Robert Taylor, CEO & General Counsel of 360 Law Group, launched his company six years ago with an innovative virtual and agile infrastructure. Recognised by The Times as a top 200 UK legal firm in 2020 and as the first UK provider of subscription legal services on a global basis, Robert and his team of over 200 lawyers rely on technology to minimise overheads and deliver operational excellence to their clients across 55 countries. Here are the five tools he relies on every day:
1 My three desktop monitors
At first, I was a novice and used just my laptop monitor. I thought I was productive and always on top of my workload. Then I noticed a spare monitor in the office and plugged that in – a monster was born! Life got so much easier and I was more productive. I watched for emails and answered them on one screen, with a contract open on the other.
Life was bliss until one day I thought ‘What if I have another monitor?’ So, I bought a third, larger monitor. Now, I have my legal library, my internal case management system, a contract in Word and, of course, Outlook open all at once. I have stopped at three monitors and my laptop, otherwise I’d need a larger desk and that might be going a little too far…
2 Office 365
I have used Office since it first launched and now all our consultants worldwide use Office 365. We can set up a consultant anywhere on earth within minutes, knowing they’ll have all the tools they need to operate as a lawyer. If anyone leaves our organisation, their account can be suspended immediately, whilst we retain all the emails and documents they have ever worked on. Also, Microsoft’s business support is amazing; they contact our consultants within a very short space of time any time there’s a problem to fix.
3 Our Proprietary Time and Case Management System, CITRAS
We developed CITRAS three years ago, as there was no third-party time and case management system that allowed us to control our workload and billing to suit the way we worked as a law practice. The costs of third party solutions were averaging out at £50.00 per month, per user, which would have become an enormous cost burden across 200 consultants – especially for something that didn’t fit the way we worked. CITRAS integrates with Office 365 and can be rolled out to new consultants at no additional cost, so it is a very cost-effective system to own.
Our entire IT infrastructure is cloud-based and DocuSign enables us to sign contracts worldwide. Departments that need to on-board clients, suppliers and consultants, such as operations, accounts etc., are notified as soon as contracts are signed, without any human intervention. Office 365, CITRAS and DocuSign are all integral parts of our back-office operations; they enable us to keep global overheads to less than 12% of turnover.
A major part of our business strategy has been to keep overhead costs low and to discourage travel. Systems like Teams and Zoom are important tools for us, and we have been using them for many years. The coronavirus pandemic has merely demonstrated to a wider audience what we have known for years – that online meetings can be just as effective as any face to face meeting.