Latham & Watkins requires an agile support infrastructure to promote global collaboration
Renowned for its internationally recognized practices, work on landmarkmatters, and culture of teamwork, innovation, and entrepreneurialism, Latham & Watkins is proud of its “one-firm” culture. Since Latham’s founding in 1934, it has grown into one of the world’s leading law firms, with deep expertise across a number of transactional, regulatory, and litigation and trial practices.
A global company with no headquarters, Latham & Watkins’ management is located in offices around the world, a model designed to foster inclusive decision-making. A law firm of Latham & Watkins’ size and practice diversity requires an agile support infrastructure that operates seamlessly across the globe.
Latham & Watkins is committed to a comprehensive shared services strategy. By combining global and local presence with enterprise-wide automation, the firm has broken down the barriers of time and location, maximizing the value of its support resources in a rapidly evolving and growing business environment.
According to Latham & Watkins Director of Technology for Support Services Bror Andringa, “By leveraging local resources globally, we’re able to dramatically increase our capabilities and effectiveness. For example, we can offer our lawyers German language services from wherever we have German language skills, or give our London lawyers support in the middle of the night with our West Coast admin staff. And, because we’ve standardized and automated these support processes, everything happens seamlessly and consistently.”
ServiceNow helps Latham & Watkins deliver enterprise-wide service that supports its “follow-the-sun” model
The Now Platform is Latham & Watkins’ global enterprise service delivery platform. While the firm started out using ServiceNow in IT, it quickly expanded to a platform delivering services ranging from document services, financial information, and library reference requests to facilities and business development support. Staff can request the services through an intuitive self-service portal.
ServiceNow drives the fulfillment process, including routing work to the right team, obtaining approvals, tracking progress, escalating issues, and capturing key metrics, such as fulfillment costs for billing purposes. One example of the impact of ServiceNow can be found within the Latha & Watkins Firm Associate Support Team (FAST). Originally set up to ensure that all first-year attorneys had secretarial support, the program has rapidly gained momentum.
Rather than locating a secretary down the hall from a lawyer—which is neither practical nor scalable—lawyers can now submit support requests directly in ServiceNow, or send an email that is automatically converted into a ServiceNow admin support work order. ServiceNow automatically assigns the work to the appropriate person based on key characteristics—typically within five minutes—so that secretaries can start working on the request, even if they are on a different floor or in another city.
This model has been expanded beyond the FAST team and has dramatically increased secretarial utilization, with each secretary supporting up to three times the number of lawyers they did before. And, this virtual approach delivers better coverage and service hours for lawyers, using a follow-the-sun model to deliver after-hours support.
With ServiceNow, HR optimizes training and skills alignment while IT drives continuous service improvements
According to Sheila Stanton, Global HR Senior Manager, Latham & Watkins, “Performance Analytics gives us the insights we need to ensure best-in-class service for our lawyers. We now know how members of the FAST team are spending their time—whether that’s on research, proofreading, coordinating meetings, or any one of dozens of other service categories. That lets us optimize the team, getting the right training and skill sets in place to support our lawyers’ needs. We can also see how much work is done after hours and how much is virtual, which allowed us to validate the FAST model.”