If you want to change the way law is practiced and perceived in Ireland, you're going to need some impressive technology to deliver on your vision. That's exactly what Noble Solicitors in Dublin is aiming to do, enabled by strategic partnerships like that with communications infrastructure provider AirSpeed Telecom.
Formed by partners with experience in some of Ireland's best known law firms, Noble Solicitors was founded in 2015 and already counts the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board, Abbots Pharmaceutical, Sims IVF, Medmark, Trinity College, RKD architects, PM Group and several leading construction firms among its clients. It specialises in medical law and offers expertise in construction law and public procurement. From the beginning it set out to deliver its services in a way that confounds traditional ideas about law firms.
"The difference is in our name - we're noble with a small ‘n’ -- and that makes all the difference!"
said one of the founding partners, Bruno Herbots.
With a reception area more akin to a luxurious hotel lobby than an impersonal solicitors' firm, Noble wants to put clients at ease from the start.
"When clients are at ease and feel they can speak with you, they are more willing to tell you their story with warts and all. In turn, this allows you, as their solicitor, to distil the relevant legal facts, develop the right strategy and construct a story consistent with the legal approach taken – it is that story that you'll eventually have to communicate to the Court. After all, lawyers are nothing if not storytellers. If the story is simple, coherent and convincing, you have won half the battle," Bruno said, “hence the comfortable and welcoming reception area.”
Modern technology tools for a modern firm
Technology plays a vital role in helping solicitors obtain and organise the facts of every client’s story. Any legal case, and in particular construction cases, entails a huge weight of documentation which must be sorted through, analysed, and repeatedly searched and checked to ensure that the story being assembled by the legal team cannot be contradicted or undermined by the evidence.
Noble knew it wanted to use technology to its best effect in order to streamline, manage, search, and access data. Cloud technology was the logical choice. To fully leverage hosted services systems like e-discovery tools, an extremely fast and reliable enabling network was going to be essential.
But months after paying another telecoms provider for an access circuit, the Dawson Street premises still had no connectivity. Following an introduction from its IT supplier, Noble met with the team at AirSpeed.
"It was a breath of fresh air: we met AirSpeed, and within eight days we were up and running with the extremely fast connectivity we needed. The speed and reliability of what AirSpeed provided have been excellent – we've had no issues at all -- and there's a lot resting on that network."
AirSpeed provided a private 250 Mb per second circuit for Noble, and a managed SIP trunk for voice with direct-dial inwards numbers for its staff. Supporting this circuit is a DSL connection to ensure business continuity. This infrastructure not only secures speed and security of data, it also enables effective remote and part-time working among its staff -- another unique feature of Noble, as many law firms have traditionally been reluctant to tolerate home-based or part-time work.
Whilst law firms have on average a maximum access speed of 100 Mb per second, Noble knew its technology-centric operations would need something faster and more secure. Daily operations of the firm will make intensive use of technology -- not just for tools like cloud-based e-discovery systems, but also for its web-based customer portal and the streaming video content it's preparing for clients.
Hosted systems to lower costs for clients
Like any company with a strategic approach to IT, Noble is seeking ways to use technology to automate and streamline common processes and minimise manual intervention, aiming to keep clients' fees down and efficiency high. For example Noble is doing a unique take on the "frequently asked questions" list by making video recordings of standard verbal briefings it delivers most often to clients.
"Where there is information or there are issues that come up frequently, we're looking to put that into a methodology so that we don't have to repeat standard communications, and clients don't have to pay for the privilege of listening to us deliver a live talk on a topic that could easily have been recorded," Bruno said. "Many law firms talk about their desire to keep fees to a minimum, but unless you embrace technology and think creatively, you can't really deliver on that promise. With our systems, and the network AirSpeed has delivered for us, we're confident that we will deliver."