Hosted Apps Rule for Busy Law Firm

Chicago solutions provider for legal industry fills its docket with hosted extranets.

Piper Rudnick LLP, one of the nations largest law firms, has built an airtight case for hosted applications. Over the past five years, the Baltimore-based firm has increasingly outsourced its online systems to Hubbard One, a Chicago solutions provider that specializes in hosted applications for the legal industry.

Through the relationship, Piper Rudnick has gained secure extranets that enhance communications with its clients.

But thats not all. Over the next few weeks, Hubbard One will extend those extranets to support former Piper Rudnick employees and potential clients—two prime audiences for revenue growth.

The extranets have "generated a lot of excitement at the firm," said Michael Campbell, a marketing technology manager at Piper Rudnick. "Fortunately, the rollouts have required almost no involvement of our technology team since Hubbard is deploying, hosting and maintaining the system for us."

A legal brief

  • Law firm: Piper Rudnick LLP
  • Headquarters: Baltimore, with 13 regional offices
  • Staff: More than 975 attorneys, plus support personnel
  • Business need: Stronger communications with current and prospective clientele and former attorneys at the firm
  • Partner: Hubbard One of Chicago
  • Technology solution: Hosted extranet designed on Windows servers and Microsofts .Net; through SSL security and password protection, approved users receive anywhere, anytime access to Pipers online services
  • Specialty: Privately held application service provider focused 100 percent on legal market

Like many modern solutions providers, Hubbard One is more than a Web integrator, site designer or traditional consulting firm. Since its founding in 1997, the company has developed its own software platform, known as FirmConnect, for its clients.

Instead of pursuing the shrink-wrap market, Hubbard One zeroed in on outsourcing opportunities and promotes FirmConnect as a hosted solution for the legal sector. The company has spent more than $1 million designing a hosting facility in Chicago that features redundant OC-3 connectivity and 24-by-7 technology support. Hubbard One eschews other vertical market opportunities to maintain a laserlike focus on its legal customers.

"Its certainly a unique vertical," said Peter Lesser, co-founder of KKL, in New York. "You really have to understand the inner workings of the legal system to succeed in this vertical."

"General business knowledge is a great base to build on, but what our clients value most is our combination of technology and specific legal industry domain expertise," said Kent Zimmerman, vice president of Hubbard One. "We live and breathe the business of law."

Next Page: Reaching critical mass.