Hägen Wolf on working from the cloud during the coronavirus pandemic

Hägen Wolf on working from the cloud during the coronavirus pandemic

Hägen Wolf managing partner Matt Pugh was determined at launch that his team should be able to work as effectively from home as in the office

When Matt Pugh launched his specialist property litigation firm, Hägen Wolf, his vision was of a technology-led practice that would be able to attract and retain the best talent across multiple sites. The investment in cloud-based systems is serving the firm well as the UK moves into lockdown during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, and there are lessons for every business in the journey.

The firm was launched in January 2020, and very early on, managing partner Matt Pugh was determined that his team should be able to work as effectively from home as in the office.

Pugh’s approach was simple. He set out to build a business where all critical operational systems were based in the cloud and could be used from a desktop or mobile device. The firm adopted a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephony system that allows calls to be seamlessly routed at the push of a button.

Landline calls can be taken either using the latest wireless Plantronics headsets or on mobile phones. Conference call facilities and a cloud-based out of office call answering service also provide flexibility.

VoIP uses the internet for communication and gives users the capability to share both files and audio through the line. Companies with multiple locations can use VoIP to make optimal use of fixed connections between locations by using the same bandwidth for voice traffic and data traffic, which provides a cost-saving and a robust infrastructure.

Hägen Wolf also implemented a cloud-based practice management system. LEAP offers practice matter and case management, along with risk management tools and Law Society-compliant legal accounting software.

LEAP integrates seamlessly with all the firm’s software and even has its own smartphone app, allowing team members to work effectively and adhere to compliance issues wherever they are. Hägen Wolf can also allow third-party partners, such as costs draftsman, to have restricted access to live files they are working on through a secure web portal.

Office work is undertaken using Microsoft 365. It gives the team the ability to work from anywhere with an internet connection or even 4G. Everything from email to files and Microsoft Office programs such as Word or Excel can be used on any device.

Perhaps more importantly, it allows the team to collaborate easily using Microsoft Teams, which covers everything from chat to video conferencing and file sharing. Multiple people can contribute to or edit a document simultaneously. It is much easier than having multiple versions floating around that have to be combined.

Instead of having a paper law library, the Hägen Wolf team has access to PLC and Westlaw, which provide an encyclopedic range of material at the click of a mouse. The legal research platform gives users up-to-date information and resources that are updated continuously. It also provides expert opinion from publishers such as Sweet & Maxwell.

Finally, Hägen Wolf invested in Microsoft Surface Book Pros for every team member, which are a powerful, lightweight tablet PC. The hardware works well with Microsoft 365 and enables digital documents to be signed on screen with the Surface Pen.

Pugh has put in place several measures to support team working and morale through the lockdown, which include daily team video conferencing, a ‘banter’ channel on Teams and fancy dress Fridays. He argues that it would be a shame to let a hard-won team culture wither because of remote working.

Law firms face unique challenges in remote working, but the team at Hägen Wolf is proof that it can work with the right technology and a can-do attitude.

Pugh said: “I hope the lockdown only lasts three weeks and we can get back to our office environment and spending time with each other as a team. However, our investment in putting the right technology in place has enabled us to continue to operate with little interruption.”

“I hope our approach will prove useful for any other firms that are struggling with managing the changes. I am very proud to work in the thriving legal centres of Leeds and London, and I am sure these resilient centres will emerge from this difficult period stronger than ever.”

Do you or your law firm have insight into how legal professionals can best manage their practices during the coronavirus pandemic? Let us know via mark.dugdale@barkerbrooks.co.uk and we’ll feature your story on Yorkshire Legal

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Mark Dugdale

Mark is the Editor of Yorkshire Legal. Mark welcomes articles, letters or feedback from readers and can be reached by emailing mark.dugdale@barkerbrooks.co.uk