We’re delighted to be working with Rollits to create a series of heritage articles that celebrate the law firm’s 180th anniversary. This time we had a chat with Mike Wasling, Director of Information and Technology.
In these interviews we’ve often asked for a quick roundup of how Rollits has adapted in line with evolving technology and new ways of working. Who better to give us a more in-depth account than the man who’s in charge of all the hardware and digital systems? Mike Wasling has been with Rollits for over 25 years. Due to the nature of his role, he’s seen enormous developments that needed to be effectively integrated into the law firm’s infrastructure.
“I remember when we only had a dozen PCs across the whole premises,” says Mike. “There’s now the best part of 200 machines, ranging from desktops to laptops and a smartphone in every pocket. When I joined Rollits back in 1995, a multimedia computer with speakers was considered top of the line, whereas today we use everything from cloud storage to video conferencing software every single day. The setup really is unrecognisable from a generation ago.”
Mike tells us that the solicitors at Rollits used to record letters, memos and legal documents on Dictaphones, which the secretaries then transcribed and typed up afterwards. Each secretary would go through multiple dictation tapes throughout the week. Meanwhile, data and documents were stored on floppy discs, which held less than one megabyte of data and were then erased at the end of each week in time for the following Monday. When you take into account that this is a fraction of the size of a photo taken on a modern-day phone, it goes to show just how much things have changed over the years.
“Needless to say, we now use a wide variety of highly efficient and secure digital tools for these tasks,” says Mike. “Our journey into the cloud is ongoing, as we currently back-up and encrypt our data on a daily basis and continue to expand our systems. Solicitors can record dictation digitally from their iPhones and transfer them to the secretaries in an instant.”
Mike says that the move from old tech to the latest systems has seen all kinds of changes. Solicitors at Rollits once used 80-character screens, whereas they now have large monitors and dual displays that maximise productivity. Document storage, digital forms and the firm’s wider practice management system are also going through major upgrades, which is all part of Rollits’ commitment to remaining at the forefront of modern ways of working.
“Staying ahead of the curve meant that we were in a good position to quickly transition to remote working when the pandemic began,” adds Mike. “We were already familiar with the technology and were able to roll it out further without any stumbling blocks. We sent equipment to our people’s homes and guided them through the set up process, ensuring seamless business continuity during what could otherwise have been a highly disruptive period.
“We also adopted the different platforms our clients like to use. For instance, some people choose Teams and others prefer Zoom, so we’re always ready to respond accordingly. It’s this flexibility that makes us so dependable.”
Mike’s responsibility doesn’t end there, as he’s also in charge of multiple other systems that enable reliable communication, online safety, digital security and the development of business workflows:
“My team looks after telecommunications and smartphones, the CCTV systems, burglar and fire alarms, and many other devices that keep Rollits functioning smoothly. In a nutshell, if it’s got a plug on it, we look after it.”
Hull Is This is sharing regular articles and interviews to help Rollits celebrate their special anniversary. Keep checking our Heritage section for new updates and exciting announcements.