Those whose involvement with information management comes at the discovery end of the process have come to take for granted the immense sophistication of some of the applications available at this end of the EDRM (Electronic Discovery Reference Model). One of the reasons why this is necessary is that the clients have done little to sort, filter and classify their documents as they went along.
The lawyers can compound this potential for confusion at the inception of a matter. Things happen in a rush, with forms to complete, accounts to open, standard documents to send out and track and various forms of checks to undertake – does this client or its matter raise client conflicts? Does taking on the work conflict with some ethical position which the firm (or another big client) has taken? All this has to happen at the same time as the client is sending in the first batch of documents about the matter with the breathless request to know if they will win or lose. Some of the letters and other documents and transactions require approvals, with a corresponding need to route requests and relay the reaction.
Much of this involves workflow, that is (since I am having a drive just now on the loose use of semi-technical expressions) a set of processes or procedures by which tasks progress in order via the appropriate people or other processes, moving or not moving as pre-set rules dictate and following branches dictated by earlier outcomes or by something inherent in the subject-matter. Years ago, I did a stint pseudo-coding the triggers, events and outcomes for such a set of processes to automate a regulatory code. It is non-trivial stuff.
Since its acquisition of Interwoven, Autonomy has been working to integrate its workflow into its flagship document management system iManage WorkSite, and a recent press release announces the launch of that integration.
Whilst following that up on Autonomy’s web site, my eye fell on an invitation to an Executive Lunch briefing in Edinburgh on 22 July which would be an opportunity to see what the iManage tools offer for law firm management.