Attorney at Law Magazine sat down with Michael Glasser, the CEO of Glasser Tech, a leading provider of IT solutions and cybersecurity for New York law firms, to discuss his career and his plans for the future of his IT firm.
AALM: How did Glasser Tech become a leading IT consulting firm for New York law firms?
MG: I have been serving the New York legal community with IT needs and cybersecurity for over 25 years. I started Glasser Tech, an IT consultancy that exclusively serves law firms, when I realized that there was a specific need for an IT company that truly understands and caters to law firms’ unique IT demands. Most IT companies miss the mark when it comes to IT and cybersecurity for law firms. They should not be treated like any other business; they require responsive and efficient support or they lose billable hours, which directly affects their profitability and sustainability.
Law firms also require a high standard of cybersecurity because of the nature of their business and their fiduciary duty to clients. That’s why they choose us. We understand not only the practice of law, but also the business of law. We take a proactive approach for all of our clients and prevent downtime and lost billable hours. We also work with law firms to reach their goals through technology and implement IT solutions that enable them to be as productive as possible and as secure as possible.
Today, we at Glasser Tech serve more than 200 law firms in the New York metropolitan area, and we are growing. We are extremely focused on not only protecting our clients from cybercrime, data loss and downtime, but also setting up and supporting time, billing and practice management applications to maximize our clients’ profitability.
AALM: Tell me about your team. What makes Glasser Tech well equipped to support law firms?
MG: Our senior technicians are extremely knowledgeable and provide white-glove service to our clients. Each technician has a unique expertise that allows Glasser Tech to be prepares him or her for any IT need a law firm has.
When we receive an IT service request, we assign it to the technician who has the specific skills to resolve the issue as quickly and efficiently as possible. This is something that is extremely valuable to law firms. Most IT consultants typically make their clients wait around for a low-level technician to fumble with the issue until it is finally escalated to a higher-level technician, which wastes time and creates frustration. At Glasser Tech, we understand that law firms do not have time to waste and do not want the frustration of dealing with low-level technicians. Our clients know that when they call us, their IT issue will be handled quickly and efficiently by a technician who has the specific skillset to resolve their issue. This is something that sets us apart from other IT consultants and makes us the best choice for law firm’s IT support.
AALM: Why do law firms choose Glasser Tech over other IT companies?
MG: The number one reason law firms work with us is because we have a deep understanding of how law firms operate, and we deliver IT solutions that go far beyond simply getting their PCs to “work.” We know how law firms function, how they serve and bill their clients, how they get paid, the problems they run into and the frustrations they face—and we come to the table with actual solutions that solve those problems. No other IT firm in our area has the same level of knowledge, expertise and experience as we do because most IT firms are generalists, not specialists.
We pay attention to the intricacies of a law firm, such as the software utilization, billing and practice management. Our long, specialized history in the industry has provided us with an education on law firms themselves. We understand the details that keep them afloat. We understand the differences between the business of law versus the practice of law. We understand that when lawyers make a request, they need immediate service.
A seemingly “small” problem—even something as simple as a printing issue—can impact their bottom line in a significant way if not handled immediately. That’s why we never put our clients in a queue like other IT firms do, and have a hyper-responsive help desk that is always at the ready to resolve problems like these in minutes rather than hours.
AALM: What IT-related changes and opportunities do law firms face in the coming years?
MG: The biggest opportunity we see for law firms is to move to secure, cloud-based solutions that provide enormous flexibility in allowing them to work from anywhere—whether it be from their home, the court room or while commuting. Let’s face it. Attorneys work around the clock to meet deadlines and need to be as productive as possible to maximize their earnings. That’s what modern cloud-based solutions can provide: productivity, speed of communication, automation and reporting.
Right now, we’re seeing incredible breakthroughs in applications and technology that can truly transform the productivity and profitability of a practice. But most don’t even know about what’s possible because their current IT person or company is only focused on keeping their computers, e-mail and servers working, and nobody is talking to them about how to use technology to facilitate business goals.
That’s why so many law firms use our services. We’re not just going to sell you a bunch of PCs, servers, software and “stuff,” and set it up. We look at how a law practice operates—how it works, how it communicates, how it collaborates, how it bills and serves its clients—and then bring IT solutions that help it work more productively.
AALM: Why is cybersecurity such a pressing concern for law firms?
MG: Cybersecurity is another technological challenge we often face. Protecting data is something I call CODB: Cost Of Doing Business. As a law firm, protecting data is non-negotiable—you absolutely must have systems in place to protect your data and your clients’ data. Cybersecurity is an especially concerning topic when a law firm fails to fully understand its importance. In addition, as cyber-attacks and security risks continue to rise, there will be more state and federal regulations to comply with.
Today, cybercrime is led by masterminds and it is a multibillion-dollar industry. That leads us to ask, “Who is the big target?” The obvious answer is principalities and big companies, but businesses of all sizes are also targets, due to the treasure trove of data they possess.
Law firms have tremendous stores of client information, including full names, social security numbers, and financial information. Hackers want to access that data, regardless of the purpose. They may sell it on the Dark Web, hold it for ransom or steal credentials or money for themselves. A hacker can even access a law firm’s email system and start requesting money transfers through different transactions.
These unscrupulous techniques aren’t going away. Hackers are going to be continually attacking law firms, the “honeypots” of data. That is why we must be diligent in installing and monitoring protection against these criminals.
We should also be aware of the policies, procedures and new laws that are constantly being updated and pushed in relation to technology. The NY SHIELD Act is already impacting law firms significantly in what they must do for protection. This act requires all firms to have protections in place or the attorney general of the state of New York will come down on them with fines up to $250,000.
Our goal is to take the steps necessary to ensure our clients are aware of these new regulations and help them comply. We recognize that attorneys must understand that they aren’t just practicing law anymore. They need to have a technological understanding of their firm’s protections and risks to protect their firm and clients.
AALM: What continues to drive your and Glasser Tech’s success?
MG: I truly love what I do, and I have a driven passion and determination to bring the utmost value to our clients through the services we offer. That drive pushes me forward every day and it inspired one of our core values: “We help.” It’s simple yet profound, and it is the heart of who we are as a company. Everything we do as a team is about helping our clients succeed and helping each other succeed. We look beyond technical issues to see the big picture of how one computer, one employee can impact the success and profitability of a law firm. We go the extra mile and take that extra proactive step to ensure security and reduced downtime for our clients. Glasser Tech is more than an IT firm. We see our relationship with clients as an innovative partnership, and we are here to help law firms succeed.