Allen & Overy signs up with iManage

In a major win for iManage, magic circle giant Allen & Overy has selected iManage Work document and email management system to replace its legacy OpenText DMS after a year of intensive trials and having previously road-tested cloud-based competitor NetDocuments.
A&O will roll out iManage Work over the next 18 months as part of a suite of new technology, having deployed the system on live matters within an extensive proof of concept.
The project has been run for A&O by chief technology officer Ian Storer and it is understood that a key driver in the selection process was mobility and the need for the DMS to integrate with the new suite of back office applications.
A&O is moving to Microsoft Office 2016 and Windows 10, offering its fee-earners the ability to become more mobile, meaning they need to be able to access the DMS from anywhere and on any device.
The firm has had OpenText for 10 years and while the bespoke system is still performing, as the legal market changes A&O was looking for a more agile system that is able to quickly take advantage of new technology as it comes up, without having to go through half-yearly updates.
The firm is one of the very few that currently applies a need to know or pessimistic security model and it is said to work well in a global environment. However, A&O is entering a phase where it plans to buy more tech than build it and become more flexible over how it integrates that into its practice areas.
The decision by A&O to sign up with iManage was made before the news in May that iManage has acquired RAVN Systems, although it is understood that A&O already has plans to talk to RAVN about how its machine learning-based software can extract value from A&O’s data.
In terms of NetDocuments, A&O engaged in what one source describes as a ‘lengthy process’ in 2015, although NetDocuments was keen to play that down. Matt Duncan, NetDocuments CEO told Legal IT Insider: “The last time we engaged with Allen & Overy was the end of 2015. They conducted very limited testing with a handful of IT staff and no other lawyers.”
Opinions also differs as to why A&O didn’t proceed with NetDocuments, which says that the deal fell down over the international firm’s insistence that it host its own instance of NetDocuments.
While A&O did look at a hybrid on-premises and cloud model, one source close to the selection process said that the decision to proceed with iManage arose after testing both systems.
“We are very excited that following their rigorous selection process, Allen & Overy has chosen iManage as the key partner for their technology change programme,” said Geoff Hornsby, general manager, EMEA at iManage. “iManage Work provides Allen & Overy with a solid, secure foundation for delivering collaboration on global matters. Our on-going innovation and significant investment, including the recent acquisition of RAVN, will drive further opportunities and efficiencies for both their legal and support teams. We have been very impressed at their skilled team and level of diligence they apply, as is to be expected from one of the largest and most respected law firms in the world.”