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Customer Stories

Drinker Biddle streamlines practice with iManage matter-centric refresh

Amlaw 100 Firm doubles adoption with DMS refresh

Drinker Biddle is an AmLaw 100 law firm with 620 lawyers in 12 offices across the United States. In practice for more than 160 years, the firm combines a comprehensive range of traditional legal practices with significant national roles in class action defense, corporate and securities, government relations, healthcare, intellectual property, insurance, investment management, private equity, bankruptcy, energy, environmental, education, and communications.

The challenge

In the seven years since the firm’s initial iManage implementation, technology had evolved, but Drinker Biddle’s IT infrastructure and best practices in how iManage was implemented had lagged.

Working with iManage partner eSentio Technologies, the team conducted a firm-wide audit that uncovered 2.2 million workspaces with 200 workspace templates, housing 15 million documents – and 81 million empty folders, due to overly complex templates. Attorney interviews revealed that folder simplicity was a consistent request across teams. Enhancing information governance was an important goal of this project and a simpler underlying matter file and associated file plan were needed.

The solution

Refreshing iManage Implementation for Matter-Centric Collaboration

Taking advantage of improved broadband access and new data center offerings and under new CIO, Dan McLoughlin, the law firm embarked on an infrastructure upgrade and consolidation of 16 iManage libraries across 12 offices into a single library to simplify collaboration firm-wide. "Changes in technology over the past decade, including greater bandwidth at our offices, enabled us to merge the libraries into one and improve our search capabilities with the latest version of iManage,” said McLoughlin.

At the same time, Drinker Biddle refreshed how iManage was configured to better align with how its attorneys wanted to work. The original matter files were simply too complex, making accurate filing difficult, and browsing the electronic matter file too cumbersome. Working directly with key partners in each practice area, the team arrived at a simplified standard file with 4-6 subfolders and the ability to add from a standard list.

Search is now simplified. The refresh provided a “Google-like” search interface with the ability to slice and dice on the fly and dramatically improve the user perception and adoption of search functionality. New system features in iManage email management include folder linking, suggested filing, server-side filing, and duplicate detection. These have improved email management and increased overall performance. In addition, changes in firm policy and the elimination of the “to be filed” folder dramatically improved user adoption of the new simplified matter files.


Philadelphia, US




iManage Work


  • Reduced excess matter workspace by 95 percent
  • Eliminated more than 81 million empty folders
  • Doubled system adoption


Less matter workspace clutter


Empty folders deleted


Greater user adoption

Business outcomes

Results have been very positive. "People are happy with the system, and we can see that they’re filing into it,” says McLoughlin, noting that 98 percent of users now use the firm’s document management system compared to less than half of them before the refresh. With a single library and improved search capabilities, matter teams can quickly find the information they need.

Drinker Biddle is also able to capture metrics on the types of documents going into the system by person, practice, office, and other criteria, using the analytics capabilities in iManage. McLoughlin said this enables the firm to identify where someone may be having difficulty with the system and offer specific training to work groups or individuals as needed.

McLoughlin noted that the iManage upgrades have also provided a solid foundation for information governance, making it easier to track compliance and produce audit reports when necessary. The next phase of readiness at the firm will look at introducing options for remote and offline use via iManage Mobility and integrating the governance of both physical and electronic documents.

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