Thomson Snell & Passmore LLP is regarded as one of the leading full service law firms in South East England, outside of London. The firm has 200 staff including over 100 lawyers, many of whom are recognized as leading individuals by independent guides to UK law firms. Clients include PLCs, UK subsidiaries of overseas companies, SMEs, owner-managed businesses, local authorities, charities, families, private individuals and entrepreneurs. Specialist sectors served by the firm include food and drink, transport and logistics, construction and engineering, and education.
Based in Tunbridge Wells, the firm also has a thriving office in the Thames Gateway, which services that region as well as the Medway redevelopment area. The practice has been recognized by a number of industry awards, which include being named a ‘Top 25 Law Firm’ by Private Client Practitioner magazine and appearances in the City wealth leaders list. Thomson Snell & Passmore is a Tier 1 firm in no fewer than 11 practice areas according to independent legal directories. Established in 1570, it is also the UK’s oldest law firm.
For law firms like Thomson Snell & Passmore LLP that handle highly sensitive information and documents daily, maintaining data security is critical. As the Head of Information Systems, Anthony Graham recognized the risk email, online, and mobile working posed to data security and began devising a security strategy that would provide 360-degree protection across all channels.
“Lawyers generally aren’t aware of the risks posed by using consumer-grade applications, or the fact that sensitive information could exist as metadata in documents they share outside of the firm. It’s our job as IT to make sure that no matter how they are accessing or sharing files, all sensitive or confidential information remains completely secure at all times,” Graham said.
Thomson Snell & Passmore LLP’s 200 employees—of which 100 are lawyers—share sensitive documents using email. The firm acknowledged the need for an all-encompassing solution that would enable its workforce to manage and share their documents in a controlled way in a company-approved secure cloud environment.
“Emails and documents are the lifeblood of the firm. So it was crucial that we found a way for our lawyers to share files and collaborate with others securely, even on a mobile device, and without disrupting their current workflows,” Graham said.
In particular, there was a need for lawyers to be able to compare multiple document versions to easily see changes and comments, and then be able to share new versions with clients securely. Paramount to this process was being able to maintain control of all documents once they left the corporate network, along with an audit trail of activities.
“As a UK law firm, an important requirement was that all sensitive data was held in Europe. Workshare is a vendor who we felt could guarantee this,” Graham said.
Thomson Snell & Passmore LLP selected Professional 8, a suite of applications for secure document comparison and collaboration. Professional 8 combines market-leading comparison capabilities and metadata-removal features to clean hidden sensitive data from documents attached to emails in one, simple, desktop product. Thomson Snell & Passmore LLP also selected Protect Server, which allows IT to set granular data policies to strip metadata from attachments sent via hosted exchange, webmail, and mobile devices.
“Implementing Workshare was an easy choice. My experience of working with them while at other law firms was always very positive, and their team’s expertise and knowledge of the legal sector is unmatched,” Graham said.
Since implementing Professional 8 and Protect Server, Thomson Snell & Passmore LLP has benefited from greater control over how company and client data is managed and shared. Fee earners are now empowered to work the way they want, working in the most efficient and transparent way with clients. With secure file sharing extended to mobile devices, Thomson Snell & Passmore LLP’s fee earners can now share documents securely from the office and on the move, providing a consistent level of security across the firm.
“With Professional 8 and Protect Server, we have met our lawyers’ needs for an easy-to-use application, and IT’s need for 360-degree protection,” Graham said.
He continued, “Our lawyers are now able to accurately compare lengthy documents and at the click of button, securely share these with clients via Workshare. This brings a number of efficiency gains but also provides Thomson Snell & Passmore LLP’s clients with the peace of mind that all conversations and changes remain secure and fully auditable.”
Graham commented, “Law firms need to ensure complete data security. To maintain this, they must review their IT strategy and make key improvements to reassure clients that the security of their data is a primary concern; and that’s exactly what we’ve done here at Thomson Snell & Passmore LLP.”