“Federated Search saves us spending $20,000 in proprietary search solutions and makes us more competitive with the big firms.”
–Kerry Flowers, Partner, Flowers and O’Brien LLC
Founded in 2006, Flowers and O’Brien has five employees and seven computers. Though it’s not surprising it has an abundance of paperwork, it’s the form and increased quantity that is challenging law firms i.e. electronic documents or edocuments. The ease of creating edocuments and case complexity has combined to increase total volume while the ability to navigate and analyze the information has lagged behind. FNO Law is constantly searching for better solutions to this information overload. “It’s not unusual to have to sort through several years’ worth of emails to find a few that relate to the case at hand. The costs…people, money and time…are enormous,” noted Kerry Flowers, Partner, Flowers and O’Brien LLC. “Someone has to go through all of the documents because we don’t initially know which ones are relevant. In the end, about 95 percent of the information gets tossed out.” Flowers is hopeful that new technology can improve the situation. “Just agreeing on which documents don’t have to be produced because the search tools and protocols are trusted would make a quantum leap improvement for both prosecution and defense and dramatically lower legal costs.” “The law hasn’t caught up with the technology. Electronic inspection needs to replace visual inspection. How can we handle and examine instant messaging, Twitter conversations and sexting? We need better tools,” continued Flowers.
This functionality enables the FNO Law’s legal team to find virtually any type of file anywhere on local drives, network and Internet. Searches are deeper and more comprehensive taking less time to examine a variety of edocuments.
Gadgets are mini applications with a variety of possible uses from delivering weather and news to customized business data. FNO Law is testing a translator gadget in combination with IE8 translation Accelerator.
Location Aware Printing
Automatically recognizes each new default printer as FNO Law’s staff moves from one network to another. Libraries Collections of documents and folders can be aggregated and shared between users more easily. Projects are streamlined for FNO staff and provide a single, unified view.
Web slices effortlessly keeps FNO up to date on city tax information found on a variety of websites.
Snap, Shake, Peek
FNO users can Snap windows side-by-side view by dragging windows to borders, left and right and grab and shake the foremost screen to make all other screens behind disappear. The Peek feature is invoked by clicking the lower right hand Show Desktop rectangle. The desktop is immediately visible to view gadgets and other desktop icons for a quick court date calendar check by FNO users.
Windows 7 delivers faster boot and resume times from sleep mode, decreasing user wait time. Trigger Start Services in the underlying technology that allow for efficient invoking of a variety of features and services.
Problem Steps Recorder
Problem Step Recorder allows FNO to precisely capture and communicate a computer problem. It also enables staff to create tutorials to train employees.
Federated Search Saves $20,000 Alternative
According to Flowers, the deep search capabilities of Federated Search enable the firm to speed the analysis of most electronic documents by an order of magnitude. Further, if the industry could agree on the reliability of thorough search tools as found in Windows 7, the cost of discovery and research may be significantly reduced. “Federated Search saves us spending $20,000 in proprietary search solutions and makes us more competitive with the big firms.” Flowers continued: “One recent client needed all of his .pst (email) files searched as part of a legal action. Federated Search completed the task in about two hours versus 25 or 30 hours for a paralegal to physically examine them.”
Document Navigation and Connections Enhanced
Making everyday tasks like navigating through a myriad of documents or connecting to a printer are making easier with Windows 7 from Flower’s perspective. “Aero desktop and Taskbar features like Peek, Shake, Hover, Pinning and Jump Lists are all great navigations tools. They make document handling all the more easy. Nicely done!” “Location Aware Printing eliminates the frustration of finding the right printer for the network you’re on. My focus is on getting legal briefs done, not on solving printer problems. It’s one more IT thing I don’t have to worry about.”
Tutorials Help Train Temps
Depending on workload and the need to accommodate staff needs, a combination of temporary help and additional paralegals might be necessary. However, training and knowledge transfer needs impacts the firm. Problem Step Recorder is seen as a new tool to address these issues according to Carl Mazzanti, chief executive officer, eMazzanti Technologies, the law firm’s IT consultant. “Problem Step Recorder will help FNO and us solve computer problems faster. It will also create tutorials to help educate temps for paralegals on personal leave. Training will happen faster and people will be more productive.”
Consolidated Client Documents Help Workflow
FNO is just starting to experiment with the new Libraries feature in Windows 7 and it appears to have a future. “Libraries hold the potential for streamlining our client’s work by linking all pertinent case documents in a single library regardless of where the files are actually located. Information is better organized and more easily accessed.”
New Technologies and Tools for Lawyers
According to Flowers, the legal industry has been hit hard during this economic downturn with thousands of attorneys laid off across the country. However, the economy is only one factor affecting the profession. Technology is replacing staff positions as well. That said, technology is also delivering tools that enhance productivity. “Since we deal with off-shore clients who speak Spanish and Portuguese, being able to tap translator tools via IE 8 Accelerators or desktop Gadgets is very helpful. We can quickly translate words or whole paragraphs in seconds helping us with emails or documents in the moment.” “Web Slices is another interesting tool. We can track tax issues across municipalities without having to go to several sites to gather the information. We easily monitor the changes that affect our clients.” “The legal profession must adapt to new technology or fade away. Windows 7 has features that go a long way to help us find and navigate documents better. Part of what we need is already in the box. ”
Faster and more reliable: Windows 7 will help your organization use information technology to gain a competitive advantage in today’s new world of work. Your people will be able to be more productive. You will be able to support your mobile work force with better access to shared data and collaboration tools. And your IT staff will have better tools and technologies to enhance corporate IT security, data protection, and more efficient deployment and management.