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Lawyers learn how to upgrade at 'Network U.'

LAWYERS LEARN HOW TO UPGRADE AT 'NETWORK U'

Brown & Herrick of Mesa, Ariz., turned to a network systems integrator for education to upgrade its information systems.

The integrator, which might be better named "Network University," became the law firm's teacher.

Brown & Herrick now boasts a 47-node network that allows it to keep its reputation as being technologically ahead of the competition.

Workstations sit on virtually every desk, including the receptionist's, in the 12-attorney firm.

They are linked to each other and to the firm's mini-computer.

Everyone shares documents.

Each secretary can enter time and billing information from her desktop.

Application software includes Higgins for office productivity and administration, WordPerfect for word processing, and Lotus spread-sheet.

"Everybody else was pushing their own hardware, but Micro One was more flexible on the components of their solution," says Rita Trujillo, legal administrator for Brown & Herrick.

She liked the integrator's law-firm experience.

"Even the national chains didn't have the legal experience we thought necessary to do the job right," Trujillo says.

Once the attorneys were sold on the idea of a local-area network, Trujillo needed to gain staff acceptance.

Cash For 'A's

So she sent every secretary to training classes.

The law firm would pay course fees for those who passed, and everyone who received an "A" or "B" was promised a cash bonus.

The courses were scheduled so that soon after they ended, the network would be up and running, enabling each staff member to use the new-found knowledge.

Training was provided for Higgins, WorkGroup, and systems administration.

Trujillo says even a relatively small firm can see significant productivity gains from a network.

At Brown & Herrrick, an unforeseen benefit was the reduction in dedicated word-processing staffers, from four to one.

On weekends, Trujillo says, attorneys can make their own changes to documents; this further reduces support-staff overtime.

And because of better communications through the network, the management team has trimmed its schedule of meetings from weekly to monthly.

Moreover, Trujillo and managing partner John Herrick can now produce detailed reports based on time and billing information available on their desktop, increasing their productivity and the quality of information available to them.

"Of all the seminars I attended, theirs were the most useful because they were in English."
COPYRIGHT 1991 Nelson Publishing
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Communications News
Date:Jan 1, 1991
Words:374
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