Efficient, secure and reliable communication is essential for law firms and their clients. While email remains a primary mode of communication, it does pose certain risks. Many law firms are now adopting alternative communication models such as secure portals, collaborative platforms like Teams, Google Workspace and Intranet systems. It is important to acknowledge that email still has and probably will always have its place in communications. Some clients, particularly those less tech-savvy or traditional, may prefer email, and it can be an effective tool for new enquiries. However, forward thinking firms are transitioning from the traditional reliance on email and now use email to support other forms of communication. While maintaining email access, many firms are embracing more secure and efficient solutions which enhance collaboration and communication between teams and clients.  

The Security Risks of Email  

Email communication is inherently insecure. According to the UK National Cyber Security Centre, the most common type of cyber incident reported in the last year was phishing, with law firms being particularly vulnerable due to the sensitive nature of the data they handle. In fact, a report from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) found that 75% of UK law firms experienced a cyber-attack in the last year, with email being the primary target. Using emails for day-to-day communications can leave law firms vulnerable and open to cyber threats.  

Inefficiency and Time Management  

Emails can be incredibly time consuming. According to a study by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), UK employees spend an average of 2.5 hours per day managing emails. For lawyers, this translates to a significant number of billable hours lost managing emails rather than focusing on client work and case preparation. This inefficiency can hinder productivity and slow down crucial processes and impact client satisfaction.  

Lack of Organisation and Tracking  

Email threads can become complicated and hard to follow, especially when several people are involved. Important documents can get buried in long chains of messages, leading to miscommunication and missed deadlines. A survey by Workfront found that 56% of UK professionals feel overwhelmed by their email workload. In law firms, precision and clarity are paramount and overwhelming email chains and poorly managed inboxes can be detrimental.  

Impact of Client Experience  

Clients expect prompt and clear communication from their legal representatives. However, emails can often lead to delays and misunderstandings. A study by the Legal Services Consumer Panel in the UK found that the average response time for email enquiries is over 24 hours, which may not meet the expectations of clients who require immediate assistance and updates and what is often stressful times. This is where more collaborative solutions such as portals can provide a much quicker response time as notifications are clearer and most of these systems will integrate into the firm’s case management systems.  

Regulatory and Compliance Issues  

Law firms must adhere to strict regulatory standards to protect client information and confidentiality. Email, with its susceptibility to interception and unauthorized access, poses a significant risk. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in the UK has emphasized the importance of secure communication methods to comply with data protection regulations.  

Cashroom’s Secure Client Portal  

At Cashroom, we understand the critical importance of secure and efficient communication for law firms. That’s why we moved away from email communication over 10 years ago and implemented a robust and secure client portal. Our portal streamlines processes, making it easy to track communication threads in one place, uses efficient task management and provides firms with a clear audit trail in line with compliance regulations. All communication between Cashroom clients and our cashiers is done via our portal, all client information is stored in the portal securely. Requests can be private for sensitive information and only those users added into the request are able to view details, add comments and make amends.  

Clients receive instant notifications and can access their information from any device, ensuring they stay informed and engaged on the go. By logging in on the go, clients can experience a seamless and responsive communication process, enhancing their overall experience and satisfaction.  

Again, it is important to acknowledge while we use the portal for 90% of communications, all our team members have dedicated mailboxes and email communication is used when needed or when a client prefers this method of communication for certain aspects of our work. However, all sensitive matters are dealt with via the portal for security reasons.  

Law firms deal with sensitive information daily, moving away from traditional email communication and adopting secure alternative solutions can improve security, efficiency and client satisfaction. Law firms should be embracing these advancements in technology where they can enhance the way they communicate with each other and their clients to increase productivity, efficiency and security in their practice overall.  

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About Cashroom

Cashroom provides expert outsourced accounting services for Law Firms including Legal Cashiering, Management Accounts and Payroll services. Our mission is to free lawyers from the complexities of legal accounting by supporting the industry with accurate management information and allowing lawyers to do what they do best – practice law.

‘The Cashroom have been an integral part of MBM from their inception. They has supported the growth of MBM from a small firm of 15 people all the way to the 70+ partners and staff now working in the firm. I have first hand experience of the wealth of skill employed within the business and the cashiering knowledge is unrivalled. The fluid ability of Cashroom to adapt to the changing requirements of a firm on a daily basis, as well as the ability to cover holiday periods seamlessly would be a benefit to any law firm. The Cashroom portal provides a first class workflow system for all cashiering requests and, more importantly, provides the level of security that email instructions do not. Cashroom provide both a cost effective fully outsourced service that can deliver almost everything that an internal finance team would be charged with, as well as a wraparound service to support an internal finance team.’ 

Stewart MacBride
Finance Director, MBM Commercial LLP
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