Herrick Sets the Law Firm Curve

It’s a safe assumption that a 95-year-old law firm would be content to rest on its traditional, on-premises IT infrastructure. At Herrick, headquartered in Manhattan, that is far from the case. Adoption of cloud and Microsoft technology has helped establish a customer service advantage for the firm. 






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How Herrick Sets the Curve

Aside from finance and other types of corporate law, Herrick has practices in real estate, sports, litigation, restructuring, employment, insurance, intellectual property, tax, and private/family matters. CIO Marcus Ienaro explains Herrick’s background and his role with the firm in the video below.

"I'm very lucky that Herrick, as a firm, considers technology to be a force multiplier and not just a cost center."

Marcus began moving his organization to Modern Unified Communications Solutions well ahead of the curve, and now leverages cloud services for security and productivity tools.I have the leeway and the support of the organization to move the firm forward.

Marcus sees business benefits in staying ahead of the curve. “Oftentimes, law firms are hesitant to move to something new unless the firms in their space are doing that exact same thing,” said Ienaro. “This chicken-and-egg scenario tends to lead to stagnation in technology, but legal eventually adapts to the broader technology industry. You don’t want to be the last one there. You’re not only losing any sort of competitive advantage, but you’re also spending all your time keeping the old systems afloat.” 

Herrick has kept up with industry trends, while managing diverse considerations including security, compliance, best practices, and incident response. The technological shifts that the firm has made, including hosting the firm’s IT tools, have allowed the team to be proactive rather than reactive.  

“Going back to the initial days of our partnership, eGroup Enabling Technologies took the time to really help us understand the use cases around communications in legal, and anticipated the challenges that we were going to have.”

With the help of eGroup Enabling Technologies, Herrick has proactively enabled a culture of collaborative problem solving. After eight years of working together, Ienaro recalled, “Going back to the initial days of our partnership, eGroup Enabling Technologies took the time to really help us understand the use cases around communications in legal, and anticipated the challenges that we were going to have.”

eGroup Enabling Technologies used their expertise as Microsoft’s 9-time Partner of the Year Award winner to smoothly rollout out Enterprise Voice on Microsoft Lync 2013. “That was where I built loyalty and trust, because it took a lot of effort from both sides to really understand how it was going to work at Herrick,” Ienaro recalled. Since then, eGroup Enabling Technologies has helped Herrick with Unified Communications migrations (to Skype for Business and now Teams), Microsoft Security Services, and CIO Advisory Services.  

Building a Culture of Collaborative Problem Solving

Herrick’s attorneys are committed to help clients seal their critical deals, resolve formidable disputes, and tackle their most pressing business challenges. Ienaro is committed to empowering his attorneys and staff with the appropriate tools necessary. “For us, being a smaller IT team, when we have a new problem, we first and foremost look at the tools and investments we’ve already made,” started Ienaro. “It’s obviously critical to get the most out of our investments. There’s no better example of that really than the E5 license from Microsoft.”  

Herrick standardized on the Microsoft 365 E5 licensing model because, “It gives us a tremendous return on investment because not only do we need Office, Exchange, and SharePoint, but also the security tools around that platform,” Marcus said. “There’s a lot in that Microsoft stack that when you when you go all in, you understand how they all play off each other.” 

While starting slowly, Ienaro says that now, “We try to utilize every function we can out of that E5 license. We leverage Intune and Conditional Access, Defender for Endpoint, Defender for Identity (FKA Azure ATP), Identity Protection, and Defender for Cloud Apps, plus we’re trying to roll out more integration with Sentinel, and we are currently working on an initiative to utilize Purview for DLP.” 

Herrick knows a value when they see one. While a nontrivial investment, Ienaro finds that, “Ultimately, E5 gives us the ability to have tools in our environment in a cost-effective manner. That’s the important thing—it’s not so much about lowering costs, but the license gives us a much stronger security posture.

Ienaro explains how Herrick uses Microsoft Security Services in the video below.

Managing Security Risks and Incident Response

Much like the firm works side by side with its clients, Ienaro knows the advantages of IT partners. After deploying the E5 security tools, Ienaro searched for a Managed Defense and Response service provider who natively leveraged Microsoft.I can’t afford a 24/7 Security Operations Center, but security alerts come in any time of day, including weekends,” Marcus stated. Oftentimes, Managed Security Providers require you to put in their own technology. That was one of those things we’re trying to avoid, not just from a cost perspective, but also from an integration perspective. We had the license and the tool set, we just needed someone to monitor alerts. That’s when we went to eGroup Enabling Technologies to try to come up with a solution to help us monitor it. Ultimately, it worked out very well for us. It’s been over a year now for us and it’s been very successful. It’s allowed me to sleep better at night knowing I have that partnership.” 

Microsoft tools plug into Herrick’s MSSP service:

"Not only did you help us craft a modern-day incident response plan, but we also rolled that straight into tabletop exercises. That helped us really feel way more prepared and allows us to check the boxes in client risk assessments and insurance questionnaires... I thought eGroup Enabling Technologies did a terrific job with their CIO Advisory practice in that endeavor."

Herrick understands that deploying and monitoring security tools is not enough, and subscribes to the Zero Trust tenet of “Assume Breach.” Said Ienaro of recent work conducted with eGroup Enabling Technologies, “In addition to all the education that you provide and guidance on what’s available to us from the Microsoft stack in total, we just recently worked with the CIO Advisory Group to upgrade and modernize our Incident Response Plan.” 

eGroup Enabling Technologies’ Strategic Advisory Services team is comprised of former IT executives who assist in matters such as policies, procedures, financial operations, and staff development plans.  

“Not only did you help us craft a modern-day incident response plan,” Marcus explained, “but we also rolled that straight into tabletop exercises. That helped us really feel way more prepared and allows us to check the boxes in client risk assessments and insurance questionnaires. We can point to an updated, NIST-approved framework for incident response and show dates and times as evidence of tabletop exercises. I thought eGroup Enabling Technologies did a terrific job with their CIO Advisory practice in that endeavor.” 

While it’s difficult to do so these days, Marcus feels that eGroup Enabling Technologies helped Herrick receive a more competitive cyber insurance premium. “There was one renewal in particular that was specific around incident response, so we were trying to fill that gap and you helped us do so.” 

eGroup Enabling Technologies’ CIOs helped craft an Incident Response Plan and conducted a tabletop exercise.

Operator Connect Simplifies and Diversifies

After moving Herrick from an Avaya PBX to Enterprise Voice on Lync 2013, eGroup Enabling Technologies migrated the firm to Skype for Business and eventually to Teams Phone System. “The reason we started was our desire to get compliant with the Dynamic E911 requirements, and at the time our providers simply couldn’t accommodate that,” explained Marcus. Using the Teams Total Operator Connect model, Herrick no longer has equipment on premises to connect to the public telephone network. “For us, there are some real estate decisions looming, and we didn’t want to be dependent on physical locations anymore,” Ienaro explained. “We didn’t want to deal with configuring SBCs—it’s not our core business, nor our core technology strength.”  

There was an added bonus for Disaster Recovery purposes. “We are very reliant on Microsoft to stay running, so we didn’t want to port our numbers directly into Microsoft DR for reasons,” explained Marcus. “In the scenario where Microsoft has issues, we wanted to be able to pivot and make sure we had a provider upstream of them so we can change at the flip of a switch.” eGroup Enabling Technologies’ Total Operator Connect service provides a second portal to administer phone numbers that have been ported to the cloud, and allows rerouting to a cell phone, for instance, in the event that Teams service has issues. 

Hear more about the advantages of Teams Phone System with Operator Connect in the video below.

Cost-wise, there are advantages too, according to Ienaro. “For us, justifying it was the easiest part because when you subtract our ongoing SBC hardware maintenance costs, and remove the redundant physical circuits and cross connects in our color facility, we ended up saving money.” 

Adapting to Constant Change

Being on the leading edge of productivity software puts Herrick in a position of constant change that started with the Lync Unified Communications initiative. “The telephony and communication tool were the biggest impact for a lot of people,” Marcus stated. He understands the critical and unique relationship between attorneys and their practice assistants, along with how people like to learn in different ways.  

In addition to following good advice for awareness, excitement, and training, Herrick got creative when launching their new software rollouts. “Having the ability for someone to learn how to do something at their own pace on their own time, is even more needed now than it was in the past,” stated Marcus. “For us, it was having quick tools, like how to do something in a video or in a text format, since lawyers love to read. But we also just did ‘Friday follow-ups,’ where every Friday morning you can join a call and get tips for Teams and get answers to random questions.” 

The results have paid off, as attorneys are collaborating in new and increasingly productive ways. “For the most part, these tools blend together so nicely, in terms of presence being available everywhere,” Ienaro explained. “The Unified Communication Platform has really helped us bridge that gap in the hybrid world. Now when you look at an attorney’s presence and they’re presenting their screens, and—as minor as that is to a lot of other organizations—it has actually been very refreshing to see.” He summarized the value he knows his team is providing by stating. “What I really value is the attorneys that left always come back to me and say, ‘Boy, I miss the technology at Herrick’.” 

Ienaro describes other attorney productivity enhancements in the video below.

eGroup Enabling Technologies’ Critical Role

No telephone solution replacement has ever been painless, but I have to say that we couldn’t have done it without eGroup Enabling Technologies’ help,” recalled Ienaro. “The partnership with eGroup Enabling Technologies has been very critical for the telecom system, but also for various security and Microsoftcentric solutions. We’re always looking to you as a subject matter expert to help us do our jobs.”

Ienaro summarizes our relationship in the video below.

“Ultimately, you have a talented bunch of engineers to help with all sorts of challenges,” summarized Ienaro. “And if there’s one thing that I can appreciate the most, is that if you don’t know or you don’t have a solution for us, you’re going to introduce me to someone who can help.”  

Herrick is there for its clients through thick and thin and seeks to build lasting relationships. Much like Herrick’s relationship with its own clients, eGroup Enabling Technologies has valued its partnership with Herrick for the past eight years and looks forward to helping Marcus and his firm continue their success! 

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