Center For Practice Management, Microsoft Office, Productivity

Client Facing Tools in Your MS 365 Subscription

lawyer helping clientIf your firm is paying for the Microsoft 365 subscription product but only using the standard applications like Word, Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint you are missing out! Explore client facing tools that can help you communicate, collaborate, and interact with clients, outside counsel, and others outside of your firm or organization. Your subscription comes with products like Forms, Bookings, Stream, Sway, SharePoint, and more. Learn more about how you can remove administrative burdens and make working with clients and outside parties easier and more efficient.

Upload Files

Whether or not you use Microsoft OneDrive to store your documents, if you don’t have a client portal and need to give your clients an easy and secure way to share documents with you, open OneDrive and create a folder with a name like “Client Uploads”. Click on the radio button to the left of the folder and the menu at the top of the screen will show an option to “Request files”. Follow the prompts by adding context to the request. For instance, “Please send closing documents from lender”. Click next to choose to send the client a link, which can also be added to an email or your website or send it via email with a message. The client will see a screen that allows them to select files from their desktop and then prompts them to add their first and last name. You will receive an email notification when new files are uploaded. The file names will have the first and last name of the submitter, plus the file name. You can then move the file where it needs to go. The client cannot see what is in the folder or access it in any way. It is a secure and straightforward way to request multiple files without email attachments.


SharePoint is the backbone of the Microsoft 365 suite. Many of the applications and most of the permissions and sharing capabilities are supported by SharePoint. If you have ever created a Teams channel or a shared content library, it lives in SharePoint. Due to all the permissions, however, sharing a Teams channel or a shared content library may be difficult with external users. However, in SharePoint you can click on “Create site” and create a Communication site to share information that engages with a broad audience, by creating a portal where there are a few content authors and many site visitors. If you have wanted a client portal but are using a premise-based practice management application this might be something to try out.

Once you choose to create a Communication site you can choose from any number of templates from events to education to news/resources. You can customize the site with your own branding, adding news, links, calendars, documents, embed a threaded conversation and apps from the SharePoint store.

You will want to get some help from your IT Administrator to set up permissions and access if you create a SharePoint site for clients or outside counsel access. It is not meant to be a public facing website, per se, but rather the use case would be more like a client portal.

Another possibility for creating public facing sites is Power Pages, part of the Power Platform. It uses the Copilot AI to quickly create a website, connect to a custom domain, and more. With little knowledge you can set up a custom website. There is a free 30-day trial. Pricing has two tiers, one at $200 a month that supports authenticated access with up to 100 users per site per month. The other is $75 a month and allows for 500 anonymous users per month.


Microsoft Sway is a digital storytelling application that allows you to create and share interactive reports, presentations, personal stories, and more. It’s part of the Microsoft Office 365 suite and is designed to help you create visually striking content in minutes.

If you have a slide deck or a Word document (example) that you use for client communication, you can easily convert it to an interactive and highly visual format. You can add your own text, images, videos, and other multimedia. You can embed other documents into Sway. In Microsoft Word click on “File – Transform”. The resulting navigation screen will suggest you are going to “Transform to Web Page” and choose a Style to convert the document to Sway. To convert a PowerPoint slide deck to a Sway interactive web page open Sway and on the right side choose “Start from a document” and find your slide deck. Sway will not convert a document larger than 20MB.

You can create a brand-new Sway. There are lots of templates to help get you started. Templates for internal and external newsletters, How-to pages, presentations, announcements, reports, resumes, blogs and more will give you some design ideas when you are creating a Sway. Or you can dive in and start from a blank canvas.

How can lawyers use Sway? Create interactive reports, presentations to explain legal concepts, newsletters to keep clients updated on the latest news and updates in an area of law, and more. Sway is easy to share. You can share a link and clients can see your Sways on the web without signing up, logging in, or downloading anything. It renders on any device, including smartphones. There are privacy controls so that you can restrict who has access to the Sway. You can share with specific people or groups or anyone with the link. You can password protect it. You can embed it on your website or share it directly on social media channels.

Sway gives your documents and presentations visual style, interactivity, and functionality without having to be a designer!


Microsoft 365 comes with a Forms building tool. You can create forms and quizzes internally and externally. While MS Forms is not the most robust or intuitive forms tool on the market, it is part of your subscription. You can build a new form from scratch or use a template, like a customer satisfaction survey. If you have existing surveys in Word or PDF, you can import them into the Form to convert a static document into an interactive web-based form. If the form you choose to import is complicated it will not be adequately converted.

You can make your forms attractive with background images, headers, hyperlinks, and more. If your form takes a long time to fill out, you can even add background music!

When you create a form click the lightning icon to get questions and suggestions based on the form name. For instance, if you name a form “client satisfaction survey” the tool will suggest a series of questions to get you started, as well as providing a list of questions you have used in earlier surveys that fit the form’s subject.

Be aware that the default setting in Collect Responses is that only people in your Microsoft tenant (your firm or organization) can fill out the form, so be sure to change that setting to “anyone can respond”. Additionally, if the form is shared externally, you cannot collect documents via the Form. However, you could add a link to OneDrive for that purpose in the form.

Responses are displayed in aggregate with graphs, or you can scroll through individual responses by clicking “view results”. You can also open the results in Excel, which will automatically synchronize the results to Excel for the web for greater detail and flexibility.

As with any survey, make sure to test it adequately before sending it out, especially if there is skip logic.


Whether initial consultations, client meetings, or other appointments, you can make it easy for someone to book time on your calendar – without having to go through you or someone on your team.

Microsoft Bookings comes with Microsoft 365 Business Standard and Premium. The feature set is comparable to other similar paid products. You can set up multiple Bookings sites. If your firm has multiple practice areas, you can create different Booking pages for each one. If you create a Bookings page for each practice area, you can create different services for each. For instance, for the Bookings page for your family law practice you could create an “initial consultation” booking, four-way settlement meeting, status meeting, etc. These will appear as options to pick from on the Booking page. Each type of meeting can have specific parameters you set.

When you are setting up your Bookings pages make sure to apply settings so that you are in control of your time, despite sharing your calendar. You can reserve specific days for specific types of meetings, integrate with Zoom or Teams for video conferencing, build in buffers and more.


While YouTube is a great platform for marketing and visibility, you may want to provide video tutorials and content for your clients without the competing ads and other information that crowds into YouTube. With your Microsoft 365 subscription you get a private video creation and hosting platform called Stream.

Unlike YouTube, you can record your screen and your video camera to create a quick video message or tutorial directly in Stream. You can share Teams meeting recordings. Or upload existing videos.

There are a lot of options when sharing videos, though the default is view only/no download. You can allow people to comment on videos. You can see analytics for videos. You can further edit and enhance your videos with Clipchamp. You can add chapters and transcriptions.


If you are looking for inexpensive ways to focus on client centric services, consider using some of the tools you already have to communicate and collaborate with clients in modern ways. By leveraging the integrated ecosystem of Microsoft 365, firms and law offices can streamline their operations, foster innovation, and maintain a competitive edge in the digital landscape.