Virtual dictation keeps law firm mobile

Law firm Howard Kennedy has become the first company to implement a digital dictation workflow system using VMware Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI).

The VDI remote desktop components, embedded within the VMware virtual computing environment, has been integrated with digital dictation software to enable the firm's 200 lawyers to dictate the content of legal documents wherever they are and send them back to the office for transcription.

The integration work and dictation system from BigHand is used in conjunction with its BlackBerry dictation application by the lawyers to record, edit and instantly send dictation to the BigHand workflow system.

The dictation is processed by the firm's own secretaries, or forwarded to their outsourcing partner Voicepath for typing to ensure a quick turnaround of all client work, regardless of when it is created, or where the dictation has been sent from.

John Rogers, Howard Kennedy's head of IT, said the systems have given lawyers the same experience of being at their desk. "VDI is opening up new ways of working, and BigHand's integration means that lawyers can work just as well away from the office as when they are here," he said.

"We've already had users working from many locations around the world, including Ireland, Malta, France and the Cayman Islands," Rogers added. "Several of our partners work part-time from home and VDI integration enables them to submit work from home and have it sent out to clients the same day. This, together with the BlackBerry integration, frees lawyers from being tied to their desks and enables them to provide a better service to their clients."

"We evaluated all of the leading suppliers through a tender process and user trials, as well as examining market share and published accounts, and concluded that BigHand was in the strongest position to meet our needs," Rogers said. "We were particularly attracted to the flexibility offered by BigHand, both in terms of its Blackberry remote dictation, and their commitment to developing integration with the VDI remote desktop."

David Fryer, BigHand's chief executive, commented: "Progressive firms such as Howard Kennedy are looking to virtualised systems in order to more efficiently manage networked applications."

Miya Knights

A 25-year veteran enterprise technology expert, Miya Knights applies her deep understanding of technology gained through her journalism career to both her role as a consultant and as director at Retail Technology Magazine, which she helped shape over the past 17 years. Miya was educated at Oxford University, earning a master’s degree in English.

Her role as a journalist has seen her write for many of the leading technology publishers in the UK such as ITPro, TechWeekEurope, CIO UK, Computer Weekly, and also a number of national newspapers including The Times, Independent, and Financial Times.