Foot Anstey has worked with ITEC since 2011 when it first outsourced its entire managed print to ITEC. More recently, the firm has been collaborating with ITEC on an initiative to develop a digital mailroom.
Foot Anstey LLP is one of the largest regional law firms, providing a range of specialist legal expertise. The company has more than 500 employees with offices across the South-West as well as London and Southampton.
“Paper based processes are expensive, weighty and hold you back mentally. Paper keeps people restrained by their filing cabinets, reduces agility and increases risk. ” These are the words of Duncan Eadie, IT and business services director at Foot Anstey.
Historically, a traditional law firm is often characterised by private offices that are cluttered with paper, legal tomes, printers and filing cabinets. Such offices are hives of fee-earning activity – but also of inherent inefficiencies.
Change, though, is sweeping through the legal sector. Deregulation has opened up the sector to increased competition, and technology has led to the commoditisation of some legal services.
Responding to this kind of seismic change is all about agility – and paper hampers agility. It encourages people to become wedded to a desk near to where their documents are filed. It costs money to store paper and time to retrieve documents. All that serves to hamper speedy response to changing customer expectations.
Foot Anstey has responded to these challenges with boldness and innovative thinking, re-shaping its services to become more specialised and radically re-thinking the way it supports its staff through technology. This has accelerated success to the point where, in terms of revenue growth, Foot Anstey regularly ranks in the top ten firms in the sector nationwide.
This is a different kind of law firm. The average age of a partner is 42 and the firm actively seeks to recruit individuals with the creative and entrepreneurial flair that is pivotal to working closely with business customers.
A cornerstone of the new thinking is agility. A tour of Foot Anstey offices brings this to life – open plan offices, unobtrusive printers, plenty of open spaces for people to meet and collaborate. It almost has the look and feel of a tech start-up rather than a law firm. Staff move seamlessly between Foot Anstey offices, customer sites and other locations since, in this model, physical geography is largely irrelevant.
Foot Anstey has worked with ITEC to re-shape the role paper plays in the organisation. Back in 2011 Foot Anstey took the decision to outsource the management of its printer fleet to one supplier in the form of ITEC. The contract was subsequently renewed in 2016.
Behind this decision lay a desire to let the in-house IT team focus on what they are good at and assign printer management to a specialist that could drive efficiency while providing the appropriate service wraparound.
As part of this, the company seized the opportunity to rationalise its printer fleet, standardising on Ricoh MFDs (Multi-Function Devices) and Lexmark printers. One significant benefit has been that, even as employee numbers have swiftly climbed past 500, there has been no increase in the number of Ricoh and Lexmark printers in Foot Anstey offices.
Security is now stronger as ITEC has implemented security based on the Follow Me model – a roaming print service that allows print jobs to find users based on their physical location. Foot Anstey employees print to a shared print queue and use a swipe card to release their print job to the most convenient output device. This ensures printing is confidential to the user and reduces any waste from documents left uncollected at the printer.
Staff can scan directly into Foot Anstey’s Document Management System (iManage) from the MFDs. This also serves to improve security as well as reducing space on the mail server and ensuring documents are not duplicated across data silos. The documents are fully text searchable. This approach provides a full audit trail for documents – showing who scanned what, when and where.
Such an imaginative approach has put Foot Anstey in a strong position to face the future with confidence.
The legal sector is often considered as a paper-intensive one but our business is no longer constrained by paper. Less paper means more thought.
Our vision of agile working makes geography an irrelevance. Deployment of technology means staff can work seamlessly from multiple locations. It's all about freeing our staff up to respond quickly and nimbly to client needs. Our new Bristol office has been built from the ground up on this principle.