iManage Case Study: Drinker Biddle & Reath, LLP

Drinker Biddle Streamlines Practice with iManage Matter-Centric Refresh

Simplified workspaces, streamlined governance help to double adoption at Amlaw 100 firm

Drinker Biddle Streamlines Practice with iManage Matter-Centric Refresh


Business Impact

  • Reduced matter workspace clutter by 95%
  • Eliminated more than 81 million empty folders
  • Streamlined filing by practice area, based on attorney feedback
  • Dramatically improved user satisfaction with doubled system adoption

Why iManage

  • Matter-centric refresh addressed evolving needs of firm's attorneys
  • Improved collaboration and enabled more effective search
  • Enhanced governance and compliance reporting


Over the course of a decade, technology had evolved, but Drinker Biddle's IT infrastructure and approach to connecting business processes to IT systems lagged behind. Taking advantage of improved broadband access and new data center offerings, the law firm embarked on both an infrastructure upgrade and a project to consolidate 16 iManage libraries across 12 offices into a single centralized data center which simplified the attorneys ability to collaborate firm-wide.

At the same time, Drinker Biddle took action to refresh its implementation of its iManage work product management solution, which had been in use for almost seven years, to more closely align it with how its attorneys wanted to work. The system matter files were simply too complex, making accurate filing difficult, which in turn made browsing for specific information a time-consuming endeavor.

"Matter centricity was not standard across all our offices when iManage first was implemented. Each attorney had a particular folder structure that was unique to his or her work group. Over time the way documents and communications were filed in one office, or within offices often looked very different.”

– Dan McLoughlin, Drinker Biddle's CIO


Refreshing iManage Implementation for Matter-Centric Collaboration

The audit uncovered 2.2 million workspaces, with 15 million documents in 2 million folders, out of the 83 million that had evolved. During conversations with users, Drinker Biddle's IT team learned that attorneys desired greater folder simplicity so that it was clear where to file something across teams.

Taking user input to heart, Drinker Biddle upgraded its iManage solution as part of an overall infrastructure upgrade. The combination resulted in an environment tailored to how the attorneys really work today. As part of the update, Drinker Biddle was able to offer its attorney's new functionality, such as an email management toolbar in iManage Work that made it easier to file email, and the ability to link folders in Outlook so they can leverage their email organization to minimize filing tasks. The system also eliminated the option for attorneys to simply denote information as "to be filed," instead requiring every document or communications to be saved to the proper matter-related folder.

At the same time, the firm also consolidated its 16 disparate libraries into a single library housed in a centralized data center. "We were able to take advantage of changes in technology over the past decade, including greater bandwidth at our offices, to merge the libraries into one and improve the search capabilities with the latest version of iManage," McLoughlin added.


Since the iManage refresh was completed, the results have been very positive. McLoughlin said that "people are happy with the system, and we can see that they're filing into it." In fact, he noted that 98 percent of employees are now using the firm's document management system, compared to less than half who were doing so prior to the refresh.

With the analytics capabilities in iManage, Drinker Biddle also is able to capture metrics on the types of documents going into the system by person, practice, office and other criteria. "This has enabled us to identify where someone may be having difficulty with the system, and offer training specifically to work groups or individuals as needed."

The iManage solution now includes new functionality that has facilitated greater collaboration among the attorneys and the geographically diverse practices. With a single library and improved search capabilities, matter teams can quickly find the information they need.

McLoughlin noted that the iManage upgrades also have provided a solid foundation for governance, making it easier to track compliance and produce audit reports when necessary.

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