The way the legal profession uses technology has transformed in the past decade, with advances such as automated client relationship systems and case tracking software delivering huge benefits to practitioners and clients alike.
With this modernisation can come a host of headaches, including the need for bulletproof compliance in a heavily-regulated sector, and the requirement for IT infrastructure capable of handling increased demand.
Making the most of the opportunities afforded by technology while avoiding the potential pitfalls requires a strategic approach – one that does not just solve today’s problems but looks ahead to how the organisation will develop tomorrow and beyond.
This is the expertise that Aura Technology brought to Humphries Kerstetter, a specialist litigation practice renowned for its pedigree in the commercial disputes market.
The firm’s growth and modern ways of working left it in need of first-class IT infrastructure in keeping with its cast-iron reputation for excellence.
Based in the heart of London, the firm was founded in 2009 with a vision of creating a lean and highly-skilled practice, largely free of conflicts, which could go head-to-head with the top-tier firms in high stakes litigation.
Over the past decade, Humphries Kerstetter has held true to that core vision, growing year-by-year into a truly dynamic firm, free of outdated hierarchies, in which the work and the clients come first. Recognised in The Lawyer HOT 100 2018, the firm receives instructions from both claimants and defendants and has a client list including several FTSE 100 companies and international investment banks.
Based in a central office, the team spends significant amounts of time remote working due to the logistical demands of the legal profession.
Following a review last year, the team concluded that the firm’s existing IT equipment was no longer fit-for-purpose and new systems were required. A key driving force behind this was the need for fast and reliable file sharing of electronic documentation by employees working remotely, as well as a system that was scalable, allowing for future growth. The most pressing issue was that, due to expansion, the team needed to move to new offices in Fleet Street.
The decision was taken to implement as much change as possible in a compressed period – meaning that migration to a new IT system and a new office would happen at the same time. It was a business-critical process for the firm – and one which required careful planning, intelligent solutions and ultra-reliable implementation.
The first step of Aura’s approach, as with all clients, was to gain a comprehensive understanding of the business, how it functions now and where it wants to be in order to grow and thrive.
Aura’s support model began with an onboarding project, conducting a full strategic review of Humphries Kerstetter’s IT systems and identifying key areas that required improvement. The review concluded that new IT infrastructure was required, and Aura’s specialists held detailed discussions with the team about the options.
A key decision revolved around the pros and cons of a cloud-based billing system. The team at Humphries Kerstetter decided that new server infrastructure based in the office was the best course of action to match the business’s specific requirements. The firm migrated to a new billing system as part of the project and Aura liaised with the third-party provider to ensure implementation would complement and dovetail into the new IT system.
Following weeks of planning and preparation, the Aura team pulled out all the stops in the final week of the IT migration and office move to ensure a smooth transition. Engineers worked through a weekend to ensure that the new IT system was ready to go and would work without a hitch when business resumed at 9am on the Monday.
Aura specialists also installed a new telephony system that would take the firm’s communications systems to the next level of productivity and efficiency. A unified communications system on a single platform, converging voice, video, and data needs, was set up.
Humphries Kerstetter was also allocated a virtual IT director to fully examine the company’s IT needs from an overall business perspective, as well as an Aura account manager with whom to liaise on day-to-day requirements and chair monthly meetings.
Aura’s highly-skilled service desk and round-the-clock engineering support teams gave the team peace of mind should any reactive issues occur and require remote or on-site response.
The team at Humphries Kerstetter are now working with an IT system that is fit-for-purpose and resilient to the needs of legal work in the 21st century. Aura Technology has built a system that is adaptive and can be improved even further as time goes on. Aura specialists are working closely with the team to explore other avenues to improve, such as video conferencing.
James Russell, partner at Humphries Kerstetter, said: “People came into work on the Monday and logged on to our new IT system without any problems whatsoever. The Aura team were very calm and professional, and we felt in very safe hands throughout the entire move.
“Aura are now looking after all our IT requirements. It’s a night-and-day difference to what we used to have. The team are extremely responsive, and nothing seems to be a problem.
“They have already got very good data and analytics on what’s working and what is not working. I feel that they are truly working with us – not just providing a utility. They understand how we work and might work better. I feel it’s a collaboration – not just IT support.
“I trusted the team and they delivered over and above our expectations. Working with Aura has saved us so much time management – allowing the IT experts to do what they do best has allowed us to concentrate on our own work.”
Aura, based at Southampton’s Ocean Village, works with a variety of mid-market companies across the south. Whether providing high-level consultancy, or day-to-day IT provision for businesses, understanding clients’ three to five-year strategic plans is key.
Tim Walker, MD at Aura Technology, said: “Aura understands the particular challenges that apply to the legal profession, and we are able to work at board and senior level to ensure that IT infrastructure is compliant, streamlines workflow and enables future growth.
“We are delighted to have had such a positive impact at Humphries Kerstetter, helping to enable the firm to provide the outstanding service it is renowned for, now and long into the future.”
The Aura team
Aura works at senior level with businesses with mainly between 50 and 500 IT users to develop and implement IT strategies that are aligned to business plans and goals.
Backed by a team of technology professionals with decades of experience, Aura, based at Ocean Village, Southampton, works with clients including Vail Williams, Spinlock, Inspiration Marine Group and Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust.