HotDocs offers SaaS for lawyers

Jennifer Scott News
30 Jan, 2012

The Edinburgh-based firm moves its document automation software into the cloud.

HotDocs today unveiled its new Software as a Service (SaaS) application, aimed at lawyers in both the UK and US.

HotDocs Document Services claims to automate time consuming activities carried out by law firms in order to cut time and costs.

The major change would be the way client interviews are handled. Rather than talking face to face with one lawyer - who then must transcribe the interview and send it on to relevant employees at the firm - the SaaS application lets clients enter their own information from a computer at home and automatically sends it to the correct lawyers for the case.

A number of large law firms already use in-house HotDocs to transcribe the informtation onto and share on a internal HotDocs server, so the first benefit will be a cut in costs for them.

However, it is the opportunities the SaaS model will offer smaller law firms which has excited HotDocs’ chief strategy officer Leonard DuCharme.

“Until now, small law offices have been at a technological disadvantage,” he said.  “HotDocs Server, which up until now has been necessary for web-based deployment of HotDocs templates, is simply outside small-firm budgets.”

“HotDocs Document Services, in contrast, requires virtually no up-front costs and is priced so that even the smallest law offices can take advantage of its powerful features.

However, there are still security concerns around using the public cloud and law firms must be cautious about placing such sensitive client data into SaaS models.

Sally Annereau, data protection analyst at Taylor Wessing, warned prospective firms that their security was in their own hands.

"Cloud customers remain responsible as the 'data controller' under data protection law for any personal data of individuals they place within the cloud,” she told Virtual Clouds.

“This includes ensuring that their Virtual Cloudsviders have adequate organisational and technical measures in place to keep personal data secure but also considering carefully the location of their prospective cloud service provider.”

However, as an already established name within the law industry and headquarters just north of the border, HotDocs is still hoping to make a splash in the market.

UK pricing has yet to be revealed but a statement from the firm claimed US customers would face average charges of less than $20 per month.

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