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  • Company: FedArb
  • Name: Jay Weil
  • Role: COO
  • Location: San Francisco Bay Area
  • Website: www.fedarb.com
  • Industry: Legal Services

Background:

Federal Arbitration, Inc. provides arbitration and mediation services for complex civil cases throughout the U.S. The company works as a private court system handling insurance, antitrust, patent, securities and more. The Federal Arbitration has an internal staff of ten, and a roster of 41 retired federal judges who work remotely, on an as-needed basis. Jay Weil is Federal Arbitration’s COO, and the default IT Manager.

To manage the cases and huge volume of confidential legal documentation that accompanies them, Federal Arbitration developed their own system. The firm had a secure document server that frustrated Jay with ongoing notifications and versioning. In addition to the annoyance of daily updates, the system had constant compatibility issues that stemmed from the fact that, as Jay puts it, “every law firm has their own system.”

Jay felt uncomfortable with cloud-based backup, because the documents being stored and transferred within the firm’s staff and contracted judges were highly confidential. Security requirements were a major concern, and Jay didn’t completely trust the safety of file exchange in the cloud.

Business challenge:

In hopes of driving efficiency with better technology, Jay ran into objections from judges and legal staff. After all, judges are, in Jay’s experience, generally technology-averse, and too busy to learn new methods for their routine tasks.

“They want to push a button,” Jay explains. Judges invariably chose email over other vehicles for file transfer, even though they often had trouble with large files. Overall, the challenge for Federal Arbitration (and for Jay, in particular) was to find a full-featured networking tool that would be simple, secure, always-on, and–most importantly–understandable to a non-technical roster of judges.

Alternatives:

The judges and employees who relied on email were constantly running into problems when attempting to send oversized legal documents.  Jay first tried Google Docs to solve the problem, and while the free application worked for sharing oversized files internally, Jay had concerns about the security of the system. “Cloud systems felt like they were monitoring me,” he said.

Despite some reluctance about cloud-based solutions, Jay had heard positive things about a new cloud-based networking service from members of Spiceworks, an online community of more than 2.5 million IT pros. Good guess, we’re talking about Pertino.

Solution:

Jay built a new Pertino cloud network in a matter of minutes and added three Federal Arbitration employees to the new network. He raves about the simplicity of that installation and deployment. He particularly liked the smooth upgrade process, which is a nice change from his firm’s old, proprietary software solution. The little things can make all the difference: “The fact that I don’t have to reboot with upgrades is really nice,” Jay says.

Benefits:

In Jay’s words, “what Pertino is doing is ideal.” The cloud networking service has been well received by Federal Arbitration’s staff, which is quite an accomplishment for a firm that was unable to find a satisfactory file sharing or remote access system for years. “If it was not [working efficiently], it would be a disaster,” Jay says.

For Jay, the next step is to add more case managers and judges to Federal Arbitration’s Pertino network. With Pertino, Jay can give all of Federal Arbitration’s in-house and offsite employees network access to internal resources without staff training and ongoing IT support. Considering the benefits of Pertino, it’s safe to say his previous verdict on the merits of the cloud has been overturned.

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