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Third Time A Charm For Law Firm

Law offices have been at the forefront of the Enterprise Search market. These businesses generate a large volume of data and need to provide their users with easy access to it. Experience has been the best teacher for international law firm Bracewell & Giuliani LLP: the firm went through three Enterprise Search systems before finally finding one that meets its needs.

Bracewell & Giuliani, which has 450 attorneys and 900 employees worldwide, has domestic offices in Connecticut, New York, Texas, and Washington D.C, as well as international sites in Dubai, London, and Kazakhstan. The company, which focuses on energy and financial corporate law, now has about 70T bytes of data, up from approximately 4T bytes five years ago.

The corporation's first search system was deployed more than two decades ago. "Our Open Text system did a good job of helping attorneys search for information housed in their own documents," explained C Kirk Scruggs CIO at Bracewell & Giuliani. However, lawyers in each office had their own document libraries, so it was hard to search across the enterprise for information. Also, the attorneys could search by key word only and wanted more flexible search criteria.

Near the turn of the millennium, the company deployed Autonomy's Enterprise Search system. The product had a wider reach than the Open Text system but still fell short of users' desires because it could not easily input data from law firm specific applications.

Aware that the attorneys were unhappy, Scruggs was on the lookout for another search system and saw a demonstration of Recommind's MindServer in the summer of 2006. The law firm then held a "beauty contest" and examined a handful of other products: Thomas Reuters' West KM, LexisNexis' Total Search, and Microsoft's SharePoint.

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