Title and Session Link: Interwoven E-Mail Management — Tailoring Processes and Technology to Fit Your Firm
When it comes to e-mail management, one size does not fit all. A firm’s size, number of offices and practice area concentration all need to be considered when email management processes and systems are being developed. Our panel of member firms of varying sizes and demographics discuss how they approached development of an effective e-mail management strategy suited to the unique aspects of their firm. Whether your firm is large and spread around the globe or small and in one location, you will learn how different firms have tackled this important issue.
Brie Stampe — Traveling Coaches, Inc.
Nancy Lio — Torkin Manes Cohen Arbus LLP;
Karen Tausher — Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
Fritz Sassine (fill-in)-- Hunton & Williams
I'm interested in this one because, once my firm establishes solid Interwoven search, we will be moving to "matter-centricity" or email foldering. MCC entails incorporating email into the Interwoven document management system in matter-specific workspaces.
This was an informal panel discussion; the smallish room was jammed. The speakers were up on high stools on a dias, but connected well with the audience. The sessions was quite informative. Hearing from people at law firms who have been actually implemented email management is really invaluable.
Her firm has 1 location, 175 lawyers. Their biggest challenge was storage capacity, with file stores all over the place. Ended up "visualized."
Policy: Set Outlook mailbox limit of 150 MB, removed "Save As" option, filing is pretty much mandatory. Lawyers don't want to file emails, so assistants have to have rights to file email. The problem is that having the assistants file changes the "author" metadata. Some lawyers bcc their assistant on every email. Have enabled duplicate email notification, but duplicates still go in. They should have done an email retention policy earlier (3 months for Inbox.)
They don't support .pst files.
The entire document store is 1.7 million documents, 1.2 million of which are email. Lawyers don't want to file because they can't get to their stuff as quickly. We need to get them to search more and learn how to search well. (The only loss of functionality on filing is that reminders on emails are lost).
Attorneys have difficult navigating hundreds of shortcuts in matters list. They stored a large volume of stuff in the personal email workspaces (their needs to be an automatic way to drop off matters as they age).
Buy-in was not difficult, because they could point to advantages of centralization. Outlook integration was critical; they needed drag-and-drop capability for email filing. Full-text searching in emails and attachments was also important.
Roll-out entailed a firm-wide party with food and a demo, and an open training session. Had some lunch-and-learns. Administrative staff got hands-on sessions. The small insurance group piloted the DMS, and then they rolled out MCC to the rest of the firm.
Her firm has 505 attorneys, 9 offices, 1 in Shanghai. They rolled out MCC in April-May 2008.
Their biggest challenge was attorneys wanted to have email both searcheable, filed, and easy to use.
In advance of the rollout, they fostered a"best practice" of filing email in Outlook folders.
They've had success in filing emails. After the rollout, they had 3.2 emails per document, now they have 4.7 emails per document. Baker Robbins "Fast Filer" tool addresses assistant-filer-as-author problem.
Attorneys are willing to listen to tools that will help them manage their email. After a setback involving records management and an outdated area-of-law taxonomy, they developed a road map.
Attorneys are searching in DeskSite for emails but want Outlook functionality (they should be using FileSite).
What they would do the same: User preparation was really key; roadmap and getting attorneys to file emails in Outlook folders paid off. Trainers emphasized the benefits of searching attachments, finding things when people leave the firm, etc. Their first pilot group was chosen for political reasons, the second group was technical and provided much more useful feedback.
She wished they had had more time with the Baker Robbins tool before rollout.
They should have focused on "Email Management" (search) training time. The "email only" search is very valuable.
Attorneys wanted "undocked" foldering through Blackberrys. They haven't solved that problem yet.
They haven't been able to get attorneys to file the "right" email.
She would have mandated 1-hour hands-on training for attorneys. She wishes they had increased floor support, not 2 people/floor but at least 4/floor.
She would consolidate their three "sets" of workspaces because people put client information in user or precedent workspaces. "My Matters" list grow to 200-300, way too many. Opening up Outlook takes 7-10 minutes.
Karen is piloting Express Search / Data Miner (based on Vivisimo's Velocity engine).
H & W finished MCC rollout in April 2008, except in Asia where 8.5 will provide language support.
Biggest email challenge: Attorneys want to file email. There's no way to mass import emails in older system without Outlook locking up. Dealing with large email boxes is a big issue. Email policy needs to be addressed as part of email management.
They are moving to 30-day email deletion. They will assign email coaches to individuals with giant email files.
Three practices (labor, trademark, transactional) are filing most of their email.
The general counsel of firm wanted to have everything related to a matter in one place. They videotaped them talking about the benefits of matter management. If they needed to remove something, they needed to be able to get it all at once.
Attorneys designed their own workspaces. If they had told attorneys what folders to store them in, they might not have gotten the buy-in.
For their roll-out, they posted FAQs, Camtasias, did "WOW" sessions, and kick-the-tire sessions. Set up on-line game. If there is a prize at the end, attorneys will challenge each other. Tracked all activities, to catch up to people who didn't attend. Attorneys did not turn out for "mandatory" sessions, so they had a lot of 1:1 sessions. The day of the rollout had a "survival guide" showing 5 basic things they needed to know. Also had people walking the floor. They are doing more team sessions because teams work in different ways.
He wishes they had gotten top-down support for mandatory email training sessions. They didn't understand how email storage works with Interwoven. E.g., one pain point was transactional attorneys who had to open up each of 50 workspaces on a "drag-and-drop."
Fritz and Karen both said that the Blackberry client is used principally for opening documents from workspaces, not for filing or searching.
Thanks to the panelist for their presentation and to the audience for some good questions, reflected in the information above.