Vicki McNamara, Head of Knowledge & Learning, Australia at law firm Herbert Smith Freehills, explains how the firm uses HighQ Collaborate to share knowledge and collaborate on documents across jurisdictions. Herbert Smith Freehills is global elite law firm with over 20 offices spanning Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East and the US.

The challenge: Creating a bridge between hemispheres

Top tier Australian law firm, Freehills merged with UK- based Herbert Smith in October 2012 creating one of the world’s global elite law firms with over 4000 staff worldwide. At the time of the merger, Herbert Smith had HighQ Collaborate in place, and were using the platform predominantly for client extranets and data rooms. However, Freehills had also been piloting the platform with a view to using it for data rooms and social collaboration tools.

Vicki McNamara, Head of Knowledge & Learning, Australia at Herbert Smith Freehills, explains, “Since the merger, our use of Collaborate has gone in a different direction, driven by a need for global knowledge sharing. As we continue on our integration journey to optimise our IT systems, Collaborate is acting as an effective bridging capacity.”

The solution: An intuitive, accessible platform

Users have responded well to the platform, says Vicki. “Most people find Collaborate intuitive. When I show them the blogging feature they say ‘oh, that’s just like Facebook’. It’s not a difficult system to use because it has an intuitive user interface.”

The benefit of Collaborate is that it provides a central location where people can share the latest versions of documents and have the potential to co-author content with ease.”

Vicki McNamara, Head of Knowledge & Learning, Australia

The result: Connecting knowledge in a single platform

Herbert Smith Freehills’ primary use of Collaborate internally is for global team collaboration and knowledge sharing. Vicki explains, “We’ve set up knowledge sharing sites for many of our global teams. These sites are used for global activity or any major changes in the law, where there is a need to share documents and jointly track developments on a legal issue. Users can interact online, adding another layer of communication between those global teams.”

“Importantly,” she says, “Collaborate helps each team understand each other’s practices and what work they’re doing with clients in particular areas and gives them a forum in which to have those discussions and develop joint responses.”

The conclusion: Freeing users and knowledge

HighQ Collaborate has enabled Herbert Smith Freehills to collaborate freely across practice teams, jurisdictions and even continents. “HighQ has given us a tool that we can offer quickly and cost effectively,” Vicki explains. “Collaborate takes the pressure off our IT teams and gives us an interim solution to get people up and running quickly for distinct tasks. Sites can be set up quickly and easily without the need for IT to handhold.”

Vicki concludes: “The benefit of Collaborate is that it provides a central location where people can share the latest versions of documents and have the potential to co-author content with ease. Working in team sites builds visibility and enables people to share information that would otherwise be siloed in email.”

About HighQ

HighQ is a leading provider of secure document exchange and team collaboration software. We provide innovative collaboration and publishing products to some of the world’s leading law firms, investment banks and corporations. We uniquely combine secure, enterprise-grade document management with the best corporate social tools. Now you can securely exchange critical business information and collaborate with colleagues, customers and partners in one unified space.

About Herbert Smith Freehills

Operating from over 20 offices across Asia Pacific, EMEA and North America, Herbert Smith Freehills is at the heart of the new global business landscape providing premium quality, full-service legal advice. We provide many of the world’s most important organisations with access to market-leading dispute resolution, projects and transactional legal advice, combined with expertise in a number of global industry sectors, including energy, natural resources, infrastructure and financial services.