Law Firm Houthoff Optimizes Project Coordination in Four Short Weeks to Save Time and Effort
Swift time to value with the 4-Week Guarantee service
Staffing coordinators save time and efforts with a more efficient way of working
Better insights into where expertise is located throughout the organization
Houthoff is a top-tier independent Dutch law firm and operates globally with their worldwide network, consisting of offices in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Brussels, London and New York, representatives in Asia and the United States.
In a rapidly changing market where legal innovation is at a pivotal point, Houthoff’s innovation team has taken the lead in this change and implemented Betty Blocks’ low-code/no-code (LCNC) platform since 2021. As a result, Houthoff is at the forefront of digital innovation in the legal industry.
Houthoff’s primary innovation focus is to continuously support their clients to the fullest with client-facing knowledge applications. Law can be complicated, and with a fast-changing legal landscape Houthoff wants to quickly adapt and inform their clients on the impact on their business. Being able to build and rapidly adjust their client-facing applications is not only crucial for staying on top of their game in supporting clients, it also enables a competitive edge. A no-code/low-code platform facilitates this.
A focus on innovation
So, what does this mean? Houthoff has a dedicated innovation team that focuses on implementing innovative digital solutions to optimize their internal and external processes. In close collaboration with different departments internally, they drive the innovation roadmap of the firm and manage a portfolio of innovation projects. One of these projects is the MyWork application that focuses on improving the staffing in matters. This custom MyWork application was delivered in only four weeks together with the Betty Blocks development team with the Betty Blocks 4-Week Guarantee.
This raises the question: ‘how did their innovation team execute so fast, taking all (IT)requirements and checkpoints into account’? We will explain more about the process later on. Let’s dive into the MyWork application first.
No more knocking on doors
There’s a hard and a soft element to distributing work and assigning lawyers to matters. Partners know very well what is going on in matters, what deadlines are coming up, how many resources are needed at any point, how busy the team is, and what their specific expertise and interests are. This personal touch is valuable.
In an era that is rapidly being dominated by hybrid working, increased workloads, time pressure and labor shortages, there is however a growing challenge to stay fully informed and keep everybody involved and happy.
Physically knocking on doors to check-in on availability or communicating updates and changes isn’t sufficient anymore. Firms need to think about new approaches to distribute work efficiently and effectively, taking into account a balanced workload, professional development, and personal preferences. Although we should not lose sight of the personal element, technology, data, and a centralized overview can help streamline the process.
Balancing out the workload
Especially for large complex matters, where multidisciplinary teams are needed with lawyers from different practice groups across the firm, setting up a team can be quite a task for a partner. For lawyers a balanced workload prevents any risk of overload or vice versa if the workload has been slow lately they might be happy to jump on board at the next opportunity.
Optimizing planning and empowering people: developing the MyWork application
With the MyWork application, lawyers can easily fill in their weekly availability, their knowledge, and experience. An easy-to-use app for lawyers and a centralized overview for staffing professionals provides all the relevant information on availability, experience, and expertise within a few clicks. This is a great benefit. For the lawyer working on a matter, the ability to make a close fit with their expertise, professional development, and personal preferences is a big plus and really puts them in the driver seat of their professional development. Being challenged and staying happy, healthy, and satisfied is of tremendous value for everyone.
The benefits of building their MyWork application with Betty Blocks is that they can start with set templates, easily customize with coding, and integrate different systems to exchange required information without lawyers having to fill this in every time they use the MyWork application.
To sum up, lawyers are now able to..
Submit their availability per week and adjust if necessary
Submit their area and level of expertise
Submit their preferences
And staffing coordinators are now able to..
Easily extract an overview of the lawyers’ availability
Use cumulative statistics on availability, experience, and expertise
Support partners in staffing matters efficiently and effectively
The perks? We all win! To give some examples:
Staffing coordinators save time and effort as a result of their efficient way of work
Better insights into where specific expertise and knowledge is located throughout the organization
A more balanced workload
The process? Four weeks until launch with the Betty Blocks' 4-Week Guarantee
This journey is a result of combining Houthoff’s progressive attitude towards digital innovation with Betty Blocks’ extensive experience and execution capabilities to get immediate results. That’s why the four-Week Guarantee was the perfect fit since it offers a fully transparent development process executed within four weeks as well as…
Clarity: Houthoff knew exactly what to expect. Within the preparation phase all requirements and needs were established, and the scope pre-defined.
Speed: Houthoff knew exactly when to expect their fully tested and ready to launchMyWork application. Betty Blocks built the custom application within four weeks, no delays.
Assurance: Houthoff knew there would be no surprises when it comes to costs since it’s a warranted price.
Preparation is the key to success
That’s why Betty Blocks development team spent the necessary time and effort in this first phase. First of all, we identified who needed to be involved for the preparation sessions. We gathered different people from IT, innovation, and end-users to collect all relevant information. In order to do this, we started with a basic template and held multiple sessions discussing the custom needs, requirements, integrations, budget, and planning. On top of that, we set up a go-live plan to ensure a successful launch of the MyWork application and adoption by the lawyers.
As a result of Betty Blocks’ determination and thoroughness we were enabled to clearly express and define all of our requirements for the MyWork application.
This was an essential foundation which ensured that the application was built within four weeks.
Michiel Stoop, Legal Innovation Manager at Houthoff
Once an air-tight development and launch plan was established, we moved onto the second phase: the development phase. The Betty Blocks development team fully built and tested theMyWork application in just four weeks based on the in-depth information from the scoping sessions. Quality assurance is an important part of this stage where the Betty Blocks development team conducted an evaluation including testing, and fixing defects.
Finally, the MyWork application was validated and handed over to Houthoff with care, according to the go-live plan. Building the right legal tech solution is only half of the challenge. Implementation and adoption is the other.
Clear communication and adaption
Adjustments in ways of working are hard to encourage. The immediate benefits are not always clear at the beginning. Therefore, clear communication and involvement is essential.
Next steps: the launch!
How do we activate lawyers to actually use the MyWork application? Houthoff recently started their adoption process and followed a well laid out strategy. They focused on the (junior) lawyers first. The first step was to include a small group of end-users in the development team. This ensured that the functionalities and user interface was a close fit to the business needs.
The next step will be to scale up to a larger representative user group, and finally firm wide for all junior lawyers. Stimulating and motivating lawyers to actually use the MyWork application requires preparation and clear communication. The care for their people is also reflected in the effort they currently put into preparing the best possible launch. The value-add is not an additional administrative burden. For a successful launch, it’s crucial to underline the long-term vision and create a tool that both streamlines the staffing process as well as supports lawyers in their professional development.
So, after reading this success story, the key takeaway is that you can build a digital solution for your problem in just four weeks. It takes good preparation and expertise to quickly explore the situation, identify the challenges and establish a plan that includes a fixed price, assured scope and defined a timeline.
They say: ‘It’s important to celebrate the milestones as you prepare for the road ahead’.
One thing we know for sure: the four-Week Guarantee is a success and a milestone on Houthoff’s innovation journey.
This is just the start. With Houthoff now having more knowledge, tools and experience, they can continue with their application development journey by building together as well as by themselves. We look forward to celebrating even more milestones together in the future.
A huge thank you to Houthoff. Let’s hit the road!
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