Customer success: HVG Law

New, single source of knowledge transforms document management at HVG Law 

IRIS implements iManage Work solution to improve efficiency, collaboration and compliance across multiple office locations of HVG Law

A leader in the Dutch market, HVG Law is amongst the top Dutch law firms and is an entrepreneurial, innovative and solution-oriented legal and notarial firm. With five offices in The Netherlands plus a presence in three US cities, over 200 lawyers and civil-law notaries work across numerous sectors, providing excellent advice, focussing on high quality, speed of service and meeting the needs of clients.

The firm provides a multidisciplinary approach and due to its strategic alliance with EY Tax in the Netherlands, are capable of tackling client issues, not just from a legal perspective, but also from a financial and tax perspective.

HVG Law is also part of the global EY Law network, comprising over 3,500 legal professionals, operating from 84 countries worldwide, providing clients with access to local expertise through EY Law practices in other countries.

Effectively and efficiently managing client and practice documentation is key to providing the outstanding levels of service that HVG Law clients have come to expect. Many years ago the firm moved away from manual, ad-hoc storage structures methods of working, saving documents to network drives, local hard disks and sharing extensively via email, by implementing an innovative document management solution to overcome the challenges. However, that solution was not best suited to the modern demands of the legal profession.

Pauline Dijksman, Lawyer and Knowledge Manager at HVG Law explained in more detail, “The solution we used was not specifically developed and suited for our legal services and the large volume of content that we deal with in the increasingly digital world of today. This was impacting customer service, compliance and overall efficiency. The solution also lacked integration to our financial practice management system and so we decided it was time to move to a faster, more responsive solution, better suited to our legal services, our professionals and their way of working.”

A more efficient and effective solution for legal services

HVG Law professionals often collaborate on multidisciplinary client matters across the HVG Law locations. But with documents being emailed out to multiple offices, this led to a proliferation of document versions in circulation.

“When considering a new solution, we wanted to ensure that we had one reliable and single source where we can save and find our documents ,” said Dijksman, “We need to ensure that everyone has fast access to the most up to date document version, and as changes are made, these are instantly available to others without having to determine if that is the case.”

Pauline Dijksman led the project to identify a new solution and organised demonstrations from a number of potential vendors. Initially a small group of staff were involved, but this soon expanded to ensure the right solution was selected.

“During the solution demonstrations, one stood out and a consensus was reached to move forward with iManage Work,” stated Dijksman, “We all agreed that iManage was the right solution for us due to its look and feel, usability, speed and suitability for the legal sector. We also looked at what other law firms use and iManage is very prevalent in The Netherlands, is well-known and established.”

Implementation partner experience key to project success

Having made the choice to implement iManage Work, the next step was to appoint an implementation partner with the right experience and knowledge of iManage, to ensure a smooth introduction of the new solution.

“We approached iManage themselves, asking them to recommend a company with a track record of successful implementations. One name was immediately put forward, IRIS,” said Dijksman, “IRIS has the right experience and knowledge of the solution, specifically in the legal market. Plus, they are local to us in The Netherlands. We believe a local partner is more likely to provide better service, have a better cultural understanding and be in a position to respond faster.”

HVG Law has a strategy to reduce reliance upon on-premise servers and so opted to implement the solution in the iManage Cloud. This helps reduce the burden on IT resource as any updates are handled by iManage on its resilient cloud infrastructure.

Initially, the iManage desktop client software was deployed to around 150 users in the lawyers’ practice in The Netherlands, who now use the solution on a daily basis. A further 50 users in the notary group will be live shortly, as will a number of lawyers in the United States.

“The deployment of the iManage desktop was challenging due to the need to take into account the very high security and privacy requirements of our global IT infrastructure,” added Dijksman, “However, IRIS stepped up and helped us navigate through these challenges. They handled numerous queries around security and other configuration matters. Working with IRIS has been a great experience, they have been very structured, patient and professional.”

“The investment of HVG Law in iManage was a logical step that fits into the innovative strategy of HVG Law to engage into solutions that are better suited to our changing legal services, our professionals and their way of working."

Jan Padberg, Managing Partner, HVG Law

Everyone benefits from greater knowledge sharing, speed of access and ease of use

Feedback has been extremely positive as users quickly became used to the new ways of working. Even those that were perhaps a little less IT literate than others, quickly learnt how to use the new solution, thanks to its ease of use with its clear and understandable user-interface.

“We used to find it difficult to find relevant documents and emails and users wanted to work within the familiar Microsoft Outlook environment,” said Dijksman, “With iManage Work we now have a very stable, user-friendly solution which makes it quick and easy to find content thanks to the consistent and highly-searchable structure.”

HVG Law has implemented two databases, one for all client matter content and a second for internal knowledge content, such as templates, marketing material and specific expertise knowledge.

“Prior to iManage, each office had its own server and documents,” stated Dijksman, “Now with a single, central knowledge source, allied to the strong search capabilities of iManage, anyone can quickly get to the recent knowledge, actual content and up-to-date marketing materials they need, regardless of their location, significantly improving efficiency.”

Whenever a new engagement code is created in the firm’s financial system, a new workspace is automatically created in iManage. Subject to a user’s security level, something previously lacking, this is then instantly available to them and everyone knows that in ten or twenty years’ time, it will be easy to locate documents by client or engagement codes.

In addition to the additional users that are soon to go live with the solution, HVG Law has other plans to expand use of the solution. For example, additional functionality is planned in conjunction with IRIS to provide a workspace merge facility and iManage Mobility, to facilitate the usage of smart devices, among others.

“We have built a highly effective relationship together with IRIS,” concluded Dijksman, “We are extremely pleased and look forward to a long and beneficial partnership.”

Since implementing iManage, HVG Law has been able to provide advice, with regards to implementation, to other EY Law network members as they undertake to implement iManage in around 83 other countries.

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