Conversations with Law Firm Leaders: Steve Adnopoz of Pearlman Miranda

Steve Adnopoz of Pearlman Miranda

Recently, we sat down with Steve Adnopoz, a public finance/municipal securities lawyer and partner at Pearlman & Miranda, LLC. With offices in both New Jersey and New York, Pearlman & Miranda is known for their cutting-edge work on public, renewable energy, and redevelopment P3 financing models; value-based estate planning; and social investment law projects.

We chatted with Steve about the role of IT within the firm, their decision to move to the cloud and the firm’s experience with Afinety as their cloud partner.

Prior to Afinety, what were the main IT challenges faced by Pearlman & Miranda?

Like many smaller firms, we had our servers and related equipment in a closet. We have a couple of locations, so any remote location was served from that closet. Although we had pretty good capabilities, it was difficult to maintain the equipment, keep it up to date, make sure everything was working properly and have strong security.

Why did you consider moving to the cloud to address these challenges?

Moving to the cloud offered several advantages: Not having to maintain equipment and having someone be physically present, for example, which has been particularly relevant during the pandemic, but would be helpful any time.

We didn’t have a full-time IT person on staff, so responses were slow. If there was a problem, somebody would have to go into the server room and make adjustments. There were many factors that could disrupt our work. Overall, we had some real challenges with maintaining our equipment and keeping everything running smoothly for everybody.

What was important to you when evaluating a partner to help you solve these challenges?

I got to know Afinety while working at a prior firm. I watched the firm transition to Afinety and was very impressed. So, I sort of had a test run and made a note to myself that this was a place to go, where they had real expertise with law firms, were good to work with, and did a great job.

A few years later when we were looking to do this, I spoke with some of my former colleagues and found that they were still satisfied with Afinety. They basically don’t have to think or worry about their IT, it just works. And that was it, that was all the fact checking I felt that I needed to do.

Ultimately, why did you select and decide to go with Afinety? Why did you feel you could trust them?

In selecting Afinety, I think their specialization with law firms, familiarity with the applications we run, and their ability to know how to deal with the firm – both in the transition and in what’s necessary to get set up so there isn’t any downtime, lost data or other issues with the crossover, were all important components of our selection and decision. It was a great and very successful transition.

What does Pearlman & Miranda use the Afinety platform for?

My practice is very document intensive. Our document management system, Worldox, is very important, and integration with other applications such as Microsoft Office, Adobe Acrobat, and Workshare Compare is key. Everything that we’ve done on the computer is on the network, and we really rely on that to function. And we’re able to do all of it from whatever location we’re connected from.

Can you speak to your experience with Afinety during the COVID-19 pandemic? How did they help you transition to remote work?

Our cut over was right at the beginning of the pandemic, which in some ways was fortuitous for us. We didn’t make the switch because of the pandemic, but we really benefitted from being on that system at that point where everybody went remote – the system just worked. We didn’t have any downtime, and we were able to remain productive. It was very smooth; we were well-informed during the transition process. People were able to pick up and continue. We were ready to go, it’s been terrific. We’ve been very fortunate.

From a high level, what have the results been? What has Afinety enabled for you?

In my view, with Afinety we are able to have top-level security in terms of backups and being able to recover in case of an issue. We have not had a problem with any sort of attack or sort of data loss where anything has had to be recreated. We also don’t have to maintain the hardware or worry about system updates. We have terrific, user-friendly, and responsive support. It’s just been a terrific experience.

How has partnering with Afinety helped in terms of flexibility?

Our remote capabilities are enhanced so that we have more flexibility in terms of being able to be remote and not worry about the speed or quality of our connection. Being anywhere is really the same experience as being in the office, it’s just as reliable and responsive. We have access to the same applications. All the work is going on in the cloud, and we’re just connecting from wherever we are. The network, the support, the applications, the experience is there, and it’s virtually the same.

What’s the number one, biggest benefit of working with Afinety?

It’s hard to identify the biggest benefit from Afinety. I would point to the security, the reliability of the system, and the top level of support we receive. I think it really puts us on a par with a much larger firm or enterprise. And our applications are kept up to date. Security is so important these days with cyber-attacks. I really feel that we’re in good shape with security. It’s really been a terrific thing to know that this is all being taken care of at an expert level.

Would you recommend Afinety? If so, to whom and why?

I would certainly recommend Afinety to any law firm. It seems to me these days, pandemic or not, you want to be able to work from anywhere and be responsive to clients, to go out and visit clients and access your network. I think this is a terrific platform.

It’s been great working with the whole team. Basically everyone we come in contact with at Afinety has been helpful, patient and terrific to work with. It’s nice to have people who want to help and understand what it is we’re trying to accomplish.

An Exciting Year Ahead for Afinety and Our Law Firm Clients

As we head into the middle of March, I’m struck by how quickly 2021 is progressing. Here at Afinety, we are also making concerted progress on several fronts. I want to take this opportunity to provide an update and share our plans for the future.

Over the past 30+ years, Afinety has been devoted to serving the IT needs of law firms. With the pivot to a cloud-enabled remote model and all the complexity and security issues this brings, we see an even bigger role for a managed services provider (MSP) such as ourselves to partner with law firms and deliver technology leadership and IT services that support their firm’s goals. As part of our 2021 plan, we are doubling down on our Legal business in a bigger way on a few different fronts.

In particular, we are executing against three key priorities:

  1. Expanding leadership as we build additional depth in the Legal vertical
  2. Elevating the client experience with greater emphasis on proactive engagement
  3. Enhancing our value proposition to further expand our security-related offerings and capabilities.

Here’s what that looks like in practice.

Ed Grubb, VP of Legal at AfinetyBuilding Additional Depth in the Legal Industry

As part of our investment in building depth and leadership, I am excited to announce that Ed Grubb has joined us as Vice President of our Legal practice. Since 1987, Ed has been a trusted adviser to small and mid-size law firms across the country, helping them select and implement technology solutions to address their business needs.

In addition to Ed, we’ve also brought on board several new team members in both client executive and technical roles, each with deep expertise in guiding law firms on how to best use technology strategically to increase agility, productivity, and growth.

These additions will supplement the dedicated existing team our clients are already familiar with to ensure that we continue to strengthen our legal offerings and evolve it in line with your future needs.

Elevating the Client Experience

Key and core to our value proposition is our ability to provide a great client experience. This year, we commit to not only continuing to improve that experience, but also to align it even more closely with your needs as a firm. We’ll be looking for opportunities to reduce friction in our clients’ daily experience, make it easier for them to connect with Support, and build new offerings and service additions that will provide value to their firms.

In addition to elevating your day-to-day client experience, as your technology partner, we see it as our responsibility to understand how law firms are using technology to become more agile, more profitable, and more productive. As a result, we are continually evaluating new and different technologies against our existing offerings to identify areas for improvement or for a stronger client experience.

Expanded Security Capabilities and Offerings

Given the sensitivity of the client data our clients engage with, we continue to take steps to enhance our security posture. As part of our continued commitment to drive a concerted focus on security, we are also hiring a Chief Information Security Officer and further expanding our Security Services function. This new executive-level role will be responsible for driving our security roadmap and priorities, guiding client-specific security initiatives, and managing key compliance obligations.

We expect to rollout additional security services in the weeks and months ahead and will be providing additional updates. In particular, you’ll be hearing about new security services that will offer elevated ransomware protection. This is in addition to our existing security offerings around email security, multi-factor authentication, and advanced security awareness training.

We’re committed to providing additional offerings this year in a number of areas – you can expect to see more exciting ways we can bring value to law firms.

Today and Beyond

We truly appreciate continued trust our clients place in us and will continue to work diligently to earn that trust and meet or exceed client expectations for our partnership.

We remain genuinely excited about the path ahead.

Sumeet Signature

Sumeet Sabharwal