Carlock, Copeland & Stair is a firm of civil trial lawyers based in Atlanta and Charleston, S.C., with 85 attorneys and 300 total employees.
The lawyers of Carlock, Copeland & Stair travel frequently among firm offices, client sites and courthouses throughout the Southeast, often using Apple iPads and Android tablets in place of traditional laptops. To support any-device, any-network file sharing and collaboration for this mobile workforce, the firm initially investigated cloud-based solutions—an approach that quickly showed drawbacks. “We had no idea where our files were hosted,” explains Gary Lovell, partner and chair of the firm’s Transportation Practice Group. “The documents we deal with are highly confidential. We needed to find a way of hosting them internally.”
Carlock, Copeland & Stair’s IT group had already used Citrix XenDesktop to implement desktop virtualization, supported by the firm’s own servers in an offsite location. Citrix ShareFile enabled the firm to extend its private cloud strategy to include simple, secure file sync and sharing. Inside the office, employees use thin clients to access their desktops and data. Elsewhere, the typical use case is a traveling attorney using a variety of mobile devices, including laptops, tablets and smartphones.
“ShareFile was the most secure way to enable file sync and sharing because we are hosting the data on servers assigned to us,” says Lovell. “With a third-party consumer file-sharing solution, you’re essentially giving the keys to your office to someone else and you don’t know who else they might give them to. With the built-in security of our Citrix solution, I’m always in control of our keys. I know where each one is, and I can take them away whenever I need to.” The firm can now set up ShareFile folders for its clients, who create their own accounts in the system to access the files. A log tracks all user activity in the system so the firm can know whether clients are looking at all the documents they should. By giving clients view-only access to files, the firm can prevent them from downloading documents whose destruction it would be unable to assure at the end of the case. “That capability is important not just in the medical documents governed by HIPPA [Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act] but in any confidential matter,” says Lovell.
Easy access to data from anywhere has helped the firm save both time and money for its clients. “Our clients don’t have to pay by the hour for us to dig around looking for paper documents,” says Lovell. In the past, lawyers typically shared documents with clients either as paper copies or on disk or memory stick. Now, clients are provided with a ShareFile link via email for one-time use, or granted access to a ShareFile folder for ongoing use, an approach that has also significantly reduced duplication costs, postage, couriers, overnight shipping and paper consumption. ShareFile lets the firm avoid the file size limits imposed by both Microsoft Office and many firewalls. “I just put a document in a client’s ShareFile folder and it sends them an email letting them know. They can import it into their system without generating a single piece of paper,” says Lovell.
Many of Carlock, Copeland & Stair’s lawyers travel in areas with limited or no connectivity. ShareFile allows files to be downloaded for offline use, then synced on reconnection. Lawyers also have freedom of choice in the devices they use. “The mobility and device compatibility of ShareFile helps our lawyers become more productive—especially younger lawyers who like to be able to work from their home or from wherever they are,” says Lovell.
Carlock, Copeland & Stair continues to realize the benefits of the business transformation enabled by its Citrix solution. “What Citrix has allowed us to do is bridge the gap between presence in the office and working remotely. It has allowed us to serve our clients from remote locations as well as we can from our desktop in the office,” says Lovell.
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