Legal tech first: Slater & Gordon partners with digital workplace Unily

Slater & Gordon says it is the first legal services client of digital workplace provider Unily: an intranet as a service based on the Microsoft Azure platform.
Unily, which was founded in 2005 in the UK by entrepreneurs Will Saville and Richard Paterson, is a content management solution that includes ownership assignment, approval workflows, content targeting and automated publishing. Its clients include many of the best household names including McDonalds, Hershey’s, Shell, British Airways and Tottenham Hotspur. It currently employs 130 people across the UK, America, Australia and the Middle East.
As far as Slater & Gordon were concerned, one of the big factors in Unily’s favour is that it complements Microsoft Office 365 and brought the suite together using the Unily interface.
Lauren Parker, Unily’s digital workplace consultant said: “The Unily platform will be instrumental in improving the way Slater & Gordon are able to communicate, collaborate and share information across their business. Working with such a forward-thinking company means that we will work closely to provide an innovative technological solution that will benefit every employee.”
Alicia Alinia, chief people officer at Slater & Gordon said: “Communication is fundamental to our success as a business and by adopting new technologies like this it enables everyone to work smarter and provides efficiencies which will ultimately benefit all our people, colleagues and customers.
“Unily’s bespoke platform allows our staff to embrace agile working environments where they can safely access all the information and data they need and collaborate with colleagues all over the country.
“The advances in technology based solutions for the workplace mean that we can truly revolutionise how our people provide legal services and we are excited by the potential of the Unily solution.”
As we first revealed in April, Slater and Gordon at the start of this year became the first company full stop in the world to deploy the Microsoft Managed Desktop, as the hedge fund-owned UK firm also began ousting dedicated legal technology in favour of the Microsoft stack.
MMD was launched in September 2018 and brings together Microsoft 365 Enterprise, device as a service and cloud-based device management.
All of Slater and Gordon’s circa 1,450 staff now use Surface Pros, and Microsoft automatically manages, updates and protects the devices, including taking care of patching.  Access to Surface Pros is through facial recognition, reducing the risk of security breaches.
The 18-office firm is being supported by Insight, a leading UK-based Microsoft partner that has a leasing agreement with Slater and Gordon to help fund the project.  The plan is to refresh its tech every three years.
Approved in October 2018, the MMD offering is part a raft of changes being led by chief technology and transformation officer Yvonne Ferguson as part of a £30m, three-year technology investment drive by the firm as it aims to transform the way consumers receive legal services.
Slater and Gordon, as part of a broad shift away from dedicated legal technology, has already stopped using BigHand digital dictation and switched to Microsoft’s speech recognition and digital dictation tool Cortana, through which users can dictate onto their Surface Pros.  Some use Siri to dictate into their iPhones.
Slater and Gordon are consolidating around Tikit P4W – Thomson Reuters MatterSphere will be out by the end of the year. Elsewhere, QlikView has been replaced by Microsoft Power BI for reporting and analytics.
The firm, which is moving all its data to Azure, has moved into new premises on High Holborn, London, downsizing from five floors to one – fee-earners now work in an agile way, including hot desking and working from home.  Previously all of them worked from a desk in the office and were not able to work remotely.  It is understood that Slater and Gordon has reduced the number of support staff they employ, largely through not replacing employees when they leave.
As of April this year, the team had cut 10% of its costs due to rationalising what is not used and duplication.