We're happy to host Dan Carmel, Chief Marketing Officer at our longtime partner iManage, in this post for Innovative Insights.
When it comes to selecting a mission critical system like document or email management, what should a firm in today’s legal market consider in making that decision? Vendor claims? Consultants or third parties? And what are the criteria used in such an evaluation? Long feature checklists and scoring matrices? Technical and architectural details that are proxies for real-world criteria such as system performance and positive user experience?
More and more we see leading firm IT organizations both moving away from relying solely on these traditional evaluation approaches and finding ways to get real attorney feedback into the process. The “new attorney” we increasingly see is tech-savvy and has a clear opinion of what works for them. Their voice needs to be part of the software evaluation process.
Ultimately, the goal in selecting a system to manage documents, email and other attorney work product is to meet the attorney’s needs. If the system selected will take twice as long to implement, suffers downtime or fails to perform well for attorneys on their desktop or mobile devices, these modern professionals will abandon the system, leading to a loss of productivity or worse.
We see smart firms finding different ways to involve the voice of the attorney when selecting a new system. They may set up a prototype office in which to test new products with users. More and more we see firms doing extended pilots with real attorneys and their real data as the best real-world test. And we see firms getting references and opinions through their attorney’s social networks – peers in other firms who are using specific products – to see if marketing claims made in the sales cycle are realized, and what attorney satisfaction really is.
K&L Gates is a prime example of the due diligence top 50 law firms do as part of their search for a new system to manage work product enabling their worldwide network of tech-savvy attorneys to be more productive.
Based in Pittsburgh, K&L Gates is the 21st largest firm in the United States. The firm has 45 fully integrated offices in the U.S., Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East and South America, from which attorneys represent leading global corporations, growth and middle-market companies, capital markets participants and entrepreneurs in every major industry group as well as public sector entities, educational institutions, philanthropic organizations and individuals.
In 2015, K&L Gates launched a process to select a replacement for its legacy systems of records with a modern work product management system. A project team was assembled and they narrowed the search to a short list of vendors. As they considered the various offerings, the Project team talked to other firms using the solutions, attended user group meetings, and sought out references that were not provided by the vendors to ensure they were able to fully evaluate solutions without any biases.
They also validated their findings by talking to their own attorneys, some of whom were already using one of the systems being evaluated. At the beginning of 2013, K&L Gates joined forces with the Australian law firm Middletons, whose 450 employees were using iManage Work. The Project team validated their findings by talking to the internal Australian users and other industry peers.
After this exhaustive research, K&L Gates’ Project team selected iManage Work for firm-wide work product management. What they liked most was how the iManage document and records management capabilities were seamlessly integrated, iManage’s industry-leading email management, and ability to deliver secure collaboration that attorneys found easy to use.
As more and more major professional service firms refresh or replace their document management infrastructure, we see greater attention than ever paid on getting real data on how attorneys and other users view the requirements and the systems. Leaving the new professional out of the system evaluation today, puts the potential success of any IT application project at risk.
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