Aderant today (14 April) announces the launch of Aderant Drive, which leverages the key features of Handshake Software and Microsoft Office 365 to enable real-time collaboration with clients.

Aderant began building Drive two years ago. For the past four months it has been in beta with three Am Law firms but is now on general release.

Firms will need Office 365 licensing but speaking to Legal IT Insider, Aderant’s executive vice president Chris Cartrett said: “Most firms have SharePoint online, which is part of Office 365, and that’s all they need.”

Firms can use Drive to create multiple client portals to share the likes of client matter data, billing information and legal team tasks, taking sensitive information out of email and facilitating real-time financial updates.

Handshake as long ago as 2016 introduced support for Office 365 and SharePoint Online with its portal and integration products. While there were attempts to leverage its extranet capability before its acquisition by Aderant in 2017, it has typically focused on helping firms to develop intranets or share knowledge internally. In contrast, Cartrett describes Drive as “an extranet on steroids.”

The post-COVID-19 launch of Drive is extremely timely, coming as it does as law firms look to collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams to help them work more seamlessly remotely.

Drive will also help firms to provide transparency to clients and Cartrett said: “The demand for transparency in the legal marketplace continues to grow each year. Aderant Drive now presents law firms with an easier option to not only collaborate on their matters, but also share matter and financial information seamlessly in real time.”

He told Legal IT Insider: “If you think about what makes Handshake so great is all these integrations to other systems – every finance systems and CRM platform and customer database. Drive takes those and, leveraging the technology in Office 365, gives the power back to law firms so they can collaborate with their clients.”