Executive summary Individual fee earners are under pressure to collaborate with large corporate clients. The continuing globalisation of business means that clients are demanding seamless services, and legal firms have to collaborate with clients across a number of geographic boundaries. Many top 100 law firms have focused on specialisation, creating narrowly defined practice areas and rewarding professionals for developing their reputation in ever more precise niches. Recently, however, it has become apparent that to achieve competitive advantage, simply accumulating ‘star talent’ – lawyers with distinguished reputations and specialised expertise – is no longer enough. Now the focus is on maximising the productivity of star talent, sharing and integrating their specialised and diverse knowledge with the firm’s knowledge systems. This is not an easy task, as collaboration tends not to come naturally to many legal experts, who strongly prefer autonomy. In addition, in today’s hyper-competitive marketplace, high flyers face unprecedented pressure to deliver superior results, which can lead to risk-averse behaviours. This reduces their desire to collaborate just when collaboration could be most beneficial. There is massively increased competition among law firms, while the number of new generation legal service providers is growing all the time. Top 100 law firms who can embed themselves within large corporates using shared content, knowledge and collaborative platforms will be best placed to retain major clients and remain competitive. This whitepaper sets out how law firms can enhance mobility, collaboration and efficiency to meet the accelerating demand for greater value and transparency. Understanding the benefits Collaboration can mean different things to different firms and individuals, from simply sharing information through to co-authoring documents. The most effective collaboration in a law firm is not just about simply contributing to a knowledge base. It is the seamless bringing together and integration of all resources – including people, knowledge and information – to deliver high quality outcomes on complex issues. This benefits not only the firm, but also the individual lawyers who work with other partners to serve and develop clients. Collaborating with a wider group of partners on projects is known to boost a lawyer’s billed revenues. As lawyers use collaborative tools, they grow more accepting of them and even come to prefer collaboration to solo working. Their preferences shift as they learn how to collaborate using technology. It becomes less time-consuming or daunting and they begin to understand the benefits and see the efficiencies. Lawyers are also finding themselves needing to collaborate in ways that most were neither traditionally trained or inclined to do, nor ever imagined they would have to do. Within the firm, they may find themselves working closely with IT and other non-lawyers now embedded in firms and integral to the delivery of their services. Firms who adopt mobile and collaborative working practices and strategic initiatives underpinned by technology are able to realise the benefit of generating more sophisticated, innovative and lucrative client work and retain high-value clients and win new business with the most attractive clients. In addition, they may also start to create entirely new types of services that can attract new clients. A study by analyst house Aberdeen Group found that in one year organisations with an enterprise social collaboration policy saw a 96% improvement in the time it takes to respond to customers, while feeling connected makes 63% of people more likely to stay with their existing employer1. The latest mobile and collaborative working keeps individual employee engagement high and reduces stress, burnout and turnover. Law firms of the future that are able to flex and evolve to meet the changing demands of the next generation of young lawyers and clients will be competitive when it comes to attracting Millennial talent, and current employees will remain more engaged. Top 100 law firms who can embed themselves within large corporates using shared content, knowledge and collaborative platforms will be best placed to retain major clients and remain competitive. Collaborative technologies work hand-in-hand with the way law firms are looking to reshape and remodel their floor plans. In the past, managing partners got the best offices and the biggest windows. Open plan working and hot-desking has replaced all that in today’s collaborative environment, enabling law firms to maximise expensive office space and for lawyers to work at client premises. With smaller footprints, shorter leases and less square footage available, a new way of thinking about how space is designed and utilised is emerging – including growth in home working and shared hot desking. Additionally, spaces that support virtual teamwork are replacing fixed individual workspaces. Firms have been able to save on their real estate costs by operating from a smaller floor space office or by making better use of it. If there is a failure to embrace this new era of mobility, collaboration and efficiencies and law firms stick with the status quo they will not be able to serve their clients effectively. Lawyers need anytime, anywhere access to content – and they need not only to be able to access it, but to share it and edit it collaboratively and securely. Without the technology to do that, fee earners won’t be competitive. They won’t be able to turn things around quickly enough, resulting in client dissatisfaction. Increasingly, law firms work within a fixed fee pricing structure and inefficiencies and failure to use productivity-boosting technologies will erode their profit margin. Law firms, like other industry sectors, are also experiencing challenges in attracting and retaining the best staff. Not only will they fall behind the competition, but also they will find it less easy to attract the brightest and best Millennial workers who will expect collaborative technology as standard. First steps There are two key success factors for law firms looking to achieve collaboration and mobility. First, lawyers and senior managers should be expected to and should want to collaborate. Secondly, firms need to embrace the latest mobile and flexible technologies and virtual platforms that exist to facilitate collaboration. One of the best ways to drive collaboration is to make it a positive experience for both the client and the fee earner. The key is making the knowledge and content easily available to everyone who needs it – and that includes key stakeholders inside and outside of the firm – to consume, edit and share content on a wide range of devices, systems and platforms on the move or in the office. The best solutions will tap into platforms that end users, internal and external, already use or would like to use, at the time they want to use them, anywhere across the globe. They will have the ease-of-use of consumer tech, but with enterprise grade security all seamlessly integrated within the firm’s existing ecosystem (IT architecture and business workflows) . Powerful search capabilities to make finding all this content easy are a must. With collaborative and mobile technology platforms and tools, global teams are better able to progress projects more quickly. For example, a lawyer can prepare a draft document on Monday afternoon and when they are finished for the evening, send it to a colleague overseas. The overseas colleague will then work on the project while the first lawyer is asleep and when they wake up on Tuesday morning a revised document is waiting in the inbox. The challenge of securing infrastructure and applications while optimising end user flexibility and efficiency is key. Legal firms must take a holistic view of their environments; having robust firewalls isn’t enough. They will have to make investments in intrusion detection, hardening of internal systems and containment technologies. Firmwide policies are needed to address security from desktops to servers, restricting and defining access to data without comprising fee earner productivity. Culturally, security is a mainstay for law firms and media coverage of data breaches has brought this to the forefront even more. Although IT will take the lead on the technology, policy must be developed, maintained and enforced by senior management. Compliance, ethics and risk departments also need to be involved. It is likely that the IT department will need to transform itself too in order to lead a law firm to adopt collaboration and mobile technologies successfully, adding value rather than simply keeping the lights on. A vision of the future Typically fee earners are very much office-based or travel internationally to work with key clients. Increasingly the modern professional is working in a variety of spaces, perhaps taking their laptop into a meeting room and sharing content on a big screen locally with other partners and with remote participants too. In future, mobile collaborative technologies will free them to work virtually, from home, from client sites, on the move and even from overseas offices, enabling law firms to tap into a global market of experts. An optimum mix of best of breed and emerging collaborative technologies and a robust and secure IT infrastructure to support it are key to ensure efficiencies and enable law firms to gain competitive advantage. As technology becomes an enabler, the role of a solutions partner becomes central. A consultative partnership approach that is open to making connections and integration with a variety of emerging technology providers, creates a strong foundation on which to build a seamless and effective mobile and collaborative future. References 1 http://www.uk.insight.com/en-gb/learn/articles/2014-08-10- amazing-stats-collaborative-working Five top tips to get started with mobility, collaboration and efficiency improvements 1. Start with content and document management. Take a Matter Centric approach. Manage all your firm-wide documents and content including organising, sharing and governance from their creation to eventual archive or destruction. View relevant work product in context and allow your lawyers to rapidly create and revise documents. Collaborate with your team and stakeholders. Ensure your files are securely accessible from anywhere, on any device. Securely exchange work product with your clients, partner firms, and outside consultants within tools that you are all familiar with. 2. Become paper light. A robust paper to digital solution will help keep the core repository optimised and populated with the firm’s valuable knowledge and content, while providing governance and policy compliance. This will also enable other collaborative technologies to integrate into the ecosystem with more efficiency and with better outcomes. 3. Then enable secure access for everyone to the content resources. This should encompass a secure mobile strategy comprising technology and policy. At one time, data privacy and security concerns stopped law firms from enabling mobile access to sensitive data. That is no longer the case as robust technologies and frameworks exist to enable mobile and remote access to collaborative platforms from a number of devices ranging from laptops to tablets with a seamless user experience. 4. Pay lots of attention to user interface. For some lawyers, moving to using a collaborative platform is a big step. Consumer user interfaces require very little training and are intuitive – imperative for successful adoption. Once a user has taken that step successfully it is important to replicate the user experience so that they can access the platform from any device in a way that is familiar and easy for them. Failure to address this may mean that users do not use the system fully if they find it hard to use on a mobile device, for example. 5. Enable clients to access the platform. When the collaborative platform is operating successfully internally, do not stop there. It is critical to take the final step of enabling client sharing so that clients have access to selected resources. Ask the expert Q: Which Tikit products can help create mobility, collaboration and greater efficiency within law firms? A: Tikit is focused on providing firms with end-to-end solutions, via our proprietary software and our best of breed technology partners, enabling firms to be more mobile, connected, productive, efficient and profitable. We are proud to have worked with professional services firms for more than 20 years. We successfully bring together the best emerging and established technologies, providing integration, training and consultancy. Q: Isn’t data privacy and security still a major barrier to mobile working? A: The main concerns with mobile and collaborative working are always going to be security and efficiency. The modern day professional is working from different locations at different times, so you want to make sure that everyone has access to the files they need, that everyone can work together, and that people only have access to certain documents for certain durations of time to protect client confidentiality. Q: Some partners in my firm may be very resistant to change. How can I persuade them that mobile and collaborative working is the way to go? A: There are five key priorities we are helping firms with – security, collaboration, mobility, cloud and adoption of new technologies. These priorities are fast becoming a necessity for law firms to remain competitive and profitable. They are not inter-dependent and therefore, they require a strategic approach to change. There has been a real strategic shift in firms towards investing in technology that enables their modern professionals to be more collaborative, mobile and efficient. Lawyers want to work smarter, be more responsive – and have the same work experience no matter what the device or the environment they are working in. This provides a real challenge for IT. About Author Tikit Ltd BT Centre, 81 Newgate Street, London, EC1A 7AJ 80 Bloor Street West, Suite 1502, Toronto ON BT Tower, 1 Market Street, Sydney, NSW 2000 Australia Registered in England 2885516 | Copyright © Tikit 2016 | www.tikit.com About Tikit Tikit is one of the largest suppliers of technology solutions and services to legal and professional services firms, and is pa t of BT Group. Tikit’s client list totals more than 1,450 firms globall , including 90 of the UK’s top 100 law firms, 250 S law firms and 12 of the top 20 European law firms. Tikit is a omplete technology partner o ering a broad portfolio that includes software solutions, IT outsourcing, communication, networks and hosting. Tikit develops its own software and has longstanding relationships with other top best-of-breed providers, matching expertise with a reputation for excellent customer service. Lloyd Ellison is Director of Sales at Tikit. Lloyd joined Tikit in February 2013. He has held various management and leadership positions in IT sales & marketing roles since 2006. He has a good knowledge of software, IT services, network and communication technologies. His experience stretches across many client sectors. Lloyd has enjoyed working closely with many professional services firms, UK FTSE 100 and Global 500 clients over the last decade. References 1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mI_dwfpPWvI 2. Bersin by Deloitte. ‘Predictions for 2016: A Bold New World of Talent, Learning, Leadership, and HR Technology Ahead’. Five top tips to get started with mobility, collaboration and efficiency improvements Time Recording. An easy-to-use web-based solution that incorporates all the elements of timekeeping into a single, functionally rich solution for your firm. Capture and manage billable time anywhere, at any point in the day, on any device online or offline. Timekeeping is made easy, billing becomes timely, cash flow is improved and time is never lost as a result of clever ‘best match’ technology. The interface is inspired by the best-designed consumer apps. This cuts the need for training and the ease of use makes time capture quicker. Enterprise Content Management. Manage all your data from within your DMS system including Matter-Centric management. Enable your firm to manage content by engagement, secured to the project team based on firm policy and searchable across the entire electronic project file available to any user on any device, anywhere. Search, collate and analyse all data held with advanced enterprise tools. Seamlessly and securely organise, share and govern important documents and communications. Track the complete lifecycle of a professional engagement – from before it is opened, until content is disposed of. Share files and change document attachments into links to avoid email size limits. Scan Capture. Paper to digital technology helps your firm reduce costs and sparks productivity by removing paper filing, retrieval, processing and storage burdens. Integrate images with document management, records management, and business software. Enterprise Collaboration Platform. Transform the way your firm collaborates, communicates and shares information securely via a secure technology platform in the cloud. For example, quickly and securely transfer large and sensitive files and share documents with internal and external users. Sophisticated file sharing and document management features integrate seamlessly with the rest of the system to act as a central repository for each project. Get an overview of recent activity across your projects, see a summary of the tasks assigned to you, upcoming events, favourite items, private messages and content waiting for approval. Utilise wikis to improve teamwork and capture valuable knowledge by empowering collaborative work. Use blogs to cut down on email and provide insight and thought leadership on hot topics and projects. Create online spreadsheets, databases and forms with customisable columns, fields and data types. Digital Publishing. A best of breed digital experience platform that combines digital publishing and content marketing tools that provide relevant marketing content and communications. Helps firms collaborate and deepen client engagements and relationships. Create microsites and display compelling content to internal and external audiences via a customised and personalised intuitive interface that allows you to create elegant mobile-optimised and personalised dashboards to present your content and information in a way that is easy to consume. Customise the experience for different audiences by creating different layouts using the simple and easy to use panels.