Legal industry

At a glance:

By thoroughly analyzing its technology, vendors and business growth, we helped a prominent, 80-person law firm get better, faster, and more reliable Internet and phone systems, saving money and dramatically increasing bandwidth and conferencing capacity.

In short, we helped them put their Information Systems back where they belong: seamlessly supporting their people in the background, instead of frustrating them day to day.

The Problem:

When your business has 80 employees and is growing fast, you’re focusing keeping things running smoothly day to day. The prospect of researching and understanding the maze of IT technologies, terminology, and opportunities not only sounds like a root canal, it requires a whole lot of time you just don’t have.

That’s the situation a major Portland law firm found itself in: technology aged faster than staff had time to troubleshoot and keep on top of. Here, an aging, expensive phone system sagged under the weight of attorneys’ increasingly greater demands for call quality and stability, and the firm’s Internet was unreliable, slow, and a daily source of frustration.

As a result, attorneys lost billable time (and their clients’ confidence) in outages, and even had to come into the office to make and receive calls securely. Email outages sparked liability issues as attorneys couldn’t get documents to court or to other people on the team. Unexpected costs and mounting troubleshooting time compromised both annual budgets and the confidence of partners in the IT team’s ability and judgement.

The firm needed solutions, and they needed them fast. So they turned to us. Could we design an IS strategy that worked within their existing budget, but brought them up to par in terms of technology and gave their growth the headroom it needed?

Solutions: Analysis, Recommendations and Strategy

We began with a thorough analysis, focusing not only on what we saw as clear problem areas, but on understanding the firm’s business, since any true solutions would need to support and strengthen its unique structure and business practice. We

  • Evaluated vendors and their contracts with a thorough audit of their current services
  • Assessed what the firm actually needed by interviewing stakeholders and combing through utilization reports for data and phone
  • Explored technologies that might be appropriate and cost effective solutions for the issues we discovered

By the time we’d finished our analysis, our Phase 1 report recommended:

  • Firing their current vendor, who was too unresponsive and expensive, and was profiting from keeping them in legacy technology.
  • Moving their phone system into the Cloud for better reliability and scalability
  • Investing in new phones and state of the art conferencing capabilities
  • And installing 2 new Internet circuits for higher bandwidth and smarter load balancing

Solutions: Action and Implementation

For some clients, the roadmap we develop is exactly what they need, and they take it from there. But our work is so thorough, most have a pretty clear idea of how well we’d execute bringing that plant to life, and they hire us to do it. So we immediately set about hiring vendors, negotiating contracts, and demoing and installing the technology we’d recommended.

And perhaps best of all, we helped the firm retain control downstream, training an admin assistant at the firm to do basic troubleshooting and management. Now, the firm had the tools to solve basic problems quickly and efficiently without depending on the turnaround and cost of outside vendors.

In other words, for the day to day stuff, we essentially designed ourselves out of a job. It was a good day: an empowered client is one of the greatest rewards of what we do.

The Results

When work was complete, we’d delivered:

  • Much simpler and understandable billing, with a fixed cost, from its vendors
  • Increased bandwidth and reliability
  • Better technologies for working remotely
  • Business intelligence to measure customer satisfaction
  • And multiple tools for keeping on top of their IT: usage monitoring tools, trouble ticket opening and tracking, and bi-yearly business reviews.