The Verdict Is In

In 2007, when Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal launched what it now calls “the Portal,” the firm had to ensure that its attorneys had continuous access to all of its information, even in the event of problems with power, servers, databases or severe weather. The Portal, the company’s intranet, provides access to all its intellectual property and supports extranet communications with clients.

All legal documents, financial reports and human resources paperwork—literally everything needed by the attorneys and their support staff to practice law and run day-to-day operations—are accessed there. Sonnenschein CIO Andy Jurczyk led the team that launched the project and ensured that continuous access was provided to this business-critical application.

With more than 14 offices in the United States and Europe and more than 25 areas of expertise, the law firm of Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP serves the legal and public-interest needs of some of the world’s best known and most admired corporations, nonprofits and individuals. The company, which is headquartered in Chicago, employs approximately 800 attorneys and 800 support professionals.

Not surprisingly, given the demanding nature of our business, Sonnenschein attorneys are generally on call 24/7 to provide services to their clients. Without access to what we call “the Portal,” business comes to a halt. That’s why we had to implement a solution that would ensure continuous access to this business-critical application.

Prior to the Portal, we relied on core business systems with a homegrown intranet to access the vital documents, intelligence and communications crucial for our business operations. This method required us to use an array of disparate programs, each with a different user interface and corresponding training requirements.

This wasn’t scalable from a user perspective, and although these systems were backed up, there was still the risk of very disruptive downtime caused by external factors, including hardware failures or disasters. We needed to ensure continuous access to all our critical systems, even if a planned or unplanned outage was affecting the IT servers.

Sonnenschein is committed to making technology investments that improve productivity and client communications and support growth. We recognized that our home-grown intranet was a roadblock, so we embarked on a project to implement a new system. We needed a completely new IT model that would aggregate data, standardize the interface, automate complex workflows, and provide continuous and reliable access regardless of time or location.