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Pace of Migration to Cloud at Law Firms Still Slow, Survey Finds

Aug. 7, 2019, 7:33 PM

Just one in seven law firm officials say their firms are primarily cloud-based for data storage and hosting, a new survey found.

That includes 12% of respondents to the 2019 Aderant Business of Law and Technology Survey who said their firm is “mostly” cloud-based, and only 2% who said their firm’s digital data was completely based there.

At the same time, a third of the 147 legal industry professionals from law firms worldwide surveyed said they planned to place critical systems in the cloud over the next two years.

Adrerant is a legal business management software provider.

“It’s not a question of if but when a firm will move,” Craig Bayer, a legal tech consultant with Optiable, a document management software company, said in an essay attached to the survey. “The cloud isn’t a fad; it’s not going away. However, the key challenge that remains, is obtaining the support of the law firm leaders and partners.”

The online survey of law firm administrators, financial and accounting staffs, and IT managers, but not practicing attorneys, was conducted from April 8-May 10. Most respondents were from larger law firms in the United States, including more than half, 54%, from firms with more than 100 attorneys.

More than half of the respondents, a total 54%, said business was “better” (46%) or “much better” (8%) for their firms than it was in 2018.

Yet while business is improving, firm officials suggested they continue to face a range of challenges. They placed operational efficiently and pricing pressure at the top of the list, at 31% and 29% respectively.

Pricing issues vex firm officials less than they did last year, when 36% of respondents said it was a top challenge.

Meanwhile, only half of the survey’s respondents, 53%, said that other law firms posed the biggest competitive threats. About one in five said the most competition is coming from clients who are taking work in-house, and 15% listed alternative legal service providers.

And while robot lawyers may not have begun marching into law firms to forcibly remove human lawyers just yet, 5% listed “technology replacing attorneys” as their biggest competitive threat.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sam Skolnik in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jessie Kokrda Kamens at; Rebekah Mintzer at