Law Firm Enhances Courtroom Storytelling, Daily Productivity with Microsoft Surface Pro
As written on customers.microsoft.com
"I now have all my Microsoft OneNote notebooks stored on OneDrive for Business, and I can access them from anywhere using my Surface Pro or my phone. It’s really pretty amazing to have my entire office at my fingertips wherever I am." - Brian Prestes: Partner at Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott
Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott LLP is one of the most successful trial law firms in the United States. To help attorneys tell more compelling stories in the courtroom and be more productive every day, it is deploying Microsoft Surface Pro 3 devices. In a profession where time is money, Bartlit Beck attorneys use the Surface Pro 3 to save time throughout the day, be more effective in court, and operate cost-effectively.
Be More Effective In Court and Out
Storytelling is not only important in Hollywood; it’s important in the courtroom, too.
No one has perfected the art of courtroom storytelling like Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott LLP. Known as Bartlit Beck, the law firm specializes in complex courtroom litigation. It has achieved an enviable record of courtroom victories in high-profile cases of all kinds, including antitrust, class action, intellectual property, product liability, fraud, and securities.
To help its attorneys tell more compelling stories, and to help them be more productive and effective during workdays that extend well beyond typical office hours, Bartlit Beck is giving interested attorneys Microsoft Surface Pro 3 devices.
Use Technology Effectively
Bartlit Beck has always used technology to maximum effect. An early adopter of the alternative fee model, which rewards the firm according to results rather than hourly billing, Bartlit Beck aims to do superior work with fewer lawyers and layers in less time. Smart use of technology facilitates this efficiency.
“We encourage our attorneys to use the technology tools that make them most efficient,” says Alexandra Buck, Chief Operating Officer and Special Counsel at Bartlit Beck. “We pioneered the use of trial presentation software, and we continually test new technologies that help us present our arguments as clearly and persuasively as possible.”
Most of the firm’s 77 attorneys used thin and light laptops but still found them too heavy and clunky for their on-the-go lifestyles. They took too long to turn on and shut down, which attorneys did multiple times a day as they moved between offices, meetings, homes, airports, airplanes, and customer sites.
“I would take my laptop into a meeting, fire it up, go get coffee, have a hallway chat, come back, and it would still be loading,” Buck says. “That wasted time adds up throughout the day.”
Brian Prestes, a partner at Bartlit Beck, shared Buck’s frustrations. “I really wanted a tablet to make it easier to do all my reading, but I didn’t want to juggle multiple devices. From a lifestyle standpoint, I wanted a device that I could pick up and put down frequently to check email, play music, read a brief, and chat with my family via Skype, all more fluidly than I could with a laptop. I also travel constantly, and I found it increasingly difficult to have enough space on an airplane to open a laptop.”
Tell More Compelling Stories
In the spirit of staying current with new technology, several attorneys acquired an earlier version of Surface Pro, and the firm got hooked. “No one here likes to be left behind!” Buck says. The number of devices continued to grow, and the firm expects to have nearly 40 Surface Pro 3 device users by the end of the year.
With their Surface Pro 3 devices, lawyers have immediate access to all pretrial discovery materials, deposition testimony, legal analysis, and everything else related to the case, which can be sorted and analyzed instantaneously. “This gives us a tremendous advantage over firms that may have access to similar information but that require layers of support to access, manipulate, and present it in court,” Buck says.
Using a combination of touch, the Surface Pen, and Type Cover, lawyers can quickly move around within a document, highlight or underline language, or otherwise manipulate presentations with total ease. “With the Surface Pro 3, our attorneys can more flexibly control their stories in the courtroom, which gives more authenticity and credibility to our presentations,” Buck says.
Make Every Minute Count
Apart from courtroom effectiveness, attorneys use their Surface Pro 3 devices to be more productive every day. “The main advantage of the Surface Pro 3 over a laptop is in the transition points—the startup and shutdown times that happen throughout the day,” says Buck. “The Surface Pro 3 is blazingly fast. This time saving adds up throughout the day and week.”
Prestes loves the “lapability” of the Surface Pro 3—the ability to use it comfortably on his lap, on an airplane tray, or in other tight quarters. “After using my Surface Pro 3, I can say that it has delivered on the promise of being the tablet that can replace my laptop,” he says. “I can set up shop and be productive anywhere, in small slivers of time. If I only have five minutes, I can check my email and respond to questions, whereas before I lost that time.”
With its practice of results-based billing, Bartlit Beck prizes efficiency—thus its penchant for technology. “Our bread and butter is being efficient,” says Buck. “The Surface helps us do the best possible work in the least amount of time.”
Bartlit Beck uses Microsoft Office 365 to give employees access to cloud-based email, instant messaging, videoconferencing, productivity applications, and more. Prestes and others say that the combination of the Surface Pro 3 and Office 365 is a powerful productivity enhancer. “I now have all my Microsoft OneNote notebooks stored on OneDrive for Business, and I can access them from anywhere using my Surface Pro or my phone,” Prestes says. “It’s really pretty amazing to have my entire office at my fingertips wherever I am.”
Save Money, Too
While many Bartlit Beck attorneys use Apple Mac computers, Thomas Mensch, IT Director at Bartlit Beck, says the Surface Pro is more cost-effective. “The Macs are about $1,000 more expensive for each user, because the Mac hardware is more expensive and doesn’t run our legal software, so we have to install a virtual machine that can run Windows,” he says. “I think the Surface is a great addition from Microsoft; it’s a complete computer in a little box.”
"After using my Surface Pro 3, I can say that it has delivered on the promise of being the tablet that can replace my laptop. I can set up shop and be productive anywhere, in small slivers of time." - Brian Prestes: Partner at Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott