About Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams has become a great meeting application for law firms because it’s so easy to use and offers so many great features. This popular platform combines workplace chat, meetings, notes, and even allows attachments. It integrates with the Microsoft Office 365 productivity suite that includes all the familiar applications you use every day.

Is Collaboration Important?

You bet! Legal firms need to collaborate on a number of things these days. MS Teams makes it easy to share files, edit documents, and exchange calendars. The Teams app provides a hub where team members can share ideas, content and to-dos. The chats and conversations are easy to follow and you’ll be alerted when new chats appear.

Want to Meet Face-to-Face?

In the past, Teams worked with Skype for Business to give your team a great way to meet face-to-face. However, Microsoft is replacing Skype for Business and moving everything over to the Teams platform. This way, you don’t have to leave the program for face-to-face meetings. It works much the same as Skype. You can even pull in data from other applications while chatting in Teams.

Teams is linked to other Microsoft Office services such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Planner, Power BI, and Delve as well as its cloud storage and sharing services such as SharePoint.

There are lots of other ways Teams can save you and your employees time and stress:

  • Screen sharing can aid in training new staff members and sharing tips.
  • Edit files, exchange ideas.
  • Great for internal collaboration and chit-chat.
  • With virtual meetings, you can participate from anywhere.
  • Share changes in your staff’s schedules.
  • Good tool for disseminating firm news (birthdays, parties, etc.).
  • Add notes, websites or other applications.
  • Integrate email discussions.
  • Collaborate on any project.
  • Have a private discussion.
  • Communicate in 18 languages.

What About Security Risks When Using Teams?

Of course, you should never share confidential client information over Teams. Although it’s safe to use for most purposes, you wouldn’t want to take a chance. For confidential discussions about cases or projects, it’s best to use a private phone line or meet in person.

No Backup Or Export Options

Teams is pretty versatile, but it doesn’t cover everything you need. For instance, Teams isn’t a good place to house important data. For confidential info, use your enterprise cloud-based backup that your IT provider has set up for you.

Although Microsoft Teams has the ability to upload or exchange files, there’s no way to export this data.  So, if you think you’ll need to refer to data that you input in Teams, make sure you have it stored in another program.

How To Get Started

You can enable Microsoft Teams right from your Office 365 program. Simply open your Microsoft Office 365 solutions and go to Microsoft Teams. Go to “Create Team” in the bottom left corner of the screen. Name your team and enter your members’ names and email addresses. You can also easily add or remove team members as needed. To save time, use your Microsoft Outlook groups rather than entering individual names.

Next, select “Done” then “Add channel.” Give your channel a name and click “Add.”  Use the Settings tab to edit member permissions, customize your team picture and digital workspace with stickers, custom memes, emojis, and GIFs, and turn features on and off.

How To Group Legal Teams

It’s best to create Teams according to your processes, projects, workflows and practice area. If your practice areas have the same members, create one team with separate channels according to the area (Family Law, Estate Planning, etc.).

Legal Matter Management

On August 15, 2017, Epona announced that their Legal Matter Management is being Beta tested with Microsoft Teams.  They will leverage the Microsoft Teams Desktop application with the Epona tools and Matter Center, so you can work in their application and access your contacts, email, DMS SharePoint stored documents, Time & Billing solution and more.

Epona’s approach builds on the Teams desktop application by integrating the full power of SharePoint DMS, and Time & Billing, with a simple dashboard for all matter-related elements in Microsoft Teams.

For more information about Microsoft Teams and how to use it in your law firm, contact the “Team” at Cyber Solutions. We’re your go-to Legal IT Solutions advisor in South Carolina.  We’ll assess your IT security and implement a plan to keep your data safe.