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  1. 1. LEGAL PRACTICE MANAGEMENT 1 LPMLEGALPRACTICEMANAGEMENT SUPPLEMENT APRIL 2016 BUSINESS INFORMATION FOR EVERYONE IN PRACTICE MANAGEMENT Sponsored by: INTOTHE CLOUD?
  2. 2. About us Contact us LPM magazine is published by Legal Support Network. LSN is a media company focused solely on people in legal business services and management – whatever size or type of legal services provider they work for. We run LinkedIn groups with thousands of members, across several areas, from legal IT to legal process outsourcing. Find our LPM group at bit.ly/lpmgroup. LSN’s website is where you can find news, views and resources from the established legal news providers and hundreds of suppliers to the legal industry, all rolled into one useful information feed: www.lsn.co.uk. LSN also runs the popular Legal Practice Management conference, tailored specifically for anyone working in management in SME law firms and ABSs. Join us on Tuesday 17 May 2016 at the Royal College of Surgeons: www.lsn.co.uk/lpm2016 Sign up for our weekly practice management e-newsletters, which bring you the best of our practice management content and our social feeds, every week: www.lsn.co.uk/subscribe/ezine MARCH 2014 LEGAL PRACTICE MANAGEMENT 1 THE ONLY MAGAZINE FOR LAW FIRM MANAGERS LPMLEGALPRACTICEMANAGEMENT APRIL 2016 BUSINESS INFORMATION FOR EVERYONE IN PRACTICE MANAGEMENT Going under? EXPERT COLUMNISTS AND ADVICE FROM PRACTICE MANAGEMENT LAW FIRM PROFILE Arts sector boutique Counterculture on making the MDP model work BOOK REVIEW Brethertons' CEO Shaun Jardine reads Business for Punks Disasters, fraud, financial mismanagement – it couldn't happen to you. Could it? LPM APR 2016 PRINT FINAL.indd 1 06/04/2016 07:35 @LPMmag We’re listening, and we also have plenty to say. We love Twitter – and if you love Twitter too, share your thoughts with us bit.ly/lpmgroup LSN runs LinkedIn groups for thousands of people in legal business services, and we run a dedicated LPM group, too www.lsn.co.uk/practice-management Find practice management blogs, news, resources, white papers, case studies, video and audio and much more online 0870 112 5058 or LPM@LSN.CO.UK Legal Support Network 20 Mortlake High Street London SW14 8JN ( Dictation services for LPM magazine provided by DictateNow Rupert White is editor-in-chief of LPM and Briefing magazines. He has written about the legal sector since 2005, before which he endured years as an IT journalist before tunnelling out with a plastic fork. rupertw@lsn.co.uk Sarah Cox is Legal Support Network’s head of client services. Want to advertise in LPM magazine or feature in our awesome advertorial section? Then get in touch with her. sarahc@lsn.co.uk
  3. 3. LEGAL PRACTICE MANAGEMENT4 APRIL 2016 AS I WANDERED... CASE STUDY: Richard Fisher of Heringtons on moving its Tikit case and practice management to the cloud with Accesspoint 12 COMMENT: Richard Roebuck at Accesspoint outlines why cloud’s time has finally come, for everyone 05 FEATURE: We talk to SME firms using cloud computing to boost their businesses A round a thousand years ago I was writing for a technology publication and the internet was still young, fresh and pimply. Google didn’t exist (yes, dear readers, shield your eyes, for it is true). Facebook was a twinkle. Lady Gaga had to share Polaroids with her mates. But even then, some far-sighted people knew the cloud would one day be the way we all did computing. Most of those people went bust along the way – the network took way longer to build than they hoped – but they were right. The network, as Sun Microsystems once said, is the computer. Welcome to now – where the cloud, finally, rules. LPM Rupert Collins-White, editor-in-chief @LPMmag | rupertw@lsn.co.uk Cloud computing has been the future for, oh, years ... but it is now everywhere. Cloud is no longer the future – it’s here. Better yet, SME firms are perfectly placed to take advantage of it. FEATURES INDUSTRY VIEWS 13 Got a story for us? Let us know at lpm@lsn.co.uk
  4. 4. LEGAL PRACTICE MANAGEMENT5 APRIL 2016 Network computing looks set to level playing fields and create flexibility, mobility and efficiency for law firms of all sizes. Lucy Trevelyan reports from up where the air is rarified ... HEADS INTHE CLOUD Feature W e all know the dangers of putting information in the cloud, right? Your data will be parked in dodgy jurisdictions where it will be hacked and pinched, you’ll get sued, the cloud provider will go bust and then some teenager will hold your data to ransom – and anyway it’s really expensive and horribly complicated and how do you choose a provider anyway? Such concerns might explain why only 20% of SME law firms polled by LSN in its SME Legal IT Landscapes 2015 research said they were likely to adopt cloud-based solutions for significant systems. However, although the Solicitors Regulation Authority mentioned the cloud as a potential risk to its regulatory objectives in its 2013/14 risk outlook, it’s subsequent report – Silver linings: Cloud computing – concluded that, provided an effective provider is used, cloud computing “can provide benefits for firm and clients, both in terms of costs and providing better levels of encryption and security.” Even the regulator is turning around on the subject. Barriers to cloud use, says Alex McPherson, co-founder of London-based Ignition Law, are mostly perceived rather than actual – and those that do exist are not insurmountable. “In my view there are three [perceived but mistaken barriers]: cost – a red herring; complexity – ditto; behavioural/cultural change – that’s the actual substantive challenge. “After 10 years with pen and paper, it’s taken me about 18 months to get used to using cloud-based notebooks across all my devices. I could never go back – but it took me a while to change my attitude.” This sentiment is echoed by Danny O’Connor, head of IT at Sackers, which already uses cloud-based email management system Mimecast, and is about to migrate to a cloud-based document management system. “Provided you chose the right cloud provider, the biggest barrier now is that of perception. When proposing cloud-based services, it may not be appropriate to even use the word ‘cloud’, as what you’re really looking at is best described as a hosted solution, especially if you know exactly where your data is being stored – which for any enterprise solution should be a ‘must’.” The dangers of cloud use, says McPherson, have to be weighed against the larger dangers of not using it. “I’ve lost notebooks, bags and papers in the past – everything was gone! I had no way to get it back and no idea who had my data. While I have yet to lose a laptop, iPad or iPhone, they are all password- and FEATURE
  5. 5. LEGAL PRACTICE MANAGEMENT6 OCTOBER 2015
  6. 6. LEGAL PRACTICE MANAGEMENT7 APRIL 2016 fingerprint-protected, encrypted and, importantly, we can remote-delete them. There is also a record of who downloaded what and when from the cloud for non-local data. I’d feel more nervous telling clients I was carrying hard copy papers than that everything is stored in the cloud.” CLOUD CONVERSIONS McPherson is a genuine cloud convert. “Even when paper is involved, our printers run off cloud- based interfaces. The cloud provides easy access to all kinds of materials. It allows us to view documents across MacBooks, iPads and iPhones, so we’re able to work in a flexible manner. “More importantly, it provides our clients with immediate access to their data, 24/7. The cloud also provides us with low operational costs. Although we’re not ‘cheap’, we are extremely efficient and like to pass on cost savings to our clients, meaning we can charge hourly rates that are typically 50-60% lower than those of our more traditional competitors.” The cloud also helps Ignition operationally, from to-do lists and diaries to time billing and cost management. “It allows us to quickly access and update documents and store data, whether that’s building and managing virtual folders for clients or amending encrypted virtual NoteBooks, from which we take notes. MeetingZone’s conferencing facility has helped give our employees the flexibility to work and collaborate in the way that best suits them, with no impact on where one is physically. The same applies for flexible working – we have yet to have negative feedback about talented lawyers working on terms that suit them. It is important to make clients aware of the terms of business up front, but the opportunities are enormous and we haven’t even scratched the surface.” Internally, he says, it’s empowering after years stuck using old-fashioned technology to track his time and do his job, and to be able to unleash the power of technology. “It saves time, and drives efficiency and flexibility. Externally, many clients have been working more flexibly and more nimbly for years, and they respect lawyers doing the same, passing on the cost savings and time efficiencies.” Sarah Quantick, Surrey-based Quanticks’ practice manager, is another cloud enthusiast. “Everything we do is in the cloud. As a multi-site business we can work from any location with ease – it allows us to work from any PC that has an internet connection. “Along with full use of case management I’d feel more nervous telling clients I was carrying hard copy papers than that everything is stored in the cloud. Danny O’Connor, head of IT, Sackers As a multi-site business we can work from any location with ease – it allows us to work from any PC that has an internet connection. Sarah Quantick, practice manager, Quanticks FEATURE
  7. 7. LEGAL PRACTICE MANAGEMENT8 OCTOBER 2015APRIL 2016 software, it allows us to operate a paperless office. Costs are regular and defined and we have security of data because it is stored over two state-of- the-art cloud-based servers. The hosted provider takes responsibility for all backups, and business continuity is secure as it’s not location-dependant, or dependent upon our own hardware.” As long as you pick the correct cloud provider, says Quantick, there are fewer dangers than having a local server environment. She warns, however, that a solid internet connection is a must. “This is arguably the most important factor for a good cloud-based solution.” Covent Garden-based firm Temple Knight Law has used cloud technology for key back office services since the firm’s launch in July 2015. This includes Xero, which the firm uses for billing and account reconciliation, and Receipt Bank, through which it records expenses. These are provided to the firm as part of its KPMG Small Business Accounting service. CEO Marisa Birchley-Titmus was previously head of legal (commercial and corporate) at Vodafone, and has worked on the development of major cloud platforms. She says that IT, especially cloud technology, is central to her firm’s business offering. “The principal advantage is accessibility, although cost is also a key consideration. Our lawyers need to be responsive and able to manage work and administration wherever they are. Unlike traditional law firms, we work very closely with clients and frequently base ourselves with their commercial teams. To achieve this, mobile and flexible working and careful management of costs are essential.” NAME TO BLAME Cloud computing is a ubiquitous phrase which is often misunderstood, says Edward O’Rourke, CEO of East Anglia firm Ashton KCJ. The firm’s servers and payroll are in cloud environments. “A distinction needs to be made between public clouds, private clouds and hybrid clouds. A common misconception, for example, is that your data will be hosted on a shared resource – this is not the case with a private cloud. For us, understanding the differences has enabled us to make informed decisions, which has de-risked aspects of our business and allows for greater agility. The benefits have come from increased resilience BE PREPARED Dos and don’ts: our feature interviewees provide their top tips for cloud usage ... • Research the market and only deal with well regarded and reliable suppliers with strong accreditation (ISO standards). Take references! • Understand what is meant by the ‘cloud’ and all the options available • Check the provider has good backup procedures and that you can recover your data quickly and efficiently should the provider go bust • Ensure servers are UK-based and that data is stored across more than one server. • Ensure the provider is compliant with data legislation handling. For example, ensure personal data you are responsible for isn’t being stored in jurisdictions that don’t meet the strict requirements of our laws. Ask about ongoing support, and whether it’s chargeable • Check the supplier is really offering a true cloud service and not simply giving you a server and some storage in a managed data centre • Strive for a balance of making the experience bespoke to promote your brand, but also easy in terms of low barriers to entry, internally and externally • Beware of shadow IT. Services not vetted by IT can be risky to the firm. Teach staff about the risks, and set internal protocols for new cloud deployments that require IT assessment and approval • Install a good internet connection! • Convert to cloud as soon as possible
  8. 8. LEGAL PRACTICE MANAGEMENT9 APRIL 2016 of back-up data and connectivity, allowing better business continuity contingencies. We are also able to scale our operations more cost effectively than we would be able to otherwise.” The dangers, says O’Rourke, depend on the option you choose. “In a worst-case scenario, the data could be open to others, shared in jurisdictions which would abuse the information and hold it ‘hostage’ if the cloud provider were to go bust. “However, all these dangers can be avoided by selecting the right provider, checking their storage arrangements and putting in place contractual arrangements to protect access to your data.” London-based Alen-Buckley uses cloud technology every day in its practice and, according to practice manager Toby J C Parker, it’s now an essential tool. “Apart from our day-to-day general operations, such as using email and the standard MS Office suite, we also have our accounts and specialist legal software hosted in the cloud and we no longer have to worry about maintaining our backups or disaster recovery procedures. “Being able to login online from anywhere, anytime, adds an entirely new dimension to the way our office works. We can now operate entirely flexibly in a way that we never could before. Business continuity has been simplified and backups are a thing of the past, as these services are included. We like the hassle-free element that turns IT into a service as simple as the electricity bill. “The charges are predictable and on a pay-per- user-per-month cost model, with no hidden charges – instead of the large upfront costs of a new server. The data is hosted in secure UK-based data centres. The look and feel is the familiar Microsoft Windows desktop. Employees can securely work from anywhere.” SPEEDY RECOVERY Reading-based larger SME firm Boyes Turner is also increasingly looking to use cloud services whenever it can, says the firm’s head of IT, Tim Roche. “We are using a couple of services in the cloud, the largest being our data backup and recovery systems, as well as a smaller system for our debt recovery team. For us, the main benefits are cost, flexibility and the ease of setup. “What would have taken months to set up internally can be done now in a matter of weeks or days. We have also been able to reduce time What would have taken months to set up internally can be done now in a matter of weeks or days. We have also been able to reduce the times significantly in terms of recovery from a software or hardware problem, which has real benefits to our business continuity plans Tim Roche, head of IT, Boyes Turner FEATURE
  9. 9. LEGAL PRACTICE MANAGEMENT10 OCTOBER 2015APRIL 2016 CLOUD FOR LAW FIRMS – THE OFFICIAL WORD “Evaluating the business and regulatory risks and benefits of using cloud technology can be a complex task,” a Law Society spokesperson says. “Perhaps the greatest challenge for many SME law firms considering the use of cloud technology is to understand fully prospective cloud service offerings. It is essential that a comprehensive evaluation is undertaken to ensure that client and firm data are adequately protected. “The Law Society’s practice note on the topic provides a good starting point but also advises firms that where they don’t have relevant expertise in-house they should consider obtaining independent expert advice.” RESOURCES View the Law Society practice note here: http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/support- services/advice/practice-notes/cloud- computing/ View SRA guidance on cloud use here: https://www.sra.org. uk/risk/resources/cloud- computing-law-firms-risk.page View the ICO’s guidance on the use of cloud computing here: https://ico.org.uk/media/about- the-ico/documents/1042330/ cloud-computing-guidance-for- organisations.pdf Silver Linings: cloud computing, law firms and risk November 2013 Most obviously we have flexibility and the ability to move quickly, allowing early adoption of new technologies. This enables us to punch above our weight, taking on much larger firms and delivering a product of at least equivalent quality Marisa Birchley-Titmus, CEO, Temple Knight Law significantly in terms of recovery from a software or hardware problem, which has real benefits for our business continuity plans. “It can help position IT in a more positive way in the firm, both from the costs and flexibility of IT systems and services, but also around enabling IT staff to focus more on business-related issues, rather than having to worry (too much) about operational issues. There are also benefits to remote workers in the form of easier access to data – Office 365, for example.” Cloud has come of age and there are now some truly viable systems and solutions in the marketplace – providing you can navigate around them and see who really is a cloud provider and who is not, warns Roche. “There are plenty of ‘fake’ clouds out there and a lot of ‘cloudification’ is required.” Security and compliance are still barriers to cloud use, he says, and plenty of proper due diligence is required. “Data sovereignty has always been an issue, and the demise/ restructure of Safe Harbor has not made things easier. “As the market continues to mature, we will see greater clarification and adherence here – we are no longer in the ‘wild west’ scenario, but care needs to be taken. “Sorting out who will be the winners and survivors in this area is not a barrier so much as one more step, to do all the right checks, as, for sure, we will lose some suppliers along the way.” The LPM audience is a lucky one when it comes to cloud, too. SME firms, says Temple Knight’s Birchley- Titmus, have many advantages over larger ones when considering cloud technology. “Most obviously we have flexibility and the ability to move quickly, allowing early adoption of new technologies. This enables us to punch above our weight, taking on much larger firms and delivering a product of at least equivalent quality.” Technology is key to SMEs, says McPherson at Ignition, as they have a more flexible mindset, small or zero committees, comparatively minimal entrenched behaviour/politics, and are keen to learn, grow and improve. “Provided SME law firms can marry the extraordinary quality of training that large global and leading law firms can provide with an open-mindedness to embrace technology, the future is hugely exciting for them.” Larger firms, says Roche, are more likely to have an extensive internal IT infrastructure and the resources needed to run that, so change may not be so straightforward for them – giving SME firms that want a piece of their action the edge. “Smaller firms can be more nimble and may not have a service or system in place that could potentially be available in the cloud, so a quicker route to market or ability to implement a service in a smaller timeframe could get them ahead of the pack.” Ultimately, says Parker at Alen- Buckley, the cloud is the future for every firm. “After moving to the cloud, I am convinced that this is where everyone will be going, sooner or later.” LPM
  10. 10. LEGAL PRACTICE MANAGEMENT11 OCTOBER 2015 12 COMMENT Cloud’s time has come Richard Roebuck at Accesspoint outlines why cloud computing’s advantages now dominate the argument 13 CASE STUDY VIRTUAL REALITY LPM speaks to Richard Fisher, managing partner for Heringtons, about moving its case and practice management system to the next (cloud) level Cloud computing is as useful as electricity – and will one day be as ubiquitous for businesses and consumers alike. We find out why by turning to sponsor Accesspoint and south-east firm Heringtons INDUSTRY VIEWS INDEX THE WHY IN THE SKY
  11. 11. LEGAL PRACTICE MANAGEMENT12 APRIL 2016 A VIEW FROM THE CLOUD, FROM OUR SPONSOR: RICHARD ROEBUCK, MANAGING DIRECTOR, ACCESSPOINT CLOUD COMPUTING’S TIME HAS COME, FOR EVERYONE C loud (or hosted) computing is the future for tomorrow’s law firms that like to leverage a competitive edge from their IT platforms. While there may be a few drawbacks, the many advantages will continue to increasingly outweigh the possible pitfalls. Today, technology seems to have reached that critical point where there are enough providers, to the extent that any IT software requirement a business may have is covered by someone in the cloud, such as Google Docs or Office 365. Today’s leading cloud computing providers are some of the largest and most trustworthy names in technology – Microsoft, Google, Cisco, IBM and VMware, to name just a few. A cloud-based or hosted network, be it partly or fully cloud, can provide any firm with a full range of IT applications and services, without the need to buy and maintain an exhaustive internal IT infrastructure. Plus, cloud has the advantage of allowing easy access to business data from anywhere, on many different device types. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? You can now access advanced business services at a fraction of the cost and manage the overhead of doing it yourself, paying on a fixed and predictable cost basis, like you would with a utility such as electricity – no surprises, and no cost spikes. This approach massively reduces both the operational and financial risks involved when implementing new technologies. Services are delivered with powerful service level agreements that prove costly to match in-house. Utility computing, accessed via cloud or hosted infrastructure, is an opportunity to: • Reduce running costs • Quickly access new technologies • Improve service levels • Free up your firm’s capital • And keep control of your IT and focus on business systems development. Cloud computing is all about efficiency. It provides a way to deploy and access everything from single systems to huge amounts of IT resources on demand, in real time, at an affordable cost. It makes high-performance computing and high-capacity, resilient storage available to anyone. If you have to store large amounts of data, the traditional solution has been large in-house servers that are not only hard to maintain but also expensive to upgrade and keep highly available with appropriate redundancy. With cloud computing, you get all the storage space you need. Even better, you can easily increase or decrease storage requirements at any time without financial penalty. ‘Pay-as-you-go’ is a great feature, but cloud computing is flexible in more ways than one – for example, your cloud services can easily be expanded to keep up with growth. In a matter of minutes you can add new applications, more storage or higher levels of processing capacity. Those wary of the brave new cloud computing world cite privacy and security as the main issues with this technology. Because your data is not onsite, it’s plausible that security could be a problem. But cloud service providers have plenty of encryption, data division and other security measures in place. Just as you protect your internal infrastructure, cloud vendors must safeguard their equipment to stay in business. Laptops are regularly lost, and this can have serious implications, but when everything is stored in the cloud, data can be accessed no matter what happens to a local machine. The average amount of energy needed for a computational action carried out in the cloud is far less than the average amount for an onsite deployment. To us, those advantages speak for themselves – making IT happen is critical, but making IT happen well is an art. LPM You can now access advanced business services at a fraction of the cost and manage the overhead of doing it yourself, paying on a predictable basis, like you would with a utility such as electricity. Accesspoint are independent legal IT specialists who consult on a variety of information technology-related issues, offering the best in IT solutions to help firms work more effectively. Contact Richard and the team on: 0203 189 2645 www.theaccesspoint.co.uk Got a story for us? Let us know at lpm@lsn.co.uk
  12. 12. LEGAL PRACTICE MANAGEMENT13 OCTOBER 2015 SPONSORED EDITORIAL F or Heringtons, moving to a cloud- based managed service model became a ‘no-brainer’, but it had to deliver a lot, and it also needed to stick in the firm. The key to making the move to the cloud a success wasn’t technology – it was trust. Keeping up with the pace of change in operating systems and software on computer hardware that’s rarely new in most firms isn’t an uncommon challenge, and it’s certainly not an exciting one. But when traditional but also forward-thinking Sussex firm Heringtons jumped out of its comfort zone and into the cloud, it created a strategic advantage as well as more mundane rewards. Richard Fisher became managing partner at Heringtons from a background in civil litigation – litigation which now, he says (somewhat wistfully) accounts for just a tiny fraction of his life. “I miss it, it’s fun. But instead I now get a great deal of satisfaction seeing the firm grow and progress, and client service improving.” One thing that wasn’t improving with age was Heringtons’ collection of 10-year-old servers. “Our hardware kit was creaking,” says Fisher. “Our Tikit P4W software had effectively become unsupported. We didn’t dare install version updates because our hardware just couldn’t cope.” Heringtons had a hardware end-of-life decision to make, quickly. Heringtons became an LLP in 2013, which brought with it a culture of business-led decision making, including those decisions about technology. Many in the firm fully embrace IT, says Fisher, but the firm “is certainly a traditional firm on a technology journey”. The firm has also had its fingers burned in the past, which made moving to a cloud managed service an even bigger leap of faith – but today Fisher wouldn’t look back. With the looming prospect of an expensive hardware refresh on the horizon, Fisher needed the decision to be about more than “buying new kit” – understandably, he had an ambition to SPONSORED EDITORIAL CASE STUDY VIRTUAL REALITY Richard Fisher, managing partner of Sussex firm Heringtons, tells LPM how his firm has benefited from moving its case and practice management to a hosted service with Accesspoint
  13. 13. LEGAL PRACTICE MANAGEMENT14 APRIL 2016 achieve much more. “We wanted to get more ROI from our Tikit P4W software and to make it deliver ever better client service. For work efficiency and risk and compliance considerations, I wanted to improve business continuity and backup – our recovery and restore capability had serious issues, and our existing set-up had grown organically and been added to, which was less than ideal.” One way to deal with the hardware and software issues this situation raised was to pass the problem to someone else – outsourcing to a cloud managed service provider. But any decision to move to such a service had to deliver far-reaching, tangible benefits. The first challenge: finding the right supplier. “Having a provider that we can trust is so important,” says Fisher. Accesspoint came highly recommended by a key supplier to the firm, “so naturally they were on the list”. “Ultimately we chose Accesspoint because from the start they spoke our language – we could understand them. They were calm, confident and very easy to deal with.” Fisher says Accesspoint’s focus on legal also helped. “We had peace of mind around compliance and of course they had significant experience with Tikit, so they knew what we needed straight away. It really wasn’t a hard decision.” Fisher still had to bring the firm’s team with him, however easy the decision was. “We were nervous about whether a managed service would work for us – we wanted to dip our toes in the water first, so the contract was very flexible. Accesspoint was very understanding and accommodating.” Heringtons was quickly up and running in the cloud – just four weeks from signing and with just one afternoon of downtime, “it was incredibly quick and thorough”, says Fisher. “They did it all: mail, finance, files from obscure places. Accesspoint had one person in each of our five offices staying for a couple of days, problem solving and providing training.” Accesspoint’s datacentre obviously impressed and reassured Fisher. “They have everything – back-up generators independent of the grid, security and so on. Moving meant entirely removing our connectivity, resilience and disaster recovery burdens! It makes the decision a no-brainer. “The managed service means we are always up to date with technology maintenance and we can keep updated in terms of case management and accounts software updates.” Fisher reports a leap in functionality, performance speeds and connectivity now that the firm’s IT is outsourced. “Firstly, the system just works better – it’s so much faster – and we now have the “The managed service means we are always up to date with technology maintenance and we can keep updated in terms of case management and accounts software updates.” CASE STUDY
  14. 14. LEGAL PRACTICE MANAGEMENT15 APRIL 2016 confidence to explore more functionality within Tikit, like new postcode lookups rather than manual entry. This might sound small and basic, but they help so much with accuracy and time saving.” The firm can now also make full use of P4W’s identity verification checker, when “previously we just didn’t have the confidence” to use it, Fisher says. “In effect, a great deal of functionality wasn’t available to us. Now, when new releases and new functionality is released, we’re very interested – we’re making advanced use of our software. “It’s also great for dynamically upscaling and downsizing. We’re experiencing regular growth via active recruitment and mergers, and this creates a pattern of significant user swell, with numbers gently falling back a little as the merger settles. That’s difficult to manage with fixed hardware and software.” And, Fisher explains, firms they’ve merged with haven’t necessarily been Tikit P4W users – usually a stumbling block in any merger. “Previously, those joining would certainly suffer a loss in work speed, and we’d have to find more hardware from somewhere ad hoc and conjure up technical support. We don’t have to worry about any of that now – people join one day and come straight on board, fully supported through Accesspoint. “The positive about buying upfront is that once the loan’s paid that’s it, payment’s done – but once you’ve paid, you’re basically on borrowed time. We are a pretty prudent firm, so we don’t like to borrow – and if we do, it’s usually short term. Cloud CASE STUDY Connectivity • Secure access over the public internet via branch office VPN and mobile SSL VPN for remote access Servers • Dual power feeds from independent internal DC infrastructure sources • Independent switch banks ensure no single point of failure • Complete virtual server image snapshots, stored to geographically diverse SAN and NAS storage units for disaster recovery and production environment failover. Real Time Replication (RTR) services for document storage strengthens production environment real-time recovery position • Policies ensure operating system patches are tested offline for suitability and compatibility Hosting environment • Microsoft Terminal Services • Dedicated Windows 2012 R2 platform • VMware-hosted subsystem Email • Mimecast’s cloud-based email security, continuity and archiving fronting Microsoft Exchange • A single unified platform reduces the risks associated with ancillary email systems • Anti-spam, anti-virus, data leak prevention, email archiving, content control, eDiscovery and continuity services. Backup • Asigra Cloud Backup works in the cloud or on premises • Easy restore at will through a web- based console • Email notification confirms the success status of automated daily backups NIMBUS, CUMULATED Heringtons’ technology mix at a glance
  15. 15. LEGAL PRACTICE MANAGEMENT16 OCTOBER 2015 SPONSORED EDITORIAL managed service is more expensive than the old way of taking on IT, but it means we’ve avoided a loan while still spreading the costs. “Also, we’ll need just a third of our external IT consultant’s time, and for higher level work – plus minimal junior IT support, which will reduce costs to even things out. Overall, the financial position is very much improved, because downtime has been significantly reduced and lawyers have more productive time because systems actually work. Plus, we capture more time too – because that functionality also works!” Having Accesspoint as the interface to Tikit has also made a big impact. “For the first time we’re really exploring what’s possible with Tikit. We talk to Accesspoint and they make it happen, and provide training to enable us to do it ourselves. For example, P4W Task Centre links financial information and case arrangement information to emails, so we could set it to email the top 10 outstanding bills, for example. The case management software is excellent and infinitely variable, and now that we have guidance from Accesspoint we can make the most of it, improving workflows and so on. “It’s such a relief not to be agonising over it all any more – it just works. As a user, everything is much faster and more reliable, tasks are easier and throughout the firm there is so much more confidence in technology. Six months on and it’s clear we’ll continue with Accesspoint. We’re a good fit, well matched in size and ethos, big enough to be experts and deliver, yet small enough to sincerely care.” Accesspoint has a key advisory role with the firm, not least because they understand the daily workings of the business, but also because of their experience working with other firms. “This gives them a great understanding of the industry and an open- minded point of view about how we might do things and create best practice in our firm. “Even if something is tricky, Accesspoint is tenacious and gets it sorted, and ensures lessons are learned along the way to make things easier next time. I like their calm confident, can-do attitude. We’re just very happy with their service, because they’ve done exactly what they promised and that builds trust, which is key.” It’s no coincidence that Heringtons has been doing so well recently. “Fee income is substantially up – and that’s not just about the new resilience and efficiency of our technology system, but it certainly helps. We have the right people, in the right place, with the right technology. It’s a powerful combination.” LPM CLOUD COMPUTING ABOUT THE SPONSORABOUT THE SPONSOR Accesspoint are independent legal IT specialists who consult on a variety of information technology- related issues, offering the best in IT solutions to help firms work more effectively. www.theaccesspoint.co.uk/ consultancy “Overall, the financial position is very much improved, because downtime has been significantly reduced and lawyers have more productive time because systems actually work.”

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