Peer to Peer Magazine

Winter 2014

The quarterly publication of the International Legal Technology Association

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Page 14 of 75

PEER TO PEER: THE QUARTERLY MAGA ZINE OF ILTA 16 SMART MOVES About the Author Angela (Angie) Hickey is the Executive Director of Chicago law firm Levenfeld Pearlstein, LLC. She is a member of the firm's Executive Committee and Compensation Committee. Angie oversees all of the firm's financial and operational functions, including business development, marketing, human resources and technology, and is responsible for the strategic development and execution of the firmwide business plan. Contact her at In the midst of all the talk about legal technology audits and measuring attorney proficiency, we sometimes lose focus on the bottom-line goal of our client relationships: value creation. Levenfeld Pearlstein, a smaller midmarket firm, faces the same pressures and market realities as BigLaw. We recently used technology (in this scenario, Microsoft SharePoint and Handshake Software) to serve as a key ingredient in addressing our ongoing value challenge, scoring a big win for our firm and clients. VALUE CREATED THROUGH EXTRANETS Our recent experience developing a series of client extranets is a good example of how our focus on innovation and leveraging technology is creating value for our clients. As with all of our successful technology solutions, we did not begin with the technology. We began with a vision and then sought technology to deliver desired results. We had experienced previous success leveraging the powerful solution trilogy of our database infrastructure with Handshake and Microsoft SharePoint. We turned again to this solution trilogy when one of our firm's marquee clients was having difficulties accessing all litigation-related documents and files in one place. Access to the most current files was greatly impeded due to the client's interaction with multiple firm practice groups and the necessity to work on files from various firm sources at a frenetic pace. We embraced the business and technology challenges and worked with IT, administration and a partner in the firm's Banking & Restructuring Group to develop a client extranet that streamlined ongoing client communications and provided full access to pertinent case files and financial information. As a unified team, we proactively approached the client and told them of our plan to build them an external informational portal to ease doing business with the firm and give them real-time data. This would give them an advantage when dealing with their current and prospective clients. Our partner on the project, Bill Schwartz, said it best: "It's great to be able to connect with our clients on a non- lawyering level and really find out how we can help them tackle a business challenge. We met, listened to their needs and built the framework for an extranet. Once done, all parties were extremely happy with the outcome and collaboration effort." TECH THAT CHANGES RELATIONSHIPS Creating the dedicated extranet enabled the firm to push critical information from the docketing, document management and billing systems to the client and give them the access and control they needed. Our client can now access information such as the status of a case and a consolidated calendar/docket for pertinent court events and filing deadlines without calling on firm attorneys. Another vital extranet component has been the creation of the file upload/ download feature, which not only enables the sharing of large files that are difficult to email, it also provides version control based on the ability to view and access all documents in one secure place. While file- and information-sharing capabilities alone might not be earth- shattering, the firm's ability to work directly with clients on their challenges Measuring Technology Success by Business Value According to recent findings from The American Lawyer's 12th annual Law Firm Leaders Survey, firms are being forced to operate more strategically to survive, and they are looking to technology for ways to accelerate innovation and efficiency.

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