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Portal Server for law firm

  Asked By: Stewart    Date: Nov 20    Category: Sharepoint    Views: 796

I am wondering if portal server would be best for a law firm? What is
the difference between Portal server and sharepoint services? Would
Project server be better for a law firm?



2 Answers Found

Answer #1    Answered By: Marty Mcdowell     Answered On: Nov 20

It depends on what processes you're trying to automate or what things you
want to accomplish.

If the law firm  handles their cases like projects, (task by task basis and
you want tracking of this) then maybe Project Server will help you. The
problem with this is that there's no simple way to customize the process in
Project if needed. Also integration using PDS to other applications like
ERPs can be hard. We have participated in the implementation of Project
Server in law firms, and there's a lot customization work that has to be

SharePoint will help you a lot with document management, versioning,
searching, indexing and collaboration that are essential for documents in
the law firm. But SP doesn't offer an easy way to automate the processes. In
this case the combination of sharepoint  and a third party workflow product
will help you accomplish your goals.

WSS let's you defined individual sites for collaboration and document
sharing in general. Portal Server acts like an aggregator of this sites,
letting you to search and index all the individual sites while adds features
like My Site. You can find more comparison information here:


Also Heather has an excellent questionnaire for helping you decide:


Answer #2    Answered By: Dakota Shaffer     Answered On: Nov 20

Back when the old version of SharePoint portal  Server (2001) was around,
we implemented it for a law firm  to use as their Intranet. They had
about 400 attorneys and roughly 800 total users. Because the portal
features of the old version were not that great, there were some things
that would have been a lot more elegant if it had been implemented with
SPS 2003 instead.

But now that the product has matured - and there is an even newer
version coming out some time next year - I think it is a great tool for
law firms, depending on how you intend to use it.

For their implementation, the firm elected not to use it for any
matter-centric document management, as they had a strong vested interest
in their Hummingbird DM5 document management system. At the time, it
also offered a more robust document management system.

Instead, they primarily used sharepoint  for internal dissemination of
marketing materials - attorney photos and biographies, case studies,
press releases, and practice area materials.

SharePoint provides great means of categorizing and organizing
information via metadata. Both the old version and the current version
had good categorization features.

What the old version also lacked and has seen tremendous improvement in
the current version is with the portal capabilities. One of the things
that we tried to do with the law firm implementation was to customize
the look and feel for the attorneys based on their primary practice
area. We had to fake it with SharePoint Portal Server 2001. Had SPS 2003
been around at the time, it would have been very easy and elegant to do
what we tried to do.

I'd be happy to talk more with you about how SharePoint might be able to
help you. I'd be interested in hearing more about what your firm's
objectives are. Please feel free to call me or email me if you have
other questions.

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