Founded in 1988 by Danny Gilbert and Tony Tobin as a small team of lawyers focused on providing excellent legal advice on high-profile, complex matters, Gilbert + Tobin (G+T) is now recognised as one of Australia’s leading transactions, regulatory and disputes law firm. With staff numbering beyond 1000 handling some of the most complex transactions in Australia, advising acquirers, targets and financiers. Trusted by clients on sensitive regulatory investigations and approvals, litigation and Royal Commissions. They are also committed to outstanding citizenship and champion important causes, such as marriage equality and reconciliation with Australia’s Indigenous peoples. Among major Australian law firms, they have the highest proportion of women partners.
POMT has worked with G+T continuously since 2015. Our initial engagement involved strategy and implementation services for the firm’s enterprise scheduling and resource management platform, a critical solution for a professional services firm with complex client facing services. Following further discussion G+T engaged POMT to help with the broader workplace technology scope. At first, this involved strategy and design, which then transitioned into project delivery and implementation for the firms move to a flagship 9,500 square meter tenancy in Sydney’s Barangaroo precinct.
One of the biggest changes as part of the relocation for G+T was a move from a traditional office-based legal working environment to complete open-plan space with some flexible hot-desking arrangements, dedicated innovation and idea generation spaces, and a centralised administration and concierge service. Managing Partner Danny Gilbert had a vision for “a dynamic workspace that supports a culture focused on outstanding client service. We want a space that will introduce new ways of thinking to meet the challenges and opportunities which the future is presenting, particularly around major technology change. Our working style is highly interactive, so we need a space to foster ideas and collaboration.”
The relocation was a great opportunity for G+T to completely revitalise the workplace technologies available for staff to use.
“In addition to a very traditional law firm environment, we also had ageing technology that was struggling to support where the business wanted to be. There were challenges around users understanding the complexities of the technology and what they could and couldn’t do with it,” said Mitch Owens, CTO, G+T.
Workplace technologies, including AV, Conferencing and Collaboration, Workspace Management, Peripherals and Media Distribution systems were a critical component to enable G+T’s new work environment, and ensure collaboration and communication across its national operations
“We were looking for a partner to design and implement leading-edge workplace tech solution for us – from inception to completion. They didn’t have to be the biggest player, but they had to be the best in their area, and provide the level of service that we expect,” said Owens. “We’d seen some of the work POMT had completed with other legal firms and on other projects, so we knew that they were good operators and the right fit for G+T.”
G+T set out in the project with a clearly defined goal to achieve a consistent and reliable technology solution throughout the office that lawyers felt comfortable using and IT could guarantee would operate 100% of the time. A key aspect was for video and audio conferencing to integrate with and leverage G+T’s Cisco Webex platform.
For the three practice floors, rather than build spaces with identical conferencing functionality, G+T worked closely with POMT to create different rooms, fit for purpose. Videoconferencing rooms were set up with either single screen or dual screen configurations. Despite the different room functions, POMT ensured that the user experience was simple and consistent throughout. On the client floor, it needed to be high-end, impressive and extremely functional to convey G+T’s commitment to outstanding client service.
The biggest focus for POMT was Woodstock, the law firm’s meeting space for its monthly partner meetings, and other larger events. The design of the room’s technology was based on four different scenarios for the rooms use: classroom, auditorium, partner meeting and catered functions. Four standard configurations were designed to match each scenario.
“A complex set of technology was implemented by POMT to make the room look simple,” said Owens.“
"The technology is unobtrusive – it’s either hidden, discrete or integrated as part of the room’s architecture. POMT made a real effort to ensure the design of the technology look good. The first big test was a partner meeting with the 65 Sydney partners and 15 partners conferencing in from Melbourne and Perth. The response was great. We had 16 camera pre-sets, and we were able to track who was speaking, so it was really easy for everyone to see and hear the participants,” said Owens.
For the practice floors, G+T is using the native Cisco touch panels within the rooms, but for the client floor, POMT implemented a centralised and managed Crestron Video and Control system which provided integrated One Touch video conferencing functionality combined with Cisco Collaboration Meeting Rooms (CMR) for Woodstock and the other conference rooms. Additional features included call waiter system, room occupancy and status, integrated lights and blinds controls and, in three specific rooms, recording and streaming functionality for meetings, presentations and conferences.
“The great thing about the project was that we continued to add functionality as long as we could. Working with POMT in this way, resourcing was never an issue – we always had people on-site making it happen,” said Owens.
Although some construction delays threatened the scheduled relocation, Owens made the decision to keep up the momentum and make the move as planned.
“It was really pleasing that POMT was able to accelerate the deployment to meet our deadlines. Even more than that, on the Friday in the middle of the move, POMT made its own Sydney CBD facilities available for an important international videoconference with one of G+T’s clients.”
Since the relocation to Barangaroo, POMT has continued to expand the services and solutions we provide G+T. The firms Perth and Melbourne offices have been updated with equivalent environments and technologies with constant iteration to keep up with platform upgrades and new user requirements. POMT also supports the Sydney office with on-site support resources as part of a national managed service agreement. We have also delivered a number of virtual platforms for the firm including the most recent, communication and collaboration via Workplace from Facebook.
Based on our long term relationship G+T turned to POMT when searching for a communication platform to connect all employees, increase dialogue with the firms leadership team., reduce e-mail as form of internal communication and replace their underutilised intranet.
POMT supported G+T deploy Workplace from facebook to 1000+ employees. Every employee, from para-legal to partner was invited to begin collaborating on Workplace with 90% of the organisation creating an account and actively using the platform in just four business days.
“POMT responded to our request to launch six weeks ahead of plan without hesitation. They became an extension of our team and by working collaboratively and flexibly helped us deploy Workplace rapidly. The POMT team were on-hand every step of the way, helping us navigate the technology and adopt Workplace features in unique ways that resonated with our people.” Mitch Owens, CTO
“G+T and POMT have a long-term relationship and beyond being a service provider they are trusted advisors.” Sam Nickless CO