Agile Working using flexible solutions
Many of our legal clients are facing significant challenges retaining their junior staff, as explored by Law and Broader founder Chrissie Wolfe. Many of these new hires are familiar with remote working, relaxed about data transfer and expect their employers to embrace more agile working practices such as only needing to be physically present in the office two days a week.
Achieving this while maintaining high levels of service, accommodating for clients who require in-person legal services and maintaining client confidentiality throughout is a challenge. Not an insurmountable challenge, but one which needs to be qualified and approached with a clear view of the destination.
Our larger clients use Virtualisation technologies such as VMWare, Citrix Enterprise and Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization in order to build systems which are fast – easily accessible, and secured so that only authorized personnel can access them.
We’ve seen this best implemented in our top-50 legal clients, they invested in Private Cloud solutions that enabled staff to routinely connect to systems, although there were certain improvements in security they could have implemented such as MetaAccess for added security and compliance monitoring.
Use of a Private Cloud enabled these firms to facilitate the lives of their staff and improve retention as well as effective hours worked. Resilience was a factor to consider and many Partners would use their iPads to remote on to the virtual systems when on the move.
For many Agile Working and Digital Natives are phrases which are closely associated together. However being able to work in an Agile way has more to do with flexibility than simply connecting to a powerful computer.
As junior lawyers continue to join the profession it will move from being one which values a billable hour to one which is more sensitive to the time-pressures we all face. This does not mean not filling timesheets, but instead engaging with customers based on value-propositions and fixed-fee work.
The growth of legal project management is indicative of this broader change in how we in the profession work. Billable hours are still alive and well, and will remain so, despite this myriad new ways of accounting for value will mean fixed-fees are more profitable for certain kinds of work.
Digital Transformation is therein a primarily cultural change, and this needs to be communicated to your end-users to ensure there is buy-in early on for these new ways of working. Our partners are experts at the cultural transformation element here and we highly recommend running a Discovery Session to explore your vision for the future.
So, what about the IT Kit? Tablet computers are now often referred to as 2-in-1 devices – that is, both a laptop and a tablet. These can be Chromebooks or Windows, or Linux devices that are lightweight (often about 2 Kilograms) and bend-backwards to allow users to make the most of their touchscreens. See below.
Touchscreens are rarely used
Hayachi Services would offer a word-of-caution on the purchase of tablet-computers though. Firms can readily buy traditional Tablets for about 200 pounds exVAT that satisfy the need for a touchscreen. This can serve as a ‘second device’ in the way a Chromebook would should you wish to also have Windows devices in your IT Estate.
We rarely see touchscreens being used for legal work ‘in-the-wild’ even when annotating commercial contracts, and would advise against purchasing laptops which will cost significantly more simply for a touch-screen. Find out what the capability is that your firm requires, rather than buying a certain laptop of a certain spec for the sake of it.
If you are concerned about the viability of Chromebooks in your firm we could run a joint Discovery Session with Cloudify Legal to illustrate practical use-cases of a more Cloud-oriented approach to Agile Working. They are an excellent entry-point to Agile Working.