Peer to Peer Magazine

March 2012

The quarterly publication of the International Legal Technology Association

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Page 57 of 103

• The method of expansion. Is it the result of organic growth, the forming of an alliance or M&A activity? Each method creates a different mix of users, from moving existing users needing little or no training to bringing in completely new users requiring full training and education. Also, the method can affect factors such as requirements for systems integration and consolidation, as well as contract review. • Existence of an office in this particular country. There will be challenges to doing business in a new country, including potential language issues, working with new suppliers and applying regulatory and compliance requirements and information security. These matters cannot be ignored and will influence the project throughout. • The mix and number of staff working in the new office. Are existing internal staff transferring to the new office, is there a mix of existing and new staff, or will it be a whole new set of staff? The mix will have a significant impact on the support and training aspects of the project, and any new joiners might have data transfer needs. • The office accommodation. Are the new premises temporary or permanent, serviced or not, when will access be given, and what is the term of the lease? • How the office will operate. What are the hardware and infrastructure requirements to enable and support the users, and how do these compare to what, if anything, might be available in the proposed office premises? • Connections in place. What telecoms are needed to get the new office connected to the rest of the firm, what should be done when, and when is the best time to put in a full link to the firm? • Required support. What type of support will we need to provide — and how much for how long — to do everything necessary to get the users in, up and working on the systems? The first three elements described above relate to the firm's international strategy and help IT gauge the complexity of the project. The next three elements are more practical and formulaic, although they could still present some challenges. However, the main focus for the IT department relates to the final element — getting the users onto the systems and working effectively. This is a true acid test for IT. With this in mind, efforts tend to concentrate on training and supporting users, and integrating services to align with the rest of the business. On the Ground with New People in a New Place The comments and suggestions that follow are based on a scenario that resembles the parameters BLP was working within when opening new offices for the first time in Germany in Q4 of 2011. The project involved setting up new greenfield offices in temporary, short-term, nonserviced office space in a new country. It included a raft of new staff from other legal practices joining the firm at different times to provide legal services in both German and English to new and existing clients. The areas of integrating services, training and support are considered below under the high-level phases of the project: before, during and after the new office opens. Volunteer Positions ILTA It is no accident that ILTA makes mention of the term "volunteer" in so many different places. The spirit of volunteerism runs deep and wide within the association; in fact, ILTA was created by a group of volunteers, is led by volunteers, and still holds as its singular mission addressing the specific educational needs of its members through the voices of volunteer leadership. ILTA fosters, relies on and celebrates volunteers for their real-world experience and their value as a resource for colleagues. Volunteerism takes on many forms and ranges from something as simple as sharing an idea in one of the community forums (the e-groups) to officer-level commitment of running one of the organization's core programming delivery teams. The opportunities ILTA provides can deliver great benefits to both the individual volunteers as well as to their firms/ organizations. We continually seek committed, energetic individuals who have a passion for learning and peer- networking. To read more about the qualifications for service and the responsibilities of each position click here. Peer to Peer 59

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