iPhone in Business

DLA Phillips Fox

iPhone: Improving legal services.

DLA Phillips Fox is one of Australia’s largest legal firms, with clients ranging from emerging businesses to some of the best-known brands in the Asia-Pacific region. Founded 145 years ago, the firm is now a part of the global DLA Piper Group, which provides legal services in 29 countries around the world. Now, with iPhone in the hands of almost every partner in the 1,300-person firm, DLA Phillips Fox can offer even faster, more flexible responses to their clients’ legal needs.

Choosing iPhone was “one of the smarter things we ever did,” says John Duckett, General Manager of IT at DLA Phillips Fox. “It didn’t take long before we saw the potential of iPhone for easy integration with our Microsoft Exchange server environment, and for supporting our efforts to deliver a full range of mobility services to users.”

The first non-IT employee to receive an iPhone was the company’s CEO. “As soon as the other partners saw what he was able to do with his iPhone, they were clamoring for their own,” Duckett says. “It was a case of iPhone selling itself. The adoption of iPhone was immediate, and successful to such an extent that every new device we buy now is an iPhone. The users are very happy, and support is minimal.”

Easy Connections

Getting iPhone ready for a user requires little more than activating it through iTunes, then using the iPhone Configuration Utility to establish the correct Exchange server profile, says Systems Administrator Caroline Willis. “iPhone is very simple to integrate into our environment,” she says. “Within minutes the user is checking email and accessing their Exchange-based calendars and our global address list.”

iPhone users can even hear forwarded voicemail messages from the firm’s office phone system. “Our voicemail system has been set up to integrate with the Exchange server,” Willis explains, “so voicemail is automatically saved as a WAV file and emailed to the recipient, who is then able to listen to the message on their iPhone.”

DLA Phillips Fox developed an iPhone-friendly web-based document portal that allows iPhone users to securely retrieve legal records and other documents directly from the firm’s document management system, whether in a client meeting, in a taxi or train, or even overseas.

Using the iPhone SDK (Software Development Kit), the IT team also created a timer app that legal staff can use to track billable time and have it automatically sent to the firm’s billing system, saving time and ensuring more accurate client accounts.

Better Time Management

For Claire Tait, DLA Phillips Fox Partner and Sydney Office Leader, iPhone means being able to deal with email, voicemail, and scheduling issues before she even gets to work.

“By the time I get into the office,” Tait says, “I’ve dealt with most of the early administration that needs to be done, and can concentrate on our clients. iPhone gives me the freedom to be away from the office, yet still be able to work with clients and group team members. I can access documents on my iPhone and amend, approve, and share them with other people.”

The easy-to-use iPhone interface, built-in features, and thousands of third-party business apps make iPhone much more than a phone, Duckett observes. “You can do things on a practical level that give iPhone a distinct advantage over other devices, like access applications or easily browse websites. There’s a profusion of applications that have made it incredibly successful.”

“iPhone has changed the mobile landscape dramatically,” agrees Tait. “And in a fast-paced business such as ours, that’s fantastic. You don't have to be at a desk. You don't even have to have a laptop anymore. You can access anything you need via iPhone.”

Company Snapshot

  • Corporate law firm founded in 1864
  • Eight offices in Australia and New Zealand
  • 700 lawyers, total staff 1,300
  • More than 40 legal service areas
  • www.dlaphillipsfox.com

“You don't have to be at a desk. You don't even have to have a laptop anymore. You can access anything you need via iPhone.”

Claire Tait, Partner/Sydney Office Leader, DLA Phillips Fox


“iPhone is very simple to integrate into our environment. Within minutes the user is checking email and accessing their Exchange-based calendars and our global address list.”

Caroline Willis, Systems Administrator, DLA Phillips Fox


“Every new device we buy now is an iPhone. The users are very happy, and support is minimal.”

John Duckett, General Manager of IT, DLA Phillips Fox

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