NexStep is a service of Keyed Communications, LLC. A lawyer and a tech geek founded Keyed Communications in 1998. It was the first lawyer-centric IT company in the State of Arizona. Keyed Communications offered a broad range of IT services to relatively small law firms, and one solo practitioner—Gary Stuart, Keyed Communication’s co-founder. His tech partner, Rod Lamb, handled IT; Stuart did everything else.
In 2002, Stuart and Lamb took in a third capital partner, Lew Halpert. Later, Tim Soto became the firm’s fourth partner. Together, they designed NexStep as a robust, less expensive, and infinitely more innovative solution than could ever be attained by the traditional in-house solution (you break it—we fix it). The notion that lawyers could practice “distance lawyering” made hash of the traditional “physical” boundaries of law firms. NexStep’s transparent Citrix server farm transformed the way NexStep lawyers delivered client services. Distance lawyering became a reality.
In 2004, Keyed Communication moved from the “break-fix” era of IT services by offering NexStep to Arizona law firms. It was Arizona’s first cloud based, off-site computer network created specifically for law firms who needed a safe, cloud based computer network that would give it the exact same functionality that a traditional “server in the closet” environment offered, but with enhanced functionality and enhanced security. They urged their law firm clients to take the “next step” in law firm computer technology.
Lawyers and the world at large were at a crossroads in the evolution of human society. Technology had the potential to change the future of society itself. Utilizing a global resource, the Internet, and powerful web technologies, America’s large law firms reengineered their relationship to the economy and their clients by learning how to operate digitally in a global network. NexStep offered that functionality to small law firms.
NexStep delivers Management-Free Technology to our law firm clients by collaborating with them within our secure cloud computing environment. NexStep provides all of its law firm clients the best technological solution available.
We collaborate by licensing our system on a monthly recurring charge basis, under a 30-day opt out contract. The key to understanding this computing model is that all servers used in the day-to-day practice are located offsite in our cloud. So are the software, routers, switches and connecting elements. All data is backed up from there. The servers, security, and software are owned, maintained, and managed by NexStep. Access to NexStep is Internet-driven by web browser technology. Navigating on NexStep is done by clicking and moving from one window to another from case-to-case as they are evaluated, investigated, and advanced inside the firm.
Lawyers are left to the practice of law and spared the capital investment attendant to a first-rate internal IT solution. There is no danger of sharing the core product—the firm’s intellectual and legal work product. Custom development of the outsourced solution is another key to the practice environment. The firm’s knowledge base is linked through an extranet to the firm’s own databases and the firm intranet, all of which is stored and managed offsite reducing the risk of loss through inadvertent computing errors by staff, or external attack by digital terrorists.