Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP is an AmLaw 100 firm with more than 650 attorneys in 15 offices around the globe. Founded in 1927, it has a history of being on the cutting edge. For example, in 1946 it was one of a handful of law firms hiring female attorneys. Recently, with advancements in technology and a dispersed workforce, it was on the hunt for a platform that would provide easy-to-use client extranets while allowing for flexible mobile collaboration.
It found its answer in HighQ Collaborate.
The Challenge: Ease of Use, Mobile Ready
Sheppard Mullin originally sought a flexible, user-friendly platform to replace its legacy extranet system. The firm’s previous system was difficult to use and required extensive and repeated training for users.
With offices and clients across the globe, Sheppard Mullin was also concerned about usability. The firm’s Chief Knowledge Officer, Dora M. Tynes, explains, “Our attorneys work on various devices and are constantly on the go. We needed a solution that everyone could access from any device, from any location.”
With this in mind, Sheppard Mullin decided to switch to HighQ. Tynes says, “HighQ Collaborate is intuitive and easy to use with minimal training, which has saved us, and our clients, valuable time. The fact that it is entirely web-based and optimized for mobile use means that our users have more flexibility.”
The Solution: Intuitive Extranets that Facilitate Collaboration
HighQ offered a user-friendly solution, which Tynes reports has received positive feedback so far: “It looks great; it’s intuitive and easy to use. Our users were quick to adopt the new platform; if you can use Facebook or LinkedIn, you can use Collaborate.”
“HighQ is modular and we can easily customize what our users see according to their needs,” says Tynes. “We don’t have to worry about cluttering their views with functionality they don’t need or wouldn’t use.”
Sheppard Mullin found that after just one training session, attorneys were confident using the system. “Most users can navigate their way around without any training. We provide presentation style overviews and that’s usually all they need to begin collaborating on their sites,” Tynes explains. “Partners are saying, ‘I can do this, I don’t need my secretary to do it for me anymore!’”
“HighQ Collaborate is a great time saver. Our clients, attorneys, and administrative teams no longer need to spend time re-learning the system, which frees them up to be creative with the way they work and collaborate,” she says.
The Result: Inspiring Creativity and Supporting Collaboration
While Sheppard Mullin used its legacy system as little as possible, the firm is using HighQ Collaborate for much more than just extranets. “Our attorneys and clients have begun exploring the system and are experimenting with its features,” Tynes reports.
Using comments for discussion boards, wikis for documents, and databases in iSheets helps partners and clients keep tabs on constant change and results in genuine collaboration.
“Most of our attorneys use the platform for document collaboration and deal rooms, where they particularly like the digital rights management and granular audit control,” explains Tynes. “A group of our attorneys and their clients are using it for more advanced solutions, like contract management; matter financial or budget reporting; real estate deal management; project management, and event planning.”
Individuals are able to design their own solutions with Collaborate easily. “One of our partners has used Collaborate to set up news alerts for a client around events that may affect their company or their competitors,” Tynes says. “He was able to easily apply filters to make sure the news sources and content were relevant.”
Sheppard Mullin’s clients are also finding new uses for Collaborate. “A client wanted one firm to manage collaboration among the other firms they do business with,” Tynes explains. “Thanks to HighQ Collaborate, Sheppard Mullin became that exchange point.”
Conclusion: Attracting Clients and Changing the Way the Firm Works
Sheppard Mullin was particularly attracted to HighQ for its mobile features. As Tynes explains, “the web-based, cross-platform functionality is perfect for our users as they need to access data from various devices and operating systems. Not only can users access and manage information from any mobile device, they can also work from anywhere at any time.”
Sheppard Mullin is now able to offer its extranets as added value to clients. “We have received only positive feedback from our attorneys and, most importantly, from our clients,” says Tynes. “They love the flexibility of HighQ—how easy it is to use for their specific needs, and that they can manage their own sites; they like that control. They say ‘I love this thing!’ when they discover how easy it is to use.”
“The best part is that we include the capability of HighQ when pitching new work and on more than one occasion, it has helped us with those pitches,” Tynes is happy to report.