Office 2010 Saves Hours and Wins Clients for Legal Firm

How does a small law firm compete with giants? By being technology-savvy and super-efficient. Flowers and O’Brien LLC turned to Microsoft Gold Certified Partner eMazzanti Technologies for an upgrade to Microsoft Office 2010 that saves hours of time every week, while allowing them to go head-to-head with large legal firm that bring multiple attorneys to the table. The efficiencies have been impressive all around – enough to win significant clients away from larger competitors.


Founded in 2006 in Hoboken, New Jersey, Flowers and O’Brien LLC is a small legal firm with a big vision. With a staff of four, they are able to compete head-to-head with large New York firms with armies of attorneys. How? “When we started the business, it was with the idea to be at the forefront of technological advances as much as possible,” explains Kerry Flowers, partner in the firm. “We’ve tried to maintain that level, making sure that we know what’s out there so we can continue to deliver more with less, and stay ahead of the competition.”

To assist them in that effort, they work with eMazzanti Technologies, their IT services and consulting firm, trusted business advisor and a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner. According to Flowers, “I rely a lot on eMazzanti’s judgment. They know our business, and understand what we need and want.” As a result, “while the general preconception is that a firm of our size would not have all the technological bells and whistles, we have them. Clients continue to work with us because we can deliver a high level of sophisticated business counseling, at very attractive terms and conditions. We definitely are much more competitive. We believe we offer the same level of intellectual power, but we’re able to do it more efficiently and at a lower hourly rate.”


Most recently, the firm made the decision to move to Microsoft Office 2010. “Out of the annual review of our business that eMazzanti conducts with us, we had a back-and-forth discussion, around ‘Does this make sense, is this cost-effective, am I going to get something out of it?’ I don’t just buy or upgrade because there’s a new shiny toy out there,” declares Flowers. “It has to have some kind of added value.“ Based on that determination, eMazzanti Technologies upgraded all of the legal firm computers to Office Professional Plus 2010.


“There are a lot of great ideas in Office 2010,” Flowers enthuses, “and I encourage anybody I talk to that they need to really consider it. It’s intuitive and natural to use.”

Savings Of 3-4 Hours A Week

“Lawyers deal a lot with documents and we can’t always send a Word document out to somebody who can edit it,” explains Flowers. “It needs to go out as a secure document.

“The biggest thing for me, personally, in Office 2010 is the ability to convert a word document to a .pdf at my desk. I might have to do that 10 to 20 times a day. That feature alone saves me three or four hours a week. Being able to sit at my desk, do the comparison online easily and quickly, track the changes and convert it to a .pdf saves lots of time compared to getting up from my desk, going to another station, scanning the document, or having somebody else do it. If I have somebody else do it, then they’re not doing something else.”

Conversation View A Time Saver

Flowers travels extensively and relies heavily on e-mail. The Conversation View in Outlook 2010 is especially useful for keeping track of long chains of replies with multiple participants. In fact, when eMazzanti demonstrated Office 2010, it was one of the ‘must have’ features that compelled the upgrade.

“The Conversation View in Outlook 2010 is simply brilliant,” he states. “Looking through redundant messages drove me nuts. If I’m searching for something in my Outlook history, I’m not looking for one message. I’m looking for the conversation, the attachments, the interrelated stuff. Conversation View is able to get rid of the redundant messages and also capture the flow. That’s a significant time-saver for me, in terms of managing information.”

The integration with Windows 7 offers even more time-saving features. One favorite is the streamlined ways of handling contacts. “Pinning contacts is very helpful. I can create and move that information onto one screen, so I’m not jumping back and forth between Outlook and other programs.”

A Continuum Of Greater Efficiencies

To Flowers, Office 2010 is part of a progression of added efficiencies and improvements in the evolution of Microsoft products. “I do this kind of work all the time, every day, and it’s kind of like a no-brainer to me. It’s a continuum of more efficient and better, and the incremental pieces have just made life much easier,” he says.

“Document review and production has become much different in the past five years, especially with attorneys at a legal firm. The ability to customize the toolbar with the functions I use most often which are the print button, searching, and the ability to transfer information quickly, eliminates having to move off of the screen or pull up a different screen. It’s all about how efficiently you can produce things like the closing documents for a deal.”

Flowers and O’Brien also does business internationally, specifically with Brazil. Even though Flowers himself is fluent in Portuguese, he finds the ability to hover over a block of text and see a quick translation to be useful.

Advantages Of Volume Licensing

Flowers goes with Volume Licensing: “I don’t know why you wouldn’t. My time is more important than keeping track of multiple licenses. It’s a question of how I want to effectively manage my time at my legal firm, and manage the business.”

Another advantage of Volume Licensing is automatic access to newer versions of Office, as soon as eMazzanti Technologies is available to handle the upgrade. That aligns perfectly with the business strategy of being on the cutting edge of technology. In fact, with guidance from eMazzanti, the law firm participates in beta programs and is a rapid deployment partner. That lets Flowers and O’Brien use new applications long before the rest of the market does, and have tools before others get them.

Fully Supported, Fully Legal Software

For Flowers, using illegal software for his legal firm is not worth the risk to his data or business. “Pirated software is not supportable. You don’t know really what you’re getting — you’re getting what somebody sold from somebody else, or copied, or downloaded. Why would you run your business on that basis? I mean, it’s too important to me.

“To me it’s like being a traveling salesman in your car all the time, but never having a spare tire. It’s kind of dumb. Why risk breaking down on a lonely stretch of a back road someplace with a flat tire?”

Riding The Wave Of Technological Change

“There’s a total sea change in our business,” says Flowers. “The days of a law library taking up four floors in a Manhattan high-rise are long gone. There are so many legal resources on the Internet, for filing documents, creating a new partnership or a limited liability company, forming new entities. Those were tasks that used to take hours to do. Now you can do some of them in 45 minutes.

“We trade in information, in documents. We trade in technology. We trade in how quickly and efficiently we can access things electronically. You have to have that ability to work with the technology, take advantage of it, and be competitive.”

As an example, he cites an instance where Flowers and O’Brien represented a client in a significant negotiation and transaction. The other party hired a large law firm. By bringing all the search capabilities, streamlined document creation and generation and overall efficiencies of Office 2010 and Windows 7 to bear, Flowers was able to do all the work on his client’s behalf while the other party required four attorneys.

“Being able to handle the onslaught of four attorneys throwing brickbats at me means something to clients,” he says. “The other party came back after the transaction was completed, and asked us if we would be willing to represent them in some other unrelated business.”

In fact, Flowers explains, “The biggest sources of referrals for attorneys are the existing client base, and people who are on the other side of transactions. In the past year, three new significant clients have come from client referrals. Two other significant clients have come from being on the other side of transactions, after seeing what we’re able to provide.

“Microsoft and eMazzanti Technologies have been instrumental in that. Our success in attracting and retaining clients is based on the technology platform, built around Windows 7 and Office 2010, that we’ve chosen for the business.”

Case Study is Available for Download in: MS WORD and .PDF FORMAT


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