When former Linklaters partners Michael Bott and Mirthe van Kesteren started the IT and systems planning for their new start‐up – Bott Van Kesteren Partners – they were very clear on one thing: their IT platform had to have the same (or better) level of availability, security, reliability and functionality as that of Linklaters or any other Magic Circle law firm.
BVK’s offering is unique: notwithstanding that it is a small firm, BVK offers the same level of service and expertise their clients would receive from a Magic Circle law firm. It was therefore critical that BVK be able to assure its clients that its IT platform is just as robust as that of a Magic Circle firm. Given BVK’s high‐value transactions and high‐profile client base, the security of BVK’s systems was of paramount importance.
Initial research soon persuaded BVK that managed service provision was the optimum fit and turned to Baskerville Drummond to help them identify the best service and partner. At the same time, BVK was also keen to push on with another essential – selecting and deploying its document management system. Could we help here too?
About Bott Van Kesteren (BVK)
BVK Partners is a London-based law firm specialising in international financing transactions.
We practise English law and our partners have more than 50 years’ experience working for premier global law firms in London, New York and the CIS. They have worked on just about every type of financing along the credit spectrum. We have a particular focus on English law financings provided to borrowers in Western Europe, Eastern Europe, the CIS, Africa and the Middle East.
We offer the same expertise and experience that you will find in the banking & finance departments of large Magic Circle and Wall Street law firms. Our partners are highly experienced former Magic Circle partners, both of whom are acknowledged by the market as leaders in their field.
Just as in legal, there’s reassurance in using proven experts – the market knowledge, the hard‐won experience, the subject familiarity that all help to accelerate sound judgment and positive outcomes. Our expertise of the managed service provider market was what BVK wanted to tap into, to help them not just with the primary supplier decision but also to calculate and secure the appropriate level of service and support.
What followed was a textbook procurement, with lead consultant David Baskerville managing the process from tender drafting and supplier interviews through to final evaluation and contract negotiations. And everything was rooted in that core understanding of, and respect for, BVK’s ambition for its IT. It wasn’t just one of those ‘back office essentials’, a job to be got done; given the high‐profile nature of BVK’s work and its clients, IT was a critical element of BVK’s offering ‐ there could be no compromises with the integrity of its systems.
With the managed service provider (Sprout) appointed, BVK was soon equipped with Microsoft 365 and Mimecast email security. BVK works around-the‐clock for its clients, weekends and holidays included. A 24/7 support agreement was therefore required that matched BVK’s always‐on way of working, which Sprout was able to provide.
Attention then turned to the document management system (DMS). Since BVK handles complex, document‐intensive transactions, the DMS was considered critical. Again, Michael and Mirthe had done their due diligence in this area and concluded that NetDocuments was a logical choice (especially since some global banks use it as their DMS). Security, resilience and capability were all comparable with what they had experienced at Linklaters – but in a great value, evergreen, Cloud‐based solution.
In our continuing role of adviser and critical friend, Baskerville Drummond validated that choice and also offered an alternative route forward from an implementation perspective. A large‐scale NetDocuments partner had quoted for the project but it was expensive for what was effectively a 2‐seat rollout. Close associate and NetDocuments specialist Paul Hoffbrand was able to demonstrate not just a two‐thirds saving on that quote but also a compelling implementation methodology.
During their time at Linklaters, both Michael and Mirthe enjoyed access to great technology – without ever having to worry about it. As the owners of an ambitious start‐up, worry goes with the territory and they will always maintain a watching brief over all aspects of their business. But they’ve successfully negotiated a route back to great tech – and in Baskerville Drummond have a trusted partner for the onward journey.
“Working with both David and Paul has been such a positive experience. These IT decisions weighed heavily upon us and Baskerville Drummond showed both empathy and patience in understanding what we wanted and why we wanted it, and then guided us to make good choices.
Their experience in IT negotiations and procurement also resulted in useful savings without any compromise in quality or delivery. The project was run with exemplary efficiency, and the team was always incredibly responsive and helpful and maintained good humour throughout; when you’re all working hard to bring something together, that’s a great thing to have in the mix.
Retaining Baskerville Drummond as our trusted adviser means that our IT decisions won’t weigh quite so heavily in future, and we can confidently tell our clients that our IT is as good as (and, in some areas, maybe even better than) what the Magic Circle offer.”