Law Firms in the U.S. and Europe See Unified Communications Applications Vital to Client Service


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o Avaya finds law firms on the vanguard of realizing the benefits of unified communications

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, August 22, 2007
BASKING RIDGE, N.J. – For law firms and other professional services organizations, technology can make all the difference. A recent commissioned study[1] conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Avaya (NYSE: AV), a leading global provider of business communications applications, systems and services, shows that 92% of the professional services organizations surveyed see communications technology as the key to improved client satisfaction.

Leading law firms have been on the vanguard of realizing how unified communications can support time-critical, day-to-day requirements and drive new levels of client satisfaction by breaking down the silos between email, voicemail and telephony. Today, associates at firms such as Riemer and Braunstein, Olswang, Brinks Hofer Gilson and Lione, and Broad and Cassel have increased their mobility, accessibility and responsiveness through integrated Avaya communications solutions that are available over any network on their device of choice.

Boston-based law firm uses technology to set itself apart
A 70-year-old firm headquartered in Boston, Riemer and Braunstein specializes in the financial aspects of law. Today the 150-person company is experiencing explosive growth with offices in New York, Chicago and Burlington, Mass.

The company wanted to give its attorneys options for communicating securely and reliably when away from the office – helping them stay in touch with clients and colleagues. Since Avaya’s voicemail system integrates with Microsoft Outlook, they can access both email and voicemail using cell phones or PDAs.

“There’s a real ‘wow’ factor when clients get an audio .wav file in reply to their email message, recorded by an attorney sitting on a plane on an airport runway,” said Bruce Bial, Riemer and Braunstein. “They are impressed with how responsive we are, even if they don’t understand the backend technology. It’s very user friendly, though. I give attorneys a quick tutorial and that’s all they need. There’s no overhead for training.”

For added convenience and responsiveness, Avaya Speech Access allows attorneys to use voice commands for retrieving, responding to and managing all kinds of messages.

“Our attorneys are very mobile and often travel to places where there is no Internet access,” Bial said. “With Avaya Speech Access, we eliminate lag. They can use the phone to remain completely responsive to both voicemail and email messages. Speech Access also alleviates safety concerns when people are in their cars. They can work hands-free rather than trying to type on a Blackberry while driving.”

With Avaya Remote Call Forwarding, attorneys can direct calls to a remote phone when working away from the office, or use Avaya Extension to Cellular to have calls made to their office line ring simultaneously on their cell phone or PDA.

“Clients can reach their attorney through a single number whether in the office or on a business trip,” Bial said. “The same flexibility helps with life balance. Now you can go to a Little League game and still be available for critical calls.”

London firm uses technology to boost employee mobility
Olswang is a leading law firm renowned for its ground-breaking work in the technology, media, communications and real estate industries. Founded in 1981, the firm has grown to a staff of nearly 600, including 85 partners across offices in London, Thames Valley, Brussels and Berlin.

The firm has experienced a number of benefits using Avaya’s unified communications applications. These IP telephony-based communications solutions have helped expand collaborative work practices, improve communications and reduce costs while introducing new ways of working.

“We deployed an Avaya IP telephony solution across three offices in London, Reading and Berlin as a foundation to one unified communications network,” said Clive Knott, information technology director at Olswang. “Lawyers are expected to work from different sites and to avoid hefty international mobile phone charges. Avaya IP telephony has opened doors to new applications and functionalities. Now lawyers just need to log onto a spare desk-phone, they can make and receive calls from their usual extension number as well as retrieve voicemail messages.”

Intellectual property firm boosts productivity and service levels
One of the country’s largest intellectual property law firms, Brinks Hofer Gilson and Lione relies on Avaya intelligent communications to be available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

“The field of law is very demanding of technology,” said Rod Sagarsee, chief information officer for Brinks. “It’s all about providing exceptional service. With Avaya IP telephony, our attorneys can do more, stay connected and have additional ways to communicate with clients.”

Avaya unified communications applications have revolutionized the way the Brinks team communicates – boosting both productivity and client service. When attorneys travel, they can use the Avaya Softphone application on their laptop for a full-featured phone that securely connects through the primary office communications server. Since the softphone is an extension of the one at their desk, attorneys make and receive calls just as if they were in the office. Doing so reduces toll charges, especially for those traveling internationally. The firm also uses Avaya Speech Access and Avaya Extension to Cellular to enable team members on the road to serve client needs efficiently.

Florida firm uses technology to remain responsive, even during storms
Broad and Cassel’s more than 175 attorneys are based in eight offices across the hurricane-prone state of Florida. A new companywide Avaya telephony network with survivability features allow branch offices to operate independently if connectivity to the main network is lost during a storm. In addition, new intelligent communications applications have been a hit with the Broad and Cassel team.

“Avaya Modular Messaging has been one of our biggest wins with attorneys,” said Gary Harris, manager of systems operations for Broad and Cassel. “Now they can ‘see,’ play and forward voicemail through their Microsoft Outlook inbox, just like email.”

The same voicemail system serves as a disaster hotline during bad weather. Staff members can call in to track down colleagues, leave messages and locate emergency supplies. It also helps them stay in touch with clients.

“As long as our central voicemail server is operational, clients can leave messages, even if local lines are down,” Harris said. “Each attorney also has a backup number for retrieving messages. If their local office is out of operation, they simply dial in through another Broad and Cassel location to reach their voice mailbox.”

The Avaya Softphone and Extension to Cellular applications enable traveling attorneys to transparently receive important calls made to their office extension and access communications features and directories.

“We implemented our new network to save on our telephony costs, but there are real business benefits that go well beyond the initial savings we projected,” Harris said. “Clients now can reach an attorney through a single number without having to hang up and redial, and our attorneys have access to time-saving features that make them more productive. Ultimately, we have a flexible foundation for growing our business.”

[1] Unified Communications Custom Study. Forrester Consulting. May 2007.

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