LAWIN, a leading law firm in the Baltic States, needed to upgrade its email messaging and information worker tools with a standardised platform integrated with its core systems. The company upgraded to the Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system with Hyper-V virtualisation technology, and also chose to implement Microsoft Exchange Server 2010. The virtualisation solution, along with Microsoft Office 2010, has helped reduce administration costs by 70 per cent.
LAWIN, one of the most highly rated business law firms in north-east Europe according to leading legal directories including Chambers Europe, operates in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, where it employs more than 130 legal professionals. LAWIN is the only firm in the Baltic States belonging to Lex Mundi, a global association of independent law firms.
In the first quarter of 2010, LAWIN in Lithuania began evaluating a replacement for its messaging and collaboration server technology and its suite of Microsoft Office tools. Danutė Verikaitė, IT Director at LAWIN, says: “We needed to update our email messaging system to increase availability and storage, improve usability, and help our legal professionals become more productive.”
LAWIN wanted to standardise its server and client technology on the latest versions of information worker and collaboration technology, and integrate them with its core systems. The law firm had already implemented Microsoft Dynamics software for its enterprise resource planning system and Microsoft Office SharePoint for its intranet. Verikaitė says: “We ruled out a cloud-based solution, but wanted to take advantage of virtualisation to make scaling the environment more cost effective.”
The LAWIN legal team needed the flexibility to access its email accounts instantly from any location, while being sure that client data was secure and accessible at all times. Verikaitė says: “In a busy law firm, any system downtime potentially results in delay in service provision to clients. Round-the-clock stability and connectivity are vital to maintain our competitive edge. And, as our existing system was out of warranty and no longer fit for purpose, we needed a solution fast.”Solution
LAWIN decided to address its email migration as part of a larger project to improve its IT environment. Working with Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Alna Intelligence―a business partner since 1997―LAWIN upgraded to Windows Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V technology, and decided to implement Microsoft Exchange Server 2010. After a proof of concept, work began on deploying the solution in the third quarter of 2010. It took three months to complete.
Jurgita Masiulytė, Business Development Manager at Alna Intelligence, says: “The design involved two servers running Windows Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V to support all Microsoft applications. We deployed Exchange Server 2010 Enterprise on both servers—clustered to maximise availability.”
LAWIN also implemented the Windows 7 operating system and Microsoft Office 2010, and provided training for LAWIN staff. Using Windows Automated Installation Kit for Windows 7, Alna Intelligence made custom images for fast deployment over Windows Deployment Services. The wider range of storage options in Exchange Server 2010 overcame the challenges faced by LAWIN with its previous system.
The company has a three-year Open Value Subscription agreement with Microsoft, renewed at the beginning of 2011, which helps to ensure lower upfront expenditure and the flexibility to change licensing numbers annually. For greater security and peace of mind, LAWIN upgraded its firewall protection software to Microsoft Forefront Threat Management Gateway 2010. And, in addition, it is planning to add data encryption technology.Benefits
With its upgraded environment, LAWIN has cut administration costs by more than 70 per cent. There is less downtime and technicians can work on higher value tasks. Legal professionals at the company are also working more efficiently, completing tasks faster and increasing productivity. Through virtualization, the infrastructure is more cost effective and can scale easily, in line with future needs.
Virtualisation helps IT team boost system availability. With Hyper-V, LAWIN can run multiple virtualised servers on one physical machine. With the new system, maintenance can take place in normal working hours without causing downtime.
Administration costs fall by 70 per cent. The firm is now spending 70 per cent less on administration, according to Verikaitė, while the time taken to set up a new computer has dropped from several hours to 15 minutes. She says: “Our legal professionals can now switch computers easily and quickly, with hardly any loss of billable time.”
Remote access to email messages enhances customer service. With web-based access to their inboxes through Microsoft Office Outlook Web Access, employees can be highly productive when working remotely. An increasing number of lawyers are receiving email messages through their smartphones with Microsoft Exchange Server 2010.
Lawyers enhance productivity with new tools. Windows 7 has improved performance, stability, and connectivity. Verikaitė says: “Office 2010 is highly intuitive and appreciated by all our staff. Together with Windows 7, it helps them increase their efficiency, getting more done each day.”
Lawyers no longer face data storage challenges. With the storage options available in Exchange Server 2010, LAWIN now has increased mailbox sizes for employees.This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.