Boutique Law Firm Cross-Examines Server Solution and Raises Productivity, Bottom Line: Dewey Pegno and Kramarsky

Business Needs

Formed in 1998, Dewey Pegno & Kramarsky, LLP (DPK), has grown into one of New York’s premier boutique litigation houses. The 25-employee firm has based its growth on an established record of successfully representing businesses and individuals in complex civil litigation and arbitration, including trials, appeals, and governmental investigations.

Small and fast-moving, DPK’s server infrastructure consists of three servers and various thin clients, executive desktops, and laptops running a mix of Windows® operating systems. A domain controller hosting Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), Domain Name System (DNS), Visual SourceSafe® (VSS) File Shares, global catalog, print, and logon scripts, ran alongside a computer running BlackBerry Enterprise Server and a Windows Server® 2003–based terminal server. A Red Hat Enterprise Linux-based file server was the sole unifying element for the various client computers.

“Billable attorney time was being lost to tasks such as system updates, anti-virus and anti-spyware updates, individual e-mail client issues, and other machine-specific problems,” says Stephen M. Kramarsky, Firm Member of Dewey Pegno & Kramarsky.  After the firm began to grow and problems began to surface on more than one client computer at a time, Kramarsky noticed that his own billable time was less than it could have been.

Furthermore, DPK attorneys often work from home or off-site, such as when in trial or deposition. “The lack of any standardized systems made support nearly impossible,” Kramarsky recalls. “Users also had no remote-access ability—even to the file server—and were using e-mail to move files to their home computers.”

Solution

Mixed desktop operating systems, inconsistent anti-spyware, lack of support for remote access, and the strong growth of the firm’s business strained the firm’s IT resources.  As the number of lawyers and the complexity of their IT needs increased, DPK realized that any downtime on its basic productivity tools was an unacceptable distraction. The firm needed a platform to provide a portal for remote access of files and applications in a standardized environment, as well as interoperability. Performance was a key factor, as well as the availability of skills to architect, deploy, and manage IT needs.

DPK turned to Microsoft Gold Certified Partner eMazzanti Technologies, and received the support level of an in-house IT department with the attention only a network management firm can provide. While a Linux-based solution was an option given DPK’s centralized Linux file server, eMazzanti recommended upgrading to Windows Server 2008 Standard, and adding an additional Intel-based Hewlett-Packard (HP) computer, also with Windows Server 2008 Standard. eMazzanti designed and deployed the RDP solution, using the new Terminal Services features, including: Terminal Services (TS) License Service, Terminal Services Easy Print, Terminal Services (TS) Web Access, the Windows Presentation Foundation, Desktop Experience Pack, and Themes Service. The solution was in place within two weeks.

“A migration of this size [large attorney e-mail archives] in an environment like a law firm [idiosyncratic desktop applications] could easily have been a disaster,” says Kramarsky, “but eMazzanti handled the challenges and the Microsoft products performed exceptionally well.”

Benefits

For DPK, the Windows Server 2008 solution was a boon, and attorneys are now able to collaborate freely through protected and centrally-hosted applications.

According to Kramarsky, “Quantifiably, the improvements to the bottom line have come primarily from IT cost savings, improved resource availability, and improved productivity due to easier collaboration and remote access.”

Key benefits include:

Improved remote access. Essentially, the firm shifted from having zero remote access by attorneys working at home or off site to 100% more secure and reliable remote access through Terminal Services.

Improved employee productivity. Office productivity has increased by an estimated 20% due to reduced downtime, and the ability to access centralized applications and data remotely.

Increased IT efficiencies. Application deployment time has reduced by 50%. The amount of time required to manage servers has decreased by five hours per week, and applying server patches requires 20% less time.

Improved security. Terminal Services have reduced virus-related incidents by 90%. Windows Server 2008 authentication protocols allowed DPK to improve border gateway security measures, while allowing public access to network resources.

Increased revenue. Kramarsky estimates that an increase in overall gross revenue for the firm will range between 5 and 15%. “This is due primarily to improvements in efficiency passed on to clients, and improved billing practices now possible due to the new server architecture.”

Windows Server 2008

Windows Server 2008, with built-in Web and virtualization technologies, enables you to increase the reliability and flexibility of your server infrastructure. New virtualization tools, Web resources, and security enhancements help you save time, reduce costs, and provide a platform for a dynamic and optimized datacenter. Powerful new tools like IIS 7.0, Server Manager, and Windows® PowerShell, allow you to have more control over your servers and streamline Web, configuration, and management tasks. Advanced security and reliability enhancements like Network Access Protection and the Read-Only Domain Controller option for Active Directory Domain Services harden the operating system and help protect your server environment to ensure you have a solid foundation on which to build your business.

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