Completing client work and leading your small law firm remotely requires an easy-to-use, cloud-based platform that enables your team to access their work from anywhere. This is where Google apps and G Suite come in.
Powerhouse search platform Google fuels G Suite, an integrated suite of cloud-based collaboration and productivity apps for individuals and businesses. From email to simple document organization, G Suite for lawyers offers everything you need to improve team productivity and run your firm efficiently with G suite for lawyers.
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Is Google Apps for Lawyers?
Absolutely, Google Apps and G Suite are for lawyers. If you consider yourself a forward-facing attorney, then it’s time to take advantage of the benefits these cloud-based tools have to offer:
- Cost-effective. Google offers businesses a free 14-day trial to ensure it’s right for your business. After that, G Suite starts at only $6 per user, per month and goes up depending on your needs.
- Easy to use. Google tools such as Gmail are familiar to most making the transition to G Suite simple. Plus, Google offers many helpful guides, videos, and online content to help your team get acclimated to the platform fast.
- Secure. G Suite was built with Google Cloud Platform (GCP) at its foundation. The GCP is widely hailed as the most secure cloud-based platform on the market.
Installing G Suite for Lawyers
Setting up G Suite within your office depends on who will be using the tools. For example, the set-up will be different for a solo attorney than for a large law firm. No matter the size, however, all G Suite installation processes start with the simple G Suite sign-up.
It’s important to note that G Suite is a cloud-based suite of tools that don’t require a traditional install. You can use G Suite from any browser, although the Chrome browser is the most useful. You can also download the relevant Google apps to your devices for working on the go.
Setting Up G Suite as a Small Law Firm
Once you begin the set-up process by selecting a sign-up option, Google makes it simple. You’ll start by entering your law firm name and contact information in the relevant fields. You’ll also need to enter your business domain name if you have one. If you don’t, Google will help you find one so that you can use G suite for lawyers.
To finish the set-up, you’ll choose a username and a password for your G Suite account. Now, simply review your account and finish the checkout process. After the initial set-up, Google will send you to your new G Suite Admin Console where you can choose your settings (more on this later).
For more help setting up your G Suite account, check out Google’s Quick Start guides.
Features, Add-Ons & Pricing
G Suite for lawyers offers a wide range of applications that you can choose from, including:
- Gmail. Gmail is an industry-leading business email service that includes many features such as email scheduling, AI email composing, offline access, and more.
- Meet. Formerly known as Google Hangouts, Meet is Google’s video conferencing app, perfect for use from your browser or mobile device.
- Calendar. Google Calendar allows you to schedule events and share them across calendars, view calendars from members of your law firm, create reminders, and more.
- Drive. Drive is a file storage service that allows you to open your firm’s files on your desktop or browser from anywhere.
- Docs. Docs is a document creation app with features such as smart editing and many formatting tools. Plus, any Google Doc you create will show up automatically inside Drive for easy storage and file location.
- Sheets. Creating complex spreadsheets isn’t a problem for Sheets. The app offers spreadsheet templates, remote access, and more to keep your data easy to use and visible at all times.
- Slides. Slides enables you to create professional presentations for your firm that include embedded video and animations. Plus, you can access your presentations anywhere from your phone, tablet, or computer, completely offline.
- Keep. Keep is an easy to use notetaking app that allows you to create notes, lists, and more. It’s perfect for team brainstorming and taking notes during meetings with clients.
G Suite for Lawyers Add-Ons
Although G Suite comes with everything you need for collaboration, there are plenty of available add-ons inside the G Suite Marketplace. These add-ons integrate seamlessly with G Suite to take your work to the next level.
For example, do you use Clio as your practice management software? Clio offers an add-on for Gmail to improve the way you email in your firm. Other popular add-ons include:
To Pay or Not to Pay?
As an individual, you’re able to use many Google apps for free. For example, you may already use Meet to speak with your team members who are working from home. G Suite, however, is a subscription-based platform that requires a monthly fee.
Should you pay or continue using the free version of these apps? If you want to take advantage of the business-oriented functions included in G Suite, you’ll need to pay. Trust us, it’s worth it. With a business account, you can:
- Manage user and data permissions using the Google Admin Console for added security
- Increase your document and file storage limits
- Retain, archive, and search data, as well as obtain audit reports to track user activity using the Vault app
- Manage mobile devices remotely to reduce the risk of data loss due to lost or stolen devices
- Obtain 24/7 customer support for G Suite issues and concerns
How Much Does G Suite Cost?
Currently, there are three types of G Suite to choose from: Basic, Business, and Enterprise. The Basic account will cost you $6 per user per month while the Business and Enterprise accounts will cost you $12 and $25 per user per month, respectively.
For small law firms, the Basic and Business accounts may be the best choice. Just be sure to weigh all the options before you choose.
Is Google Drive Secure for Lawyers?
The short answer is yes. All G Suite apps were built on the Google Cloud Platform, the most secure cloud-based platform on the market. And, according to Google, the company undergoes independent verification of their security, privacy, and compliance controls to help you meet specific regulations.
Google meets all the requirements of:
- ISO/IEC 27001
- ISO/IEC 27017
- ISO/IEC 27018
- SOC 1/2/3
- PCI DSS
- CSA STAR
It’s important to note that all data files uploaded to Google Drive are stored in secure data centers.
Unfortunately, no platform can be 100% secure at all times. As technology continues to evolve, cybercriminals do, too. To ensure your data files are secure, it’s best to keep a few practices top-of-mind when using the platform:
- Use two-factor authentication to add an extra layer of security to your documents and files. G Suite offers free two-factor authentication features built right in.
- Practice good password hygiene and ensure your passwords include letters, numbers, and special characters.
- When using your device in public, log-in using a VPN to protect sensitive data.
Terms of Service
Google requires your consent to G Suite’s Terms of Service before you join the platform. As an attorney, it’s critical to familiarize yourself with these terms. Some terms of special note include:
- Confidentiality obligations. According to Google’s terms, “Each party will: (a) protect the other party’s Confidential Information with the same standard of care it uses to protect its own Confidential Information; and (b) not disclose the Confidential Information, except to Affiliates, employees and agents who need to know it and who have agreed in writing to keep it confidential.”
- Data transfer. According to Google’s terms, “Google has implemented at least industry standard systems and procedures to ensure the security and confidentiality of Customer Data, protect against anticipated threats or hazards to the security or integrity of Customer Data, and protect against unauthorized access to or use of Customer Data.”
- Intellectual property rights. According to the terms, “Except as expressly set forth herein, this Agreement does not grant either party any rights, implied or otherwise, to the other’s content or any of the other’s intellectual property. As between the parties, Customer owns all Intellectual Property Rights in Customer Data, and Google owns all Intellectual Property Rights in the Services.”
Using G Suite, for Lawyers
Just like any other tech tool, getting the most out of G Suite and Google apps takes some practice. Get a jump start using these simple tips and tricks.
Using the G Suite Admin Console
The G Suite Admin Console is where you’ll spend some time as the leader of your firm. It’s the place you’ll go to add users, manage devices, and configure your security settings to keep your data safe. Inside the console, you’ll find various options, including:
- Users. Under the Users section, you’ll be able to update your team’s passwords, see what documents they’re storing, change their admin roles, assign licenses, and more.
- Reports. The Reports tool allows you to access reports for your users, as well as your firm. For example, you can see reports about how each account is being used, as well as reports on the security of your files.
- Device Management. Using Device Management, you can change sync and security settings for various mobile devices. For example, if one of your team members loses a mobile device, you can seamlessly inactivate the device to protect your data from the console.
- Security. Set password strength rules, monitor passwords, set-up single sign-on options, set-up user authentication, and more inside the Security tool.
- Support. The Support tool will take you to a wealth of online resources to make using G Suite simple. Plus, it’ll give you access to the contact information for Google’s 24/7 support team.
Basic Tips & Tricks for the G Suite Beginner
It’s impossible for us to uncover all of G Suite’s secrets here. So we’ve compiled five of our favorite quick tips to make getting started easier for you and your firm:
- Use Cloud Search. The Cloud Search tool found inside G Suite is a single search engine that allows you to search all of your apps at once to find a specific file. The tool will save you the unnecessary time it takes to manually search each app.
- Set expiration dates inside Drive. As an attorney, you may need to collaborate on sensitive files with other attorneys or your legal team. Inside the Shared Settings menu in Drive, set expiration dates to ensure the other party can see the file for only a certain period.
- Send emails requiring two-factor authentication. Using Gmail, you’ll find Confidential Mode inside the draft mode of any message. Here, you can send an email requiring two-factor authentication to protect sensitive contents.
- Compare documents inside Docs. It’s common for us attorneys to need to compare two documents at once to find changes. Use the Compare tool inside Docs to do so quickly and simply.
- Skip conflicting times when scheduling meetings. Using the Suggested Times tool in Calendar, Google will recommend timeslots for new events based on your team members’ calendars. This will help ensure meetings make sense for everyone that’s required to attend.
Remember, Google offers many online resources chock full of tips and tricks for using G Suite. They even created an online checklist of things to do to ensure you’re ready to use G Suite in your firm.
The Future of the Law Firm Is Cloud-Based
We know that the law firm of today and tomorrow is cloud-based, mobile and paperless. We also know the thought of making it happen seems overwhelming. A simple switch to G Suite can make the digital transformation of your firm easier to manage.
You don’t have to do it all in a day. You can take baby steps. Try saving all of your files to Drive first. Or try Google Calendar to schedule your meetings. As you get comfortable, you can continue implementing the rest of G Suite over time.
Learn More About Law Firm Technology by Downloading the First Chapter of The Small Firm Roadmap Today
G Suite is an excellent tool for attorneys looking to the future of law practice. Yet, we know that the vast amount of tech tool choices out there can be overwhelming. Our new book, “The Small Firm Roadmap” can help. Download the first chapter today.