Stephenson Harwood

Stephenson Harwood

Subject: Global MPLS/VPN Services
Industry Sector: Legal
Country: International
Organisation: Stephenson Harwood LLP

NTT Europe delivers international network for Stephenson Harwood

Stephenson Harwood is a full service international law firm. With over 110 partners and 600 staff worldwide, it represents a wide range of listed and private companies, institutions and individuals.

Through its network of seven offices and strong local relationships, Stephenson Harwood manage complex challenges and offer clients commercially-focused quality advice across the globe.

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Success and business benefits

International law firm, Stephenson Harwood, chose NTT Europe to design its global, low-latency, MPLS network. The network has allowed Stephenson Harwood to easily collaborate and work more efficiently on complex, large-scale projects, in seven offices across Europe and Asia.

All of its employees can now access files quicker and work output from the teams, regardless of where they are based, is much more visible. The integrated network means that Stephenson Harwood makes the most of its expertise, globally, by responding quickly to customer demands and with simple and easy tools to arrange and participate in face-to-face video and conference calls.

Through bringing all the offices onto one network, Stephenson Harwood was able to expand overseas a lot easier, with NTT Europe playing an integral role in the transfer of IT systems from its former office in Paris to its new premises.

Objectives

As part of its international growth plans, Stephenson Harwood needed to improve collaboration between its global offices to continue delivering global services across new markets. To achieve this, a fast and reliable global data network between all of its offices was needed. Stephenson Harwood had very specific requirements for its network provider, looking for one that had experience in dealing with companies of a similiar size, as well as having the global infrastructure necessary to deliver a low- latency network across Europe and Asia. 

Challenges

The global firm had a number of concerns with the future of their network. They needed a single supplier that could deliver and manage the entire infrastructure despite the distances between its offices, coupled with the expertise to connect new offices and upgrade its general office IT and support system. Because of the distances involved, the network needed to travel on land - any physical problems with an undersea network would take longer to resolve and it was key that any disruptions were to be as short as possible. A low-latency requirement also determined the structure of the network. The chosen provider needed to guarantee good management and availability of the network, so that any technical issues would be quickly and efficiently resolved with minimal input from Stephenson Harwood.

Solution

NTT Europe’s fully-managed MPLS network was rolled out in Q1, 2010 and was chosen by Stephenson Harwood to provide its entire global network, connecting all global offices using NTT Europe’s global reach, experience and strong links with Asia.

The network stretches across Europe and Asia, over the Russian Steppe which has two key advantages for Stephenson Harwood. The first is that NTT Europe owns the entire network, giving one point of contact and peace of mind that in case of any issues, NTT Europe has direct access to it. Secondly, the low-latency network provides a direct land-based route from the UK to Asia. This is lower compared to pan-Atlantic undersea connections as a result of the shorter distances involved. In addition, the land-based network provides Stephenson Harwood with an IT infrastructure to support its goals for increased collaboration between global offices - Lawyers working remotely have access to an IP steering system which automatically chooses the most efficient network route with the lowest latency back to their home office.

NTT Europe also helped to create an internal network for each office and scaled according to size. This gives Stephenson Harwood complete autonomy in case of connectivity problems with the MPLS network, reducing the operational impact of any network outages.

“The majority of the work that we do is based on the ability of every lawyer having access to files and documents they need, when they need them - reliability and low latency in the network is crucial. NTT Europe has given us this function, not just on a national scale but across the globe. Everyone here is very impressed with them.”

Chris Petrie, IT Director at Stephenson Harwood