Call it Law & Order: IT Unit. With mounting concerns in the legal field over data privacy and document security, some CIOs are turning to targeted law office technologies to regulate risk and increase cost efficiencies.
In this video interview, filmed at the Fusion 2012 CEO-CIO Symposium in Madison Wis., SearchCIO-Midmarket.com Site Editor Wendy Schuchart sits down with William Caraher, CIO at von Briesen & Roper, s.c., in Milwaukee, Wis., to discuss the challenges he's faced in implementing legal technologies at his company.
Caraher stresses that law office technology gurus should invest in data security and privacy services in order to protect confidential information concerning legal cases and enhance trust in client relationships. Caraher also discusses how his firm is using technologies such as open source software and enterprise social media to further its legal-aid efforts.
Read a partial transcript from this interview below, and watch the video to learn more about how a strategic approach to law office technology is benefiting Caraher's firm.
Wendy Schuchart: Are there things that a CIO at a legal firm needs to be aware of that other CIOs at different types of companies might not have to worry about?
William Caraher: Yes. At a law firm, there are many other issues that a lot of CIOs don't have to worry about -- mainly, privacy of our client data and client relationships. It's not only for good client service, but it also could break the law if our attorneys divulge information about our clients, about their data, about their cases. So it's really important to keep data privacy paramount in our organization.
What kind of things have you been doing towards that end for data privacy?
In a law firm, we have specialized document management systems, so that even when you do a keyword search across the enterprise for a contract or a firm name, we have restrictions in place so that average users can't stumble upon protected data. So specialized document management systems and then even courtroom technology is very important as well. A lot of times, attorneys are going face-to-face with other attorneys who are equally knowledgeable about the law and about the case at hand. But what we have found is that technology has allowed them to put on a better presentation to a jury or to a judge. It's easier to digest the information when it's presented in a graphical way or if it's a presentation mode instead of just handing them copies of paper with evidence. So, we found that many of our attorneys embrace our technology and use it in the courtroom and have been very successful in it.
You've recently moved [your firm's] intranet to an open source platform. What were your key learnings from the experience?
When we set out to re-do our intranet, we had a really specific design in mind. I went to the market to say that I wanted to look at the universe of options for intranets, and I pretty much narrowed it down to four choices. So it was SharePoint, which most people go to; or developing a custom intranet solution from the ground up; or open source; and then the idea of a hosted solution, so something like ThoughtFarmer, where you would actually take your intranet and host it on a separate server and then all of your employees would connect to that.