Nabarro plays catch-up on technology as senior partner Stedman reveals priorities for IT investment

Nabarro senior partner and self-confessed “IT geek” Graham Stedman is heralding a major set of investments in technology ahead of the firm’s move to 125 London Wall this year.

Stedman, who was elected to the role in 2012, proposed the initiative last year and started a pilot with the aim of rolling it out across the firm (24 October 2010).

Nabarro gave 20 people access to the Dragon NaturallySpeaking software during the trial including managing partner Andrew Inkester. The firm is now embarking on the second phase of the pilot.

“I’m known as a bit of an IT geek in the firm, I just love it and I see the value in investing in IT strategically,” says Stedman. “But it’s got to be user friendly and have good training.”

Stedman said firm would look to roll out the technology to all those who wanted it in the long-run. It is understood to cost around £100-150 per user and is notably different from software used by many other firms, which requires staff to type up saved audio files. Dragon software can be taught specific words and vocabularies and types speech directly.

The pilot comes to an end as the firm approaches a June deadline for outsourcing its entire data centre to a third party.

Nabarro will retain control of its infrastructure under the cloud-computing agreement but will move the centre out of its premises into a new location. The ‘infastructure as a service’ scheme is designed to minimise risk while allowing the firm to keep control of its resources and enabling lawyers to access the firm’s IT infrastructure remotely.

Stedman has also initiated a remote conferencing software pilot at the firm. At the last partner conference at the end of 2013, he asked for suggestions of technologies lawyers might want to try. Partners requested technology that would work with mobile devices. The firm responded by introducing a pilot of software that enabled lawyers to video conference from mobiles and tablets.

“We’re trialling a system where we can have video conferencing on any device, so we could have it on our iPads and iPhones,” he said. “We’ll be able to dial up anyone who’s got the system and see anyone in the firm. I think it’s going to be particularly useful for our overseas offices. Though one person joked about having to comb her hair before she got on the call.”

The trials and data centre relocation come at the same time as the firm prepares to upgrade its systems for the move from Holborn to 125 London Wall at the end of the year.

Its new Dubai base is also expected to move into permanent premises over the next few months (21 November 2013). The firm announced the office opening at the end of 2013 and launched a presence in the region at the beginning of the year led by Dubai managing partner Terry Fleet. Until now the firm’s four partners and associates have been housed in a temporary office.