iManage Review – What Law Firms Need to Know
Many law firms rely on a Document Management System (DMS) to securely organize their documents, files, email and other data. There are a lot of DMS options out there that law firms can use. One long-running document management platform is iManage Work. One of our most important jobs here at Uptime Legal is providing law firms with enough information about potential solutions that can make law firm life more productive and maybe even a little bit easier. We do this by writing reviews about software options law firms often use, such as this iManage Review.
This review is the culmination of our own analysis as well as gathering feedback from many law firms that use iManage (as well as firms that use other document management platforms).
Before we get into the details of this iManage review, we want to tell you about the company’s 20-year history.
iManage started in 1998 as an independent company. Five years later, in 2003, iManage was acquired by a company by the name of Interwoven. Fast-forward to six years later (2009), Interwoven was acquired by another company called Autonomy. Three years later (2012), Autonomy was acquired by Hewlett-Packard.
Jump ahead again three more years to 2015 and iManage broke away and became its own entity once again. Yes, that’s four acquisitions, mergers and break-aways in a relatively short amount of time. Mergers and acquisitions may not be all that surprising to law firms. However, that short history we just shared with you is really just glossing over the entire journey. The road from small independent company to regaining their status again as an independent company was a rocky road involving legal battles, PR problems, and getting the unwanted attention of the US DOJ. The story is a long and interesting one, and you can read more about it here.
Overview of iManage
A quick note… the company is called iManage, and their document management software is called iManage Work. Many people casually refer to the software product, iManage Work as simply iManage. For the sake of brevity, we’ll do the same in this iManage review.
Alright, let’s dive into the real meat of our iManage review: the software, its features, benefits anddrawbacks… and whether we think it is really a good fit for law firms as a DMS. iManage Work is the main component of the DMS software. As we mentioned very early in our introduction, it provides both document and email management. It is not, however, designed exclusively for the legal industry. It is used in other industries, including healthcare and finance.
iManage’s organizational structure involves sorting documents (including emails) in projects. Inside of each project, users can either dump all of their data, documents, and emails or they can make sub-folders to better organize their material. iManage’s main, top-level container is called a project. For a law firm that uses iManage, they would effectively create a project for every client or case.
Users within your law firm can then refine organization by creating folders based on hearings, documents, evidence, trial notebooks, or in whatever way makes sense for the way the firm functions.
If you’ve used Windows Explorer (and who hasn’t?), you’ll find that navigating through iManage is relatively straight-forward. On the left side of the window, you’ll see a list of every project created. You can open, search, edit, or move around in a project from that point.