Spilman Case Study

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Order in the Court: Making 7 Legal Offices Feel Like 1

"There are no band aids and glue behind the scenes making the link work – just a good design on high quality lines" Dustin O. Davies, Chief Technology Officer of law firm Spilman, Thomas & Battle is talking about the new custom Metro Ethernet system installed for the firm by Lumos Networks. A full-service, regional law firm founded in 1864, Spilman has seven locations spread around West Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Virginia. Its extensive client list ranges from Fortune 500 companies with thousands of employees to family owned businesses.

It wasn't a case of implementing a one size fits all solution; that's not how Lumos works.

First Class Firm, Old Copper Network

Operating a multi-site business has its issues - and one of those is communication. The easier it is, the better for the business, and in this increasingly connected age it was a growing problem that network performance and user experience required a lot of babysitting. Spilman's previous T1 based system suffered from high latency, a real problem in a firm conducting regular videoconferencing and transferring large, complex documents and collaborating in general.

The Pain of Network Latency

Spilman's original service provider was part of the problem, as it was often difficult to get speedy resolutions to technical problems. "It quite literally took almost a whole year for us to move a circuit," said Dustin. Meanwhile the user experience was suffering. "We had an awful experience." Dustin's first priority hid the effects of latency from the firm's 140 lawyers by installing WAN expanders. Then he set out to find a better technological solution; that's where Lumos came in.

It’s now much easier to get hold of somebody that understands and cares the way I care.

Spilman Thomas Network

7 Offices, 1 Custom Network

Dustin was clear that the need to transfer information seamlessly among the seven sites was critical, so Lumos spent months working out the perfect custom solution for Spilman's needs. "Working with Spilman wasn't a case of implementing a one size fits all, out of the box solution; that's just not the way that Lumos works," said Dustin. "Every build and every customer is totally different," account manager Pam Fisher explained. Spilman was also looking for reduced latency, reliability and excellent communication – another failing of his previous service provider.

Talk is Cheap – From PRI to SIP

As well as the Metro Ethernet service, Spilman will be taking advantage of colocation in Waynesboro to store their data externally and is also conducting a trial of SIP trunking for voice services. This is a cheaper way to carry voice traffic over the Internet and compares with the single analog line available in their old PRI line. The ability to carry huge amounts of voice traffic is key for a law firm and this type of installation offers significant ROI because it is cheaper to design and maintain.

There have been some technical issues to solve. For example, in North Carolina, Dustin and Lumos have worked together to find a SIP trunking provider as Lumos doesn’t have lines there. That’s all part of the full-service customization that Lumos offers. In the meantime, the first three sites (Charlestown, Morganton and Wheeling in West Virginia) have already made the switch to the Lumos Metro Ethernet system, with the other four scheduled to come on stream soon. The whole project will be wrapped up within the next four to five months.

A Company That Cares – and Communicates

Dustin says Lumos has been great at communicating progress. “Unlike big telecom which seems "too large for itself", it's now much easier to get hold of somebody that understands and cares the way I care.”

He adds: “We don't have a full solution in place yet, but we do have enough to know that the performance of the network is awesome! We have gone from an average of 50 ms latency time round trip to one that's consistently under 20 ms and in some cases doesn't even register latency over 1 ms. It's more like a LAN than a WAN.”

Lumos has done an excellent job of creating a system that meets our needs, speaks specifically to our concerns.

Saving Time, Saving Money

There’s also an improvement in the user experience, and that has financial benefits, says Dustin. “Minutes and hours equal dollars so a more reliable solution is everything! The system is simply more reliable and easier for us to monitor; we feel like we know more facts about the line.”

Dustin says Lumos has lived up to expectations both in terms of communication and system reliability and performance. He's also excited about the prospect of saving some money while maintaining optimal performance with the upcoming change to SIP trunking for voice services. “Lumos has done an excellent job of creating a system that meets our needs, speaks specifically to our concerns and will essentially save us $60,000 over five years. That's an awesome thing.”

Spilman Thomas Lumos Case Study

Spilman, Thomas & Battle Law

Network problem

  • Latency
  • Bandwidth loss
  • Difficult communication
  • Multiple non-networked locations

Lumos Solution: MetroEthernet + SIP

  • Custom solution built for this customer
  • System allows for connection of all locations
  • Working with other providers outside the Lumos line
  • Fast communication and secure data storage

Results:

  • 7 offices, 1 custom network
  • A WAN with the speed of a LAN
  • Efficient voice and storage
  • Huge savings for Spilman