As part of a wider digital agenda Eversheds’ IT director Andrew McManus is undertaking a review of the top 15 firm’s document management system, with a view to potentially combining two or more systems.

The review comes as Eversheds, which this year has allocated its largest-ever sum for research and development, is considering investing in startups and new technology, including potentially entering a joint venture, profit share or making an acquisition, if that was seen to be to the benefit of its clients.

Eversheds currently uses OpenText as its DMS and McManus, who joined the circa 1364-lawyer firm in July 2014 from The NEC Group is currently leading a wholesale review of available solutions, including OpenText, iManage and NetDocuments as well as Windows 10 and Microsoft Office 365, which offers SharePoint document management capability.

McManus who is focussing heavily on business intelligence and management information this year says: “The one theme I’m keen on is that law firms don’t need to use legal technology only.”

As part of the review he will look at introducing different DMS systems to reflect the fact that not all practice areas require the same level of robust document sharing solutions. “I come from a non-legal background and it’s a fairly well-trodden path. I’m not saying we’ll end up with a whole range of systems that need knitting together but key is what data people need. Clients need access to that data and we’ll work back from that point,” he says

McManus, who is currently in talks to outsource the firm’s servers to a private cloud supplier, is also looking at the way the firm bills time, for which it uses Tikit’s Carpe Diem.

He is running pilots with fee-earners on an iterative basis and said: “We’re not in any kind of advanced talks but the focus for this financial year is making sure those base platforms are as effective as possible for our lawyers.”

“There is a real opportunity now to use our digital platform, and get lawyers to drive it, which is really exciting.”

Last year Eversheds made a huge investment in upgrading its DMS to become more mobile and agile. McManus said: “Very senior people in the firm say it’s good. It’s how you collaborate with clients, that’s the bit I want to improve.”

The digital agenda is also seeing Eversheds talk to a number of new startups about their products and how they can help Eversheds’ clients. McManus said: “There is no reason why we wouldn’t look at a joint venture profit share or acquisition of a technology business.” The firm doesn’t have a fixed budget but has allocated focus and time and funding. However, it is also working closely with clients to identify touch points that can be overhauled by technology and proactively approaching the technology industry to ask for a solution.

This article first appeared in the May Legal IT Insider. To  register for your free monthly copy click here.