The early bird catches the worm – How a matter-centric refresh can improve attorney productivity and increase user adoption



When you have almost 200 IT professionals register for a webinar one hour after sending invitations, you know the topic being discussed has great importance to them. And that’s just what happened when we announced the first of a series of webinars focused on the topic of matter-centric refresh last month. In the first webinar, attendees heard the story of how Dan McLoughlin, CIO of Drinker Biddle, refreshed his firm’s iManage implementation and doubled user adoption in the process.

Drinker Biddle & Reath, LLP, an AmLaw 100 law firm with 620 lawyers in 12 offices across the United States implemented iManage in a matter-centric configuration with 16 libraries in 2008. But over the ensuing years, the firm found it challenging to keep up with the latest versions or update how the system worked to keep pace with the changes in how what we call the “new attorney” wants to work. By the time Dan joined the firm, he faced pressure to do something to address the situation. But Dan realized that just replacing the system was not the answer. As he said, “After an audit of our practice, and a listening tour with our attorneys, we realized that putting our energy into the product and making it work right in our environment would save us a lot of time and money. It made sense to leverage what we already owned and what we knew.”

So Dan, together with iManage partner eSentio Technologies, launched a matter-centric refresh project designed to both address user frustrations and enhance information governance at the firm. Broadly speaking, the refresh had three areas of focus:

Taking advantage of improvements in networking and infrastructure:

The Firm embarked on both an infrastructure upgrade and a project to consolidate 16 iManage libraries across 12 offices into a single centralized library that simplified the attorneys’ ability to collaborate firm wide.

Taking full advantage of the software they already owned: By upgrading to the latest version of iManage Work, Drinker Biddle also gained significant new capabilities in email management, better email performance, remote access, search and integration with Microsoft Office, to name a few.

Updating how matter-centricity is implemented at the firm to fit with new proven best practices: At the same time, Drinker Biddle took action to refresh its implementation of iManage Work, to more closely align it with how its attorneys wanted to work. One major area of focus was the matter file templates the firm used. Overly complex matter files resulted in over 81 million empty folders that made browsing the matter file a time-consuming endeavor. Too many document classes complicated information governance and added complexity without sufficient benefit. By discussing the lawyers needs with each practice area, Dan and the eSentio team were able deploy a simplified matter structure yet allow each attorney to add selected folders if needed.

The results were impressive. The refresh enabled Drinker Biddle to reduce electronic workspace clutter by 95 percent, streamline filing by practice area, enhance information governance and double system adoption. During the recent webinar, Dan discussed Drinker Biddle’s journey on their iManage refresh project.

As a thank you for listening to the webinar, you will receive our new white paper “10 Keys to a Successful Matter-Centric Refresh,” which outlines the proven approaches that Drinker Biddle and other iManage customers have taken to refresh their implementations with impactful results.

The matter-centric refresh is not an all-or-nothing approach. Each firm faces a unique set of challenges, and each user community has its own unique needs. But the webinar and white paper are sure to give you practical real-world techniques that you can use now to increase the value from your iManage work product management implementation.

Look for future blog posts and other case studies of firms who addressed their challenges by implementing a matter-centric refresh.


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