can provide licensing and technical support for all Microsoft 365 applications. Our team of experts is available day or night to answer any questions you may have about Office 365 and can even help get your law firm set up with a full suite of applications.

If your law firm is interested in getting set up with Microsoft Office 365, get in touch with us today to get started!

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