Light Reading

Legal Eagles Eye Good

Light Reading
LR Mobile News Analysis
Light Reading
4/13/2006
50%
50%
Repost This

Houston-based Allen Boone Humphries Robinson LLP (ABHR) is a small firm with a large network.

Founded in 2003, ABHR is one of the few firms in Texas devoted solely to public law. The company's clients include cities, counties, water and municipal utility districts, and other public entities as well as developers and homeowners' associations. To coordinate its practice, ABHR uses ProLaw, a database solution for law firms provided by Thomson Elite, a leading provider of practice-management software to legal firms. ABHR's custom version of ProLaw includes more than 12,000 contacts as well as the firm's legal documents, client information, case-status updates, billing data, and so on.

When Debbie Cole, ABHR's chief administrator and IT liaison, began seeking a company-wide mobile messaging solution in January 2005, she knew she needed something that would give lawyers on-the-move access to the full ProLaw database as well as to their personal folders.

"ProLaw is the heartbeat of the firm," says Cole, "and all of that information is pushed down to public folders in Exchange. We knew we needed an application that would be able to integrate with those folders."

After a rigorous four-month process of examining "every provider and every possibility," as Cole puts it, comparing price, functionality, form factor, ease of use, and so on, ABHR settled on Good Technology Inc. 's GoodLink running on the Palm Inc. Treo 650 smartphone. (Cole was actually unaware of Good until the firm's sales rep from Verizon, ABHR's carrier, mentioned it.) ABHR now has about 35 users, both lawyers and administrative staff, on the Treos. The choice wound up a no-brainer, says Cole, because no other mobile messaging system could handle the firm's large number of contacts, integrate seamlessly with ProLaw, and provide access to personal folders on the handheld device as well. (See Palm Pushes Deeper Into Enterprise.)

"It was absolutely clear," says Cole, "that no one else could do what they can do."

The Allen Boone implementation is noteworthy because it demonstrates the growing importance of wireless integration with mobile enterprise applications, beyond basic push email. (See Filling Out the Wireless Application.)

Because the company's clients are often directors with full-time jobs, serving on boards that meet in the evening, many important gatherings take place outside office hours. And Allen Boone lawyers also spend significant time lobbying in the state capital, so when the Texas state legislature is in session, attorneys often find themselves making the three-hour drive on State Highway 71 from Houston to Austin. One of the firm's partners maintains an apartment in Austin for attorneys' use.

All of which means that Allen Boone attorneys work outside the office more than, say, civil litigation lawyers. Cole estimates that on average an ABHR lawyer has five meetings a day, three of which are outside the office. Keeping up with email, voicemail, and calendar appointments while in transit or in meetings is critical to the firm's success.

With the hodgepodge of mobile email devices lawyers carried previous to the GoodLink rollout, handhelds and PCs might fall out of synch for days at a time. Now, says Cole, synchronization happens almost instantaneously: "If I put something on a lawyer's calendar, it's on their Treo within two to three seconds. If I enter a contact, it's on their Treo within three to five seconds."

Another time-saving detail: If a user has a phone number included in a note or an email on the Treo, they can click on that number and the phone will automatically dial it, without having to add the number to the contact list first.

Total cost of the system was $425 per user for 28 months of GoodLink service, plus the monthly connection fees from Verizon. At just under $15,000 for 28 months, given the increases in efficiency and accuracy the system provides, ABHR's return on investment probably came within six months.

Going forward, Cole wants Good to include the "Categories" feature, as in Outlook, on the Treo user interface, so that lawyers can organize their contacts by district or case or client (an upgrade the company says it's working on), and to add voice-recognition capability to the phones -- a valuable safety enhancement, given the amount of time the lawyers use their smartphones while driving. Beyond that, she's still astonished that GoodLink has been as reliable and functional as it has.

"I figured that for it to synch [wirelessly], if that happened five days out of the week we'd be lucky," she laughs. "But we have just never had any problems. It's unbelievable."

— Richard Martin, Senior Editor, Unstrung

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Flash Poll
LRTV Documentaries
Cable Eyes Big Technology Shifts

4|16|14   |   03:02   |   (4) comments


US cable engineers are facing a lot of heavy lifting in the coming years, notes Light Reading Cable/Video Practice Leader Alan Breznick.
LRTV Custom TV
Maximizing Customer Experience & Assuring Service Delivery in an IP World

4|15|14   |   4:57   |   (0) comments


Steven Shalita, VP of Marketing, NetScout Systems, Inc., discusses the challenges cable/MSO operators face in assuring the delivery of new IP-based services. Key points include the value of proactively managing performance, and using rich analytics and operational intelligence to better understand service and usage trends, make smarter business decisions and ...
LRTV Documentaries
Bye-Bye DVD: Consumers Embrace Digital Video

4|10|14   |   04:17   |   (7) comments


Veteran video analyst Colin Dixon, founder and principal analyst of nScreenMedia, says research shows 56% are using digital video already.
LRTV Documentaries
Video: TW Cable Puts Multicast Gateways to the Test

4|8|14   |   04:13   |   (1) comment


Tom Gonder, a chief architect at Time Warner Cable, explains how its trial of multicast gateways is impacting IP-based video plans.
LRTV Custom TV
Managing & Monetizing Big Data in Operator Environments

4|7|14   |     |   (1) comment


At Mobile World Congress, Gigamon's Director of Service Provider Solutions, Andy Huckridge, and Heavy Reading Analyst Sarah Wallace discuss the 'big data' issues facing carriers and operators today.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Data Center Energy – Build Your Data Center in a Modular Way

4|7|14   |   2:13   |   (0) comments


Dr. Fang Liangzhou, VP Network Energy Product Line, shared his thoughts about the challenges for data centers during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Agile Network Solution – An Overview of Huawei's Agile Network Solution

4|7|14   |   2:31   |   (0) comments


Ajay Gupta, Director of Product Marketing, Networking Product Line, gives an overview of the Agile Network Solutions during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s eLTE Voice Trunking, Video and Data Applied for Railways

4|7|14   |   1:38   |   (0) comments


Gottfried Winter is the Sales Director at Funkwerk, a German specialist in GSM-r terminals and a long-time partner of Huawei. At CeBIT 2014, Winter talks to Light Reading about this partnership and the integration of enhanced voice trunking, video and data functions.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
LeaseWeb Speaks Highly of Huawei's Datacenter Products

4|7|14   |   1:37   |   (0) comments


Rene Olde Olthof, Operations Director LeaseWeb, talks about the next data center transformation during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Documentaries
Comcast: Reshaping the Cable Network Architecture

4|3|14   |   07:11   |   (8) comments


Shamim Akhtar, Comcast's architect and senior director of network strategy, explains why the cable company is moving to a more distributed network architecture.
LRTV Custom TV
VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger at Mobile World Congress

4|1|14   |   3:41   |   (0) comments


VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger speaks to Heavy Reading about the value of virtualization spanning from the data center to service provider networks to mobile devices.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Analysts' Impressions of Huawei SoftCOM at ONS 2014

4|1|14   |   1:11   |   (0) comments


After visiting the Huawei booth at ONS, Lee Doyle of Doyle Research gives his appraisal of Huawei's SoftCOM solution.
Hot Topics
BlackBerry Invests in Healthcare IT Startup
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 4/15/2014
Volvo: AT&T HSPA+ Can Drive My Car
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 4/16/2014
T-Mobile Petitions Operators to Kill Overages
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 4/14/2014
Cisco & VMware Are Apple & Google of SDN
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 4/14/2014
Mobile Apps Susceptible to Heartbleed, Too
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 4/14/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed