Legal Aid ACT

Moving from an outdated, on-premise telephony environment to RingCentral’s cloud-based unified communications solution has freed up Legal Aid ACT’s staff to work from anywhere and established a platform for future innovation. That’s created a more connected and engaged workforce, supporting the organisation’s overall growth and diversification in the legal services and support it provides to vulnerable and disadvantaged Australians.
While there were some cost savings, RingCentral offered us a lot more in how we could deal with remote working, which is the one biggest factor of the benefit that RingCentral has given us.

Brett Monger

Chief Financial Officer, Legal Aid ACT
  • Allowing staff greater work mobility and flexibility
  • Supporting an outsourced IT function and cloud-first strategy
  • Offering potential for future application integration and advanced telephony features
Legal Services
Canberra, Australia
Operating under the name Legal Aid ACT, the Legal Aid Commission (ACT) is an independent statutory authority established to provide vulnerable and disadvantaged Australians in the Australian Capital Territory with access to justice through a range of legal aid services. Legal assistance includes legal information and advice, duty lawyer services, and grants of financial assistance. The Commission is funded by the Commonwealth and ACT Governments and bound by ACT Government procurement guidelines, but carries out its functions independently.
“Our people are driven by a strong sense of community, doing the right thing, and helping the vulnerable in the ACT. Our organisation also provides a really good grounding for lawyers and a perspective on all sides of the law,” said Brett Monger, Chief Financial Officer, Legal Aid ACT.
For Legal Aid ACT, telephony is a primary channel of communication. One of the Commission’s most prominent public interfaces is its Legal Aid Helpline, a free, confidential phone service that operates over extended hours on weekdays.
“We get around 25,000 phone calls coming into our helpline every year, and that’s purely from clients wanting to talk to us,” said Monger. “On top of that, each year we receive up to 50,000 phone calls and our outgoing calls are in the order of 75-80,000.”
From an IT perspective, Legal Aid ICT operates largely with cloud-based IT, has an in-house team focused on strategy, and its IT operations are outsourced to a managed services provider.
However, its legacy PABX offered basic functionality, was not aligned with Legal Aid ACT’s cloud-first strategy, had no integration with other internal systems and there was no reporting or visibility on calls. In mid-2020, Legal Aid ACT’s telephony contract was up for renewal, and RingCentral was shortlisted as part of the procurement process.
“The procurement guidelines require us to get value for money. While there were some cost savings, RingCentral offered us a lot more in how we could deal with remote working, which is the one biggest factor in the benefits that RingCentral has given us,” said Monger.
The cutover to RingCentral was very smooth and completed quickly with minimal disruption, with the project managed by RingCentral’s Professional Services team.

Supporting operational flexibility and growth

With the majority of Legal Aid ACT’s solicitors and paralegals attending court, RingCentral has given staff access via the app on their laptops or mobiles to their office phone and the full functionality it provides. RingCentral’s integration with Microsoft Teams, which the organisation was already using for internal collaboration and meetings, enhanced the capabilities of staff working out of the office.
RingCentral has also given Legal Aid ACT’s staff greater flexibility within the office. Working from laptops and with Wi-Fi coverage throughout the building, staff have the freedom to work from anywhere and still be connected to their office phone, without having to resort to their mobiles. That’s also providing Legal Aid ACT with much greater visibility, tracking and reporting on incoming and outgoing calls, such an essential channel of communication for the organisation.
The ease of making moves, adds and changes in the RingCentral platform has supported Legal Aid ACT’s increase in staffing levels, and growth and diversification in service provision over the past two years.

Exploring greater functionality

While Legal Aid ACT is using its RingEX solution primarily for core telephony functionality, it’s exploring ways in which it can be used to better support the legal aid services provided to clients. That includes integration with its Microsoft Dynamics 365 legal practice management solution, and more capability to support staff during highly emotional or complex calls received on the Legal Aid Helpline.
“We are not currently using RingCentral anywhere near its full capacity,” said Monger. “There is a lot of potential in the system that we’d like to investigate and implement in the future.”