Linklaters Global COO Matt Peers talks iManage, Microsoft, and the tech roadmap

Last week Linklaters announced that is has selected iManage Work 10 for document and email management, with plans to swap out Documentum and NetDocuments Decisiv. We spoke to Global COO Matt Peers about the decision-making process, plus what is on the tech horizon when it comes to the likes of Microsoft 365 and MS Teams.

It’s a long-awaited decision that a couple of years ago looked as though it might go a different away. Linklaters last week (10 August) selected iManage Work 10, largely thanks to the huge progress iManage has made in developing its cloud offering, but also in large part due to the momentum that iManage has built among BigLaw, with all of the magic circle firms now iManage customers.;new advadsCfpAd( 155474 );;new advadsCfpAd( 155475 );;new advadsCfpAd( 163652 );;new advadsCfpAd( 155474 );;new advadsCfpAd( 155475 );( window.advanced_ads_ready || jQuery( document ).ready ).call( null, function() {var $legalslider1026622677 = jQuery( “.legal-slider-1026622677” );$legalslider1026622677.on( “unslider.ready”, function() { jQuery( “div.custom-slider ul li” ).css( “display”, “block” ); });$legalslider1026622677.unslider({ delay:10000, autoplay:true, nav:false, arrows:false, infinite:true });$legalslider1026622677.on(“mouseover”, function(){$legalslider1026622677.unslider(“stop”);}).on(“mouseout”, function() {$legalslider1026622677.unslider(“start”);});});

Linklaters is a Documentum customer and in 2016 selected NetDocuments email management solution Decisiv – now called Decisiv.

Speaking to Legal IT Insider, Linklaters’ Global COO Matt Peers reflects: “The ability we had as a firm to adapt, and the way Documentum continues to work is amazing – its longevity is impressive and there have been no transitional issues. But then we started to look at what is happening in the market more broadly and we are the last big firm to make a call on what to do with our document management system.”;new advadsCfpAd( 163901 );;new advadsCfpAd( 163650 );;new advadsCfpAd( 156117 );;new advadsCfpAd( 163901 );;new advadsCfpAd( 163650 );( window.advanced_ads_ready || jQuery( document ).ready ).call( null, function() {var $legalslider278197954 = jQuery( “.legal-slider-278197954” );$legalslider278197954.on( “unslider.ready”, function() { jQuery( “div.custom-slider ul li” ).css( “display”, “block” ); });$legalslider278197954.unslider({ delay:10000, autoplay:true, nav:false, arrows:false, infinite:true });$legalslider278197954.on(“mouseover”, function(){$legalslider278197954.unslider(“stop”);}).on(“mouseout”, function() {$legalslider278197954.unslider(“start”);});});

Peers says the firm, which in 2019 selected iManage RAVN to power its knowledge management system MatterExplorer, engaged in a very thorough review. iManage’s raft of recent high-end wins and implementations were a big factor. Clifford Chance announced its iManage selection in March 2019, swapping out its SharePoint DMS. Baker McKenzie announced the same decision just one month later, swapping out OpenText. In terms of the other magic circle firms, Allen & Overy deployed iManage in the first half of 2020; Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has been an iManage customer since it swapped out Clearview in 2002; and Slaughter and May was first noted to be an Interwoven customer in 2006 by our UK top 200 – Interwoven acquired iManage in 2003.

Peers says: “The DMS is a focal point for where your information comes in but also goes out, and the fact that iManage is so largely deployed in the large firms was a factor. One of the powerful slides in iManage’s presentation was ‘what systems are other firms using?’ – market penetration counts.”

He adds “In terms of the skills that are out there and recruiting people into our team, there are more iManage-qualified people available. Also, iManage has a decent UK infrastructure and that is a differentiator. NetDocuments has flirted with UK management over time and there have been peaks and troughs, but while there is no doubt loads of support from Lehi, the support on the ground here is good from iManage.”

Linklaters had always set its sights on a cloud document management system, meaning that until a couple of years ago, NetDocuments’ native cloud DMS appeared a strong contender. However, law firm technology teams are a notoriously connected bunch, and one of the turning points Peers says, was “hearing stories of people successfully deploying the iManage Cloud.” Although he adds: “NetDocuments is a highly credible solution that would have worked, and it wasn’t an easy decision.”

It helps that MatterExplorer is based on the iManage RAVN search engine, and Peers says: “There are obvious overlaps in that space.” He adds: “We want search to be so powerful that people who are allowed to see information can see it: making it work in a dynamic world is key. I don’t like information being locked away if it doesn’t need to be. If by day 25 it is no longer confidential, I want it opened up, and the stuff that iManage is doing with RAVN and privileges will help to achieve that.”

The fact that iManage has a deep integration with and now a partnership with Microsoft is also important, and Peers says: “The Microsoft suite remains key to what we do and how we deliver our work.”

In terms of the wider roadmap, Linklaters, which lives in Jabber and Webex, is increasingly moving towards Microsoft Teams, driven in large part by client demand. “We would be silly not to adopt it, and people use it for internal work and some stuff with clients,” Peers says. Although he adds: “A lot of people still like to live in Outlook, which is a world that they have grown up in.”

Peers predicts that the firm will end up with everything in Microsoft 365 “within a little while” but from an email standpoint the firm simply doesn’t have the capacity right now. “Everything has proven we can make it work and it’s the direction of travel,” he says.

The focus now is on delivering the new DMS, with all of the change management that involves. iManage partner Morae Global will partner with iManage Professional Services to deliver the Work 10 implementation.

Peers says: “We have to be really aware of how busy people are and make sure it’s not invasive, and that is a challenge. We are putting significant energy and effort into change management, and we have involved our lawyers from the outset in terms of how we get them to use the DMS and how usable it is. It has to be simple and intuitive.”

To take a look at our UK Top 200 of which firm is using what system, click here: