Toward the end of 2005, Bryan Cave recognized an opportunity to further enhance productivity among lawyers and staff. The firm’s intranet and content management system, used by lawyers and staff to access and share information on client matters, had evolved into a patchwork website, difficult to maintain. The firm wanted to explore a new intranet and content management system—one that would place client information at everyone’s fingertips, promoting collaboration and simplifying searches.
Avanade introduced Bryan Cave to the document storage and group collaboration capabilities of SharePoint 2007. The new intranet has a distinct website for each client matter. Avanade created custom tools that allow the firm’s client and matter management system to feed into the new SharePoint solution. Because SharePoint stores sites in a SQL Server database, the more than 50,000 sites of client matters would have created a resource management issue. Avanade created site collections to organize the many matter sites within SharePoint and wrote an HTTP module to allow for simple, concise URLs to make it easy to access specific sites.
Each lawyer and staff person at Bryan Cave now has a personal page, “My Site,” where they in essence go to work each day. The page has both a public view and a private view. The public view includes a bio and a case history, making it easy to “meet” other lawyers in the organization. The private view includes rich site summary (RSS) feeds that automatically deliver content associated with that individual’s clients and cases, eliminating search time and ensuring that lawyers are up to date on all client-related activities.
The firm has created a rich environment for collaboration that allows lawyers to quickly connect with the expertise they need to bring to bear on a client matter. Fingertip access to client documents and daily servings of relevant updates keep lawyers and staff focused on using information, not struggling to find it. Whether at the office, at a client’s, or at home, the solution is now where members of the firm “go to work.” And, it’s just the kind the kind of place where technology-savvy attorneys fresh out of law school want to go to work, helping Bryan Cave as it competes for the best and brightest.