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Aldrich & Bonnefin, PLC: Enterprise Search in Legal Publishing

Law firm builds an effective compliance solution with Solr search engine.

aldrich-bonnefin-moore-logo.jpg"For the last nine years, we have relied on the expertise of Search Technologies. So, when we needed to make our online compliance manuals more user-friendly through better search capabilities, and new features such as support for mobile devices, we immediately turned to them. With Search Technologies' help, this new system provides our clients with fast, easy access to the latest federal and California laws and regulations.”

- Kathy Wilson, Controller, Aldrich & Bonnefin


BACKGROUND

Aldrich & Bonnefin (previously Aldrich, Bonnefin & Moore) is committed to meeting the needs of California's financial institutions. The Aldrich & Bonnefin attorneys offer expertise and content to serve banks, credit unions, savings associations, and money service businesses, as well as other financial businesses. Aldrich & Bonnefin is also the legal counsel for the banking and financial institutions that constitute the Bankers Compliance Group (“BCG”).

BCG is a group of over 130 independent financial organizations, which have banded together for the purpose of retaining and sharing counsel for group legal services, in a cost-effective manner.

CHALLENGE

Aldrich & Bonnefin turned to Search Technologies to assist in updating and enhancing search and retrieval functionality, and ensuring that financial compliance content is easily accessed by their clients. Aldrich & Bonnefin had used Search Technologies’ search engine implementation services previously, and wanted to apply our extensive consulting and engineering knowledge to the creation of their next generation solution. 

The project objectives include:

  • To migrate to a new, future proof search engine
  • To improve the UI to make it simpler and more user friendly
  • To improve access to Aldrich & Bonnefin and BCG compliance content
  • To outsource the hosting of search and e-commerce, enabling Aldrich & Bonnefin to focus on their core business

SOLUTION

One of the primary goals of the project was to transition the search system to Solr, the Apache open source search engine. Solr has gained considerable traction in the market for e-commerce and content publishing applications. Aldrich & Bonnefin, as with other companies such as AOL, Apple, Cnet, Goldman Sachs, and eTrade, to name just a few, view Solr as a solid, and “future proof” search platform to build upon.

Another important task was to improve the simplicity and user friendliness of the UI. Key features in the new UI include:

  • Simplifying search options to a banner search box, supported by a single “advanced search” screen
  • Auto-loading of “next document,” to aid in browsing efficiency
  • Additional results ordering options, including sorting based on relevance,  Standard Procedure Manual (“SPM”) number, and a “what is new” feature, which lists results in reverse chronological order based on last modified dates
  • Sorting of Tables-of-Content by topic, as well as by SPM number

Aldrich & Bonnefin serves two user communities: California financial institutions, through the online Compliance Companion; and the members of BCG, who have access to content such as BCG newsletters and handouts. Some users subscribe to only one of these services, others to both. A further goal of the project was to make access to content across the two subscription communities seamless, while preserving document security. This was achieved, based on login credentials.

A number of features within the old system were liked and heavily used by subscribers. Care was taken to ensure that such features were carried through to the new Solr-based search system. Migrated features include toolbar functions for Previous Match, Next Match, Clear Highlights, Print, and Bookmark. The existing method for viewing the Tables-of-Contents within documents was also preserved.

The demand for access to content for subscribers from anywhere is critical for almost any information source and Aldrich & Bonnefin's Compliance Companion and BCG are no exception. As part of the project, Search Technologies developed interfaces that work well with mobile, tablet, and desktop PC interaction.

Aldrich & Bonnefin is in business to provide financial compliance information, and not to manage a 24x7 search infrastructure. Aldrich & Bonnefin decided to use Search Technologies’ Managed Search Services to deploy, support, maintain, and administer the new search solution, including back-office e-commerce subscription operations. This is different from a standardized “Software as a Service” offering, as the system has been customized to meet Aldrich & Bonnefin’s exact requirements.

RESULTS

As a result of the project, Aldrich & Bonnefin now offers its clients a solution that:

  • Is based on the highly reliable, and future-proof Apache Solr
  • Provides a greatly improved user experience, with a simplified, yet familiar UI
  • Offers full support for mobile devices
  • Improves access to content seamlessly across both subscription communities
  • Enables Aldrich & Bonnefin to focus on their core legal business
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