While industries including healthcare and finance have paved the way for implementing new technologies, the legal industry has been a bit more skittish, especially when it comes to cloud-based services. But according to a new LexisNexis study, the industry is at a tipping point as the gap between early adopters and the mainstream market is closing.

In fact, the study revealed that 72 percent of practicing attorneys at independent law firms in the U.S. are more likely to use cloud tools in 2014 than the previous year.

“While it’s taken the legal industry a bit longer than other industries to come around to the cloud, client expectations for collaborative services, combined with the efficiency, accessibility, and lower total cost are driving the independent attorney to adopt the cloud,” Loretta Ruppert, senior director for community management at the LexisNexis Firm Manager group, said in a statement.

Furthermore, about 40 percent of practicing attorneys in independent U.S. law firms are already using cloud-based tools — an increase of nearly 10 percent. 40 percent of respondents believe that cloud-based tools will eclipse premise-based solutions in the next three to five years.

“We’ve clearly hit a tipping point as the gap between early adopters and the mainstream market is closing; 2014 is poised to be the year of the cloud in small law,” Ruppert added.

Perhaps the hesitation to adopt cloud-based services within the legal industry is due to the fact that there are many legal implications to consider.

As Symantec’s Matt Nelson recently points out, a common problem is that many corporate IT departments fail to consult with their legal department before making the decision to move company data into the cloud even though the decision may have legal consequences. He recently laid out key areas attorneys should consider before agreeing to store company data with third-party cloud providers.


For more stories on cloud technology, check out InsideCounsel’s coverage below:

Moving data to the cloud? The top 5 legal department considerations

Technology: Contracting for cloud services, a roadmap for cloud users

Technology: Preparing for the new year with cloud computing issues to watch in 2014