Exclusive: It’s official, Hogan Lovells signs with NetDocuments

In a major milestone for NetDocuments and cloud technology adoption as a whole, we can confirm publicly for the first time that global top 10 law firm Hogan Lovells has signed up with the Utah-headquartered software-as-a-service document, email management and collaboration software vendor, swapping out its legacy OpenText and iManage document management systems.
With more than 45 offices in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and the United States, Hogan Lovells is by the largest law firm to sign with NetDocuments to date. The new global platform will replace the dual systems that have been in place since Hogan & Hartson (iManage) merged with Lovells (OpenText) in 2010.
NetDocuments’ other global law firm clients include US-headquartered firms Orrick, Akin Gump and King & Spalding. However, in the UK, the largest DMS client to date is Farrer & Co, which is ranked at 58 in the UK top 100 of law firms. Linklaters, which has used NetDocuments’ email management system (formerly Decisiv, now NetDocuments Email) since 2015, and is also a client of iManage RAVN, is expected to make a decision on its DMS selection later this year.
The selection by Hogan Lovells is the result of an extremely lengthy pitch process, evaluation and pilot that will now result in a whopping 7,370 staff transferred over to the new system.
While according to The Insider Top 200 Hogan Lovells is a Mimecast user and therefore its emails are already hosted in the cloud, this selection is nonetheless symbolic of a major shift in global law firms’ attitudes towards cloud technology when it comes to their core systems (document, practice and case management) and is likely to pave the way for other large law firms to consider or push through a similar move.
Issues still faced by large firms when considering a shift to the public cloud include how to satisfy data privacy laws in jurisdictions that demand data is stored locally, and how to satisfy clients that their data is secure.
Speaking to Legal IT Insider, NetDocuments co-founder and chief technology officer, Alvin Tedjamulia said that NetDocuments flexible storage architecture, ndFlexStore technology, which was formally announced in December 2016 and under which NetDocuments allows private storage facilities to be deployed by the firm, is having a significant impact on firms with geo-aware storage needs.
“The capability to store documents on premises, at the client site, flexible by matter, and then having a global access so that navigation can be globally applied and encryption is the same whether the documents are local or on the client site or in Azure is huge, because now CIOs can tell their clients that there are no circumstances that we can’t accommodate,” Tedjamulia told us.
NetDocuments directly manages eight global datacenters in the US, UK and Australia, and now via Microsoft Azure is able to offer regional storage in Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong, Germany, Netherlands, Ireland, China, Japan, Korea, Brazil and India.
Law firms using ndFlexStore include Orrick, which has over 25 offices across Asia, Europe and North America. Flexible storage was a key factor in Orrick’s decision to select NetDocuments – as attested to by Orrick’s CTO Craig Dean when the move to NetDocuments was announced in July 2016.
Ash Banerjee (pictured), Global CIO at Hogan Lovells, said in a statement seen by Legal IT Insider that will shortly be released to the market: “Replacing our two document management systems with one global platform to leverage our worldwide network and improve our client service is a key part of our strategy. We believe the NetDocuments platform to be a modern and feature rich platform that delivers on our current and future business requirements.”
Matt Duncan, CEO at NetDocuments said: “Hogan Lovells conducted a thorough review of product offerings and we are pleased to have been selected as their document management platform for the future. We believe NetDocuments maturity and the scalability of our proven platform, as well as the trust we have earned through nearly two decades of consistently delivering innovative software solutions to our global customer community, were factors in the decision. We are honored to be partnering with market leaders such as Hogan Lovells as we continue to help drive the legal and compliance industry’s transition to the cloud.”
Asked for a reaction to this latest news, which comes as NetDocuments fights to gain share from legal market DMS leader iManage, one international law firm CIO, who is an iManage client, said: “It certainly adds credibility to NetDocuments and will boost them in the marketplace. But I think it will have a more significant effect on attitudes to cloud: that’s the bigger boost.”