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Storage fix for firm's e-mail load

Bill Goodwin
International law firm Herbert Smith is investing in an e-mail management system that will eliminate the need for its law partners to print out paper back-ups of their e-mails each time they contact clients.

The system, which forms part of a £1m network refit, will allow the firm to meet Law Society guidelines for keeping comprehensive client records, without resorting to cumbersome paper files.

The same technology could be used by other professionals, such as accountants or financial advisers, who have a duty to keep accurate records of their dealings with customers.

The system, called Enterprise Vault, produced by supplier KVS, will also make it possible for lawyers in the firm working on the same project to access the same documents electronically, either in the office or on the move.

"It will enable us to file e-mails by project. So when a team of lawyers is working on a transaction [individuals] will have access to the same records," said the firm's infrastructure team manager, Chris Lawrence.

The system forms part of a wider project by the firm to upgrade its internal IT networks, which link offices in London, Paris and Hong Kong. The legacy system was becoming overloaded.

Herbert Smith is shifting the storage of e-mails and documentation from servers to a network storage device that will increase its capacity by a factor of three, to 4Tbytes. The firm employs 1,350 staff (including 650 lawyers) at its London head office, where implementation will start.

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