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No time wasted: 5 small wins add up to big efficiency gains

Monique Cotton

At JFK Law, we represent Indigenous communities in Canada. We throw the full power of the law behind protecting their rights and title, but the road to justice is long and paved with paperwork. Cases can go on for years and involve thousands of documents.

The last thing we need is lawyers spending hours manually searching for files that might be hidden away in an email, password protected, or sitting behind an ethical wall that won’t let you change permissions.

That’s why moving document management to iManage Work 10 in the Cloud was such a big win:

  • It’s more cost effective.
  • Lawyers can access everything they need, any time, any place.
  • Finding and storing items takes seconds.
  • We spend more time on client work, less time searching for information.

That adds up to greater efficiency across the firm, which means more billable hours, and faster justice for Indigenous communities.

But how did we get here?

Starting out on the pathway to innovation

Taking our team with us on our iManage journey was a top priority. Low adoption rates risk poor compliance with document management and security strategies, and information scattered across devices. We provide training to all new starters so they can hit the ground running and start working the JFK Law way right away. Thanks to a user-friendly interface and consumer-like feel, lawyers and support staff alike have found the transition to iManage pretty straightforward.

We use iManage Work 10 in conjunction with iManage Threat Manager and iManage Security Policy Manager. It’s all in the cloud, so we don’t need a dedicated team maintaining on-premises infrastructure. And when it comes to features, the platform really shines.

Smarter ways of working create small wins for staff, and those small wins add up to big efficiency gains for the firm. Here are some examples:

Forget filling in a document card

Our previous system required staff to fill in a document card every time they wanted to save a file. That’s not just time-consuming, it introduces the risk of human error, and in a pinch people were saving files locally to save time.

With iManage, saving emails and files in the right place is a breeze. The Work panel in Microsoft Outlook means we can use drag and drop to save files without leaving the app. iManage also gets smarter about our habits, the more we use it. The tool recommends where we should be saving things — I’m a huge fan of that.

Forget wasting time searching

Building a case involves a lot of paperwork and, to some extent, relies on brain power to seek out relevant documents.

Now we have powerful search functionality that makes it easier and quicker to find the right documents. Staff can get personalized search results and use eDiscovery to find relevant trends across documents to help them build their case.

Forget starting from scratch every time

When hunting down the right documents every day, people are tempted to save files to desktop. Those clicks add up, especially in cases that last decades.

But the “Favorites” tool gives lawyers fast access to documents and matters from a personalized workspace. And documents are still stored centrally and securely, so there aren’t any version-control issues.

Forget manually setting up ethical walls

To comply with regulations, we need to set up ethical walls. Our previous solution didn’t have a function that allowed us to do that, so we had to set them up manually, or password-protect a file. If a new team member took over a case, we couldn’t simply alter the permissions to give them access.

iManage Security Policy Manager means we can quickly spin up ethical walls and manage internal access to sensitive content. We’re also introducing need-to-know security to take data protection to the next level.

Forget wondering about compliance

Implementing an enterprise-wide document management strategy is great, but how do you monitor it? iManage Threat Manager generates compliance reports and risk notifications so we can easily identify staff who may need more training on how to use the platform.

Alerts can be configured, which works great for us, because people touching hundreds of documents a day isn’t a concern. By setting our own threshold, we’re not bothered by continuous notifications that could become background noise.

iManage is a great platform for firms of all sizes. For smaller and midsize firms especially, nominating a dedicated iManage champion helps to really drive change from within. At JFK Law, that’s me.

I discovered there’s a learning curve in getting a document management and cloud strategy in place. We don’t have a dedicated IT team that supports iManage specifically, so I’ve had to learn a lot — and I don’t have a techy background! But it’s been worth the effort. We’ve achieved our goals, and I am happy to see the benefits of iManage increasing exponentially as the implementation matures.

Read the full case study.

About the author

Monique Cotton

Monique is a graduate of the University of Victoria. She is certified in Change Management and Legal Administration.