The Lawyer's Guide to Extranets

The Lawyer's Guide to Extranets - Breaking Down Walls, Building Client Connections. Law Practice Management Section (2003)
Authors: Douglas Simpson, Mark Tamminga
ISBN: 1590312104

Written in an easy, non-technical style it answers the following three basic questions:

  • What is an extranet.
  • Why is an extranet useful.
  • How to start implementing one.
Fundamentally, an extranet is a means of networking two or more entities in such a way that they can securely share information. It goes beyond a mere intranet and as such allows law firms to exchange information and build relationships with clients. A successful extranet should result in inter alia increased client satisfaction and retention, greater efficiency, better workflow management and, above all, increased profitability. This book is not a technical manual and is written by lawyers for lawyers (Doug is CEO of GhostFill Technologies Inc and Mark is a partner at Gowling Lafleur Henderson, LLP).

The table of contents is reproduced here to give an indication of the topics covered.

Chapter 1: Extranets and Legal Practice
1.1 Introduction
1.2 Not a Technical How-to Manual
1.3 So, What's an Extranet?
1.4 Types of Extranets: from Private Extranets, to Web Sites, to Portals
1.5 What's the Point?
1.6 The Context: Some Recent Studies
1.7 Security
1.8 Benefits of Creating Extranets
1.9 Extranet Costs
1.10 How to Plan for and Build Extranets: The Big Picture
1.11 Some Additional Points
1.12 Outline of Chapters

Chapter 2: Learning from Experience: Extranet Case Studies
2.1 Extranet Precursor: Gowlings
2.2 The World Is Your Oyster: and Siskind, Susser, Haas & Devine
2.3 The Network of Dreams:
2.4 Collecting Steam: Debt Recovery Network
2.5 Extranets to Go: CaseShare and Holland & Hart
2.6 Spinning Extranets in a Large Law Firm: Winston & Strawn

Chapter 3: The Lawyer-Client Relationship
3.1 The Traditional Lawyer-Client Relationship
3.2 The Limitations of the Traditional Lawyer-Client Relationship
3.3 How Have Clients Changed?
3.4 How Extranets Can Improve the Lawyer-Client Relationship

Chapter 4: Legal and Ethical Issues
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Intellectual Property
4.3 Who Owns What?
4.4 Who Pays Whom?
4.5 Support and Service Obligations
4.6 Structuring the Contracts
4.7 Ethical Obligations

Chapter 5: Planning Your Extranet
5.1 Build, Buy, or Join?
5.2 Planning for Security
5.3 Costs
5.4 Working with Your Clients to Develop a Plan
5.5 Assembling the Team
5.6 Finalizing the Plan
5.7 Overcoming Barriers and Difficulties
5.8 Overcoming Obstacles
Outline and Checklist for an Extranet Project Plan

Chapter 6: Under Construction: The Tools and Techniques for Building an Extranet
6.1 Front Ends and Back Ends
6.2 Building the Front End
6.3 Building the Back End
6.4 Testing Your Extranet: Quality Assurance
6.5 Training

Chapter 7: The Care and Feeding of Your Extranet
7.1 Who Provides Support?
7.2 Who Maintains the Content?
7.3 Maintenance Issues
7.4 Disaster Recovery and Backup Procedures

Index, which specialises in immigration, is an example of a successful extranet. With many of the firm's potential clients living outside the USA, this portal brilliantly exploits the new technology through the valuable information it offers and the additional services it provides to would-be immigrants.

American Bar Association

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