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After installing Riverbed?s SteelHead appliances, the attorneys at top international law firm Allen Matkins were able to collaborate in real-time, reduce non-billable hours, and decrease file transfer times by more than 90 percent.


IN BRIEF

Industry

  • Professional Services (Legal)

Challenges

  • Improve client service by centralizing information and documents to enable corporate-wide access
  • Enable inter-office client teams to effectively collaborate over the wide area network
  • Eliminate attorney hours wasted on frustrating, non-billable tasks

Solution

  • A Steelhead appliance was deployed in each of 6 offices

Benefits

  • $980,000 in estimated productivity gains by eliminating long downloads, tracking down up-to-date information, and use of old information
  • Centralized CRM makes up-to-date customer information usable to all practice groups in real-time
  • $130,000 in annual bandwidth expenses avoided with one-time Steelhead appliance purchase.

Allen Matkins

Riverbed Steelhead Appliances Enable Global Collaboration for Law Firm

The Allen Matkins law firm (www.allenmatkins.com) has been focused on providing quality, reputable counsel for more than 25 years. Allen Matkins brings creative solutions to complex issues, turning problems into opportunities. With more than 200 lawyers situated in five major business centers in California, their practice is not merely statewide, but national and international in scope. The Firm has developed seventeen highly successful practice areas including Corporate and Securities, Litigation, Real Estate, and Technology.

Allen Matkins’ practice is founded on the belief that the relationship between clients and lawyers is unique and that the best interests of clients are served by long-standing individual relationships and personalized service. One of the top 200 law firms in the US, Allen Matkins regularly receives accolades such as “Best in the West” by California Lawyer, and “Top 50” by Daily Journal.

Challenge: Enabling Collaboration for Inter-Office Client Teams

As a law firm focused on relationships and personalized service, Allen Matkins takes customer demands very seriously. The Firm’s growth during a period of industry consolidation is a result of that focus. But customer demands have been changing rapidly. “Customers now expect the Firm to provide a broad range of expertise, across practice areas,” noted Frank Gillman, Director of Technology for Allen Matkins. “Our Firm must now create inter-office client teams that leverage specialized staff in different offices in order to provide the best possible client service.”

“We needed our wide area network to be an enabler for the way our attorneys work,” commented Gillman. “But with data distributed across offices and network latency impeding access, attorneys spent significant amounts of time finding and accessing information.” Critical applications for Allen Matkins included Interaction CRM by LexisNexis, and DOCS Open document management by Hummingbird.

Litigation case files, upwards of 60 megabytes, could take more than 20 minutes to download. If an attorney made any edits to the file, the changes would take another 20 minutes to upload. Attorneys would become frustrated and complain, and at the same time they would have to work longer in order to meet their required billable hours.

In addition, the existing data architecture required replicated information located in each office to be synchronized nightly. That scenario eased attorneys’ access to local information, but introduced challenges for both collaboration and IT management.

Solution: Steelhead Appliances Overcome Network Limitations

Gillman, along with senior engineers Clark Snyder and Jay Nash, considered Riverbed Steelhead appliances, but also examined Peribit WAN accelerators (now part of Juniper Networks). Gillman commented, “We also considered adding more bandwidth and hardware, but the annual leasing expenditures made a bandwidth upgrade prohibitive compared to a solution like Riverbed Steelhead appliances.”

In doing due diligence on Riverbed and Peribit (Juniper), Gillman and his team realized that a critical component of a WAN optimization solution was the breadth of protocol support and cross-application support. “Riverbed is ahead of the competition in its ability to support all of our critical protocols. Combined with the raw power of the product to accelerate data transfers using both data reduction and latency optimization, this was the winning solution.”

In addition, Gillman was impressed with the Riverbed sales force. “Before Peribit (Juniper) even met with us, Riverbed had assessed our needs and arranged for a full on-site evaluation. Riverbed effectively pursued our business and ensured that this project would be successful for Allen Matkins.”

Benefits: Better Client Service, Reduced Non-Billable Hours, and Simpler IT Management

Riverbed Steelhead appliances have enabled Allen Matkins’ attorneys to focus on delivering the best possible client experience without enduring frustrating downtime, lost hours, and non-billable overhead. Gillman estimated, “Using the Steelhead solution, we have eliminated more than 20 non-billable hours annually for the average attorney working in a remote office. Now we can provide our high-quality client experience while eliminating behind-the-scenes manual labor by our attorneys. That also translates into an estimated $980,000 in annual productivity gains for Allen Matkins. ”

“Litigation case files, which took more than 22 minutes to download, can now be downloaded in 2.5 minutes for a cold transfer. Edits followed by a transfer across the network take about 8 seconds. No amount of added bandwidth could do that for us.”

Steelhead appliances have also enabled consolidation of IT infrastructure. Because access to information is now accelerated, critical client data and documentation can be centrally stored at the corporate data center, where all practices can access it. “Because of Steelhead appliances, we no longer need to maintain as much remote IT infrastructure. We have changed the way we deploy remote infrastructure and back up remote data, for the better,” concluded Gillman.

End users also noticed a difference. Gillman recalled, “When we deployed Steelhead appliances, people noticed something was dramatically different with the network. Riverbed helped eliminate frustration for employees in all our offices, and that leads to a more effective, more enjoyable work environment. Plus, my staff can focus on forward-looking IT projects to keep Allen Matkins ahead of the competition.”

Cost Comparison

Gillman knew that Allen Matkins needed to upgrade its WAN in order to meet the needs of a changing legal environment. While Gillman and his team understood that a bandwidth upgrade alone could not provide the same high performance level as a Steelhead appliance deployment, they knew that a cost comparison would provide more internal support for the Steelhead solution. The team assembled key financial data (see Cost Comparison chart to left) in order to compare the cost of the two solutions for Allen Matkins.

As the chart to the left shows, over the course of just two years, the cost of deploying the Riverbed Steelhead solution would be 70% less expensive than the cost of implementing a bandwidth upgrade. Annual operating costs for the Riverbed Steelhead solution are a staggering 88% less expensive than a bandwidth upgrade.

SUMMARY

Alan Matkins needed to optimize its WAN in order to enable its attorneys to provide better client service. At the same time the Firm aimed to eliminate frustrating, non-billable tasks that were impeding the practice of law.

After reviewing competitive products and bandwidth upgrades, Allen Matkins deployed the Riverbed Steelhead solution in order to overcome latency and bandwidth limitations.

With Steelhead appliances, Allen Matkins’ attorneys have accelerated access to the freshest data, regardless of the attorney’s locations. Collaboration is eased, and non-billable hours are reduced.

“Riverbed is ahead of the competition in its ability to support all of our critical protocols.”

“The raw power of the product to accelerate data transfers, using both data reduction and latency optimization made it the winning solution.”

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SteelHead

SteelHead offers industry-leading secure optimization of all applications across networks. Learn how Riverbed can help improve your hybrid WAN performance.
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