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Perth law firm wards off Dropbox with SaaS content management system

Adam Bender | Sept. 23, 2013
NetDocuments lets Lavan Legal attorneys work anywhere, anytime.

Lavan Legal is deploying a cloud-based content management system to keep ahead of the consumerisation of IT.

The Perth law firm has decided to move ahead with deployment of NetDocuments after a successful pilot with two small legal teams. The cloud-based service will roll out on a team-by-team basis and finally be available to the entire 190-person firm by the middle of next month.

The new system enables attorneys to work outside the office and access emails and documents at any time, according to Lavan Legal IT director, Marco Marcello. The documents are kept in a central place, referenced to specific legal matters, and they can be easily searched and shared.

Marcello told Computerworld Australia that he wanted to offer the attorneys a document sharing system useful enough to discourage them from using less secure services like Dropbox.

Marcello said the law firm has not had problems with lawyers installing Dropbox or similar document sharing services. "I've been very, very strict and also had good communication process to warn about the dangers of it."

However, the IT director realised that approach would not work forever. "I knew that in time, if I didn't provide a better system, they will be forced to do those sorts of things."

"We weren't in desperate straits, but I knew if I didn't do something, in a couple of years I would be under intense pressure."

Similarly, Marcello saw a new document management system as a way to address increasing demand from lawyers for mobility.

"The consumer trend with mobile devices has really sown a seed in people's mind," said Marcello. However, he agreed there is much benefit in allow attorneys to access documents whenever and wherever they want.

"There are certain partners and certain lawyers who are out of the office a lot. Having access to their documents quickly and easily ... is just very, very useful."

Before, when a travelling lawyer wanted a document, he would have to phone the secretary and ask for the paper to be faxed, Marcello said.

Even for those who do not travel a great deal, the NetDocuments platform enables them to more easily work from home, he said. Marcello predicted that more staff will choose to work from home as they become more comfortable with the documents management system.

"It's flexibility--you're not locked to your desk. You have the flexibility to work the way you need to work and where your clients want you to work on any given day."

While the NetDocuments system can support any device, Lavan Legal uses mobile device management to restrict what devices have access to the law firm's network. The organisation has a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy but devices must be approved by IT before being connected.


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