Herbert Smith argues for investment in remote working

International law firm Herbert Smith plans to focus its technology investment on system speed and remote working over the next few years.

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International law firm Herbert Smith plans to focus its technology investment on system speed and remote working over the next few years.

George Kalorkoti, group chief information officer, yesterday told the Verizon Business European Media Forum in London that the law firm is also investing to improve email and document management.

“Improving email management is fairly significant, as our lawyers live in [Microsoft] Outlook and the document management system," he said. The firm’s email management is a combination of Outlook, a document management system called Autonomy iManage and archiving tool Symantec Enterprise Vault. Spam emails are also filtered by MessageLabs.

Meanwhile, blaming the “impatient” nature of lawyers, Kalorkoti said: “We will be spending a lot of the budget on system speed.”

Kalorkoti said that as the firm’s lawyers travel more, Herbert Smith is continuing to invest in solutions that enable remote working. The firm’s lawyers currently use a Blackberry and either an encrypted desktop PC or laptop to work remotely. Lawyers can also connect to the firm’s private network from their home PCs via VPN tunnels over the internet.

Because of the firm’s security procedures, Kalorkoti pointed out that it was technology, rather than security, that was the limiting factor when it came to remote working.

Herbert Smith connects its offices across the world through a private MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching) network provided by Verizon, which also hosts the law firm’s website. The firm also uses the network to route emails and provide private network access for remote workers. In addition Verizon provides an audio conferencing tool to the law firm, where “everything [front-end] is Microsoft”.

“For us [as an international firm], being able to work effectively together at any time is very, very important,” he said.

Kalorkoti referred to the MPLS network as the firm’s private cloud. But he said that using a public cloud would be difficult for the law firm.

“Putting our data in the cloud would be a big issue. There is data that is so confidential that clients ask in their contracts that their data sits on our servers in our offices,” Kalorkoti explained.

“We see [private] cloud computing primarily as an opportunity to enable our lawyers to work efficiently together. Public cloud is to reduce my costs. I don’t see a way in the future to do away with the private cloud and do everything on the internet.”

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