iManage Review for Law Firms

iManage Software Reviews

iManage Software Reviews:  Features, Pricing, Alternatives

Our rollup of iManage Software Reviews.  Document Management often lives at the epicenter of a law firm’s technology, housing all of the firm’s important, matter-related documents, email and other content. Especially as law firms grow to to 5 or more total staff, the need for a robust, capable Document Management System grows.

At Uptime Legal, we help law firms evaluate legal software, implement new technology and move their firm’s to the cloud.  In this article, we’ll provide a comprehensive review of iManage, a document management product used by law firms.  We’ll explore features, benefits, drawbacks, pricing, user feedback and alternatives.

This article serves as a consolidated resource that incorporates:

  • iManage Software Reviews from Real-World Users
  • Full List of Features
  • iManage Advantages and Drawbacks
  • iManage Pricing Information

Introduction to Legal Document Management

A Document Management System (DMS) is software that, to varying degrees, helps businesses manage their documents, email and other data.  The scope, features and capabilities of any given Document Management application varies from product to product; though broadly speaking, Document Management software performs the following functions

Core Features

  • Document Storage
  • Document Organization
  • Microsoft Office Integration
  • Email Management
  • Full-Text Search
  • Document Version Management
  • Unique Document ID's
  • Document Tagging / Profiling

Beyond these core DMS features, some Document Management applications provide additional functionality and provide greater security features.  These may include:

Advanced Features

  • Integrated OCR
  • Client Portal / Client Sharing
  • Client/Matter Structure
  • Outlook Integration

Advanced Security

  • User/Group Permissions
  • MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication)
  • End-to-End Data Encryption
  • Geographic Data Redundancy

Document Management software slightly overlaps (and is sometimes confused with) Practice Management software.  Document Management software and Practice Management software are, however, fundamentally different categories of legal software.  Your firm may need one, the other or both.

Related:  The Problem With Legacy Document Management Software

Introduction to iManage

Next in our rollup of iManage software reviews, we’ll explore prerequisites to using the software.

Setup & System Requirements

iManage is powerful software, but it requires significant server infrastructure to run well.

Specifically, it requires multiple servers to handle storage, indexing and other functions of the iManage software. (iManage would certainly be not described as “lightweight”).  This translates to a significant investment in either onsite server resources or a private cloud.

In a number of iManage software reviews from law firms, the significant infrastructure and technology expertise required is cited by law firm administrators.

Because of iManage’s inherent complexity (both application and IT complexity), you’ll need a qualified iManage consultant to plan, implement and train your firm on using iManage. iManage has a network of certified consultants that you can hire separately to implement iManage for your firm.

Document Management Software Review

Overview of the iManage Software

Next in our consolidation of iManage software reviews, we’ll provide a high-level overview of the software.

iManage is premise-based, general-purpose document management software.  Being that it is premise/server-based software, it does require the law firm maintain onsite, in-house servers to host the iManage software.

iManage does offer a hosted service as an option, whereby the iManage company will provide a hosted server to run your iManage within.  This is not to be confused with true, native cloud-based software.

Because the software is made to fit a range of different industries (not just law firms), it’s general enough that it can be fitted into a number of different kinds of businesses.

Features & Scope
Ease of Use
Mobility / Work Anywhere
Desktop OS Compatibility
Server / Infrastructure Requirements

iManage Software Reviews – Feature List

Next in our rollup of iManage software reviews, we’ll expand on the individual features included (and omitted) in the software.

Document Storage

Basic inline storage of documents including Word, Excel, PDF and other file types.

Native Cloud

The software is natively cloud-based, and run in a web browser without the need for remote desktops, hosting, or other work-arounds.

Document Organization

Organization of documents beyond simple folders.  iManage organizes documents and content by Project.

Microsoft Office Integration

Direct integration with Microsoft Word and Outlook for seamless document editing.

Email Management

The ability to save, organize and manage emails to a project or folder similar to a document.

Full-Text Search

The ability to search across the content and metadata for all documents and email.

Document Version Management

The ability to maintain multiple versions of a document, or view prior versions of documents.

Unique Document ID

Each document is assigned a unique, permanent ID for trackability and integrity.

Document Tagging / Profiling

The ability to classify, annotate and categorize documents (for example:  designate a document as a contract, or motion, or order).

Client Portal / Sharing

The ability to securely share or send documents to clients or other outside parties.

Client / Matter Organization

The concept of Clients and Matters, and the ability to organize data by client/matter.

User / Group Permissions

The ability to create user groups and assign permissions to specific users and groups.

Windows Compatible

Compatible with the Windows operating system.

Mac Compatible

Compatible with Mac OS.

Data Encryption

Data is encrypted in-transit and at-rest.

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Application supports Multi-Factor Authentication for added security.

Geographic Data Redundancy

Data is automatically backed up to redundant servers/data centers in different geographic regions.

Company-Provided Onboarding

Does the software company provide data migration and training directly (or must the user obtain a third-party resource for onboarding).

Office 365 Provided / Supported

Is Office 365 optionally provided and supported to provide a single, seamless user and support experience.

IT Support Provided

Is general IT support optionally provided to create a single, seamless user and support experience.

Storage Included

Default Storage Included in Plan:  Depends on Size/Storage of Your On-Premise Server

Feature depends on the setup and configuration of your internal IT/server infrstructure.

iManage Screen Shots

It’s useful to see the software that your law firm is considering.  For our iManage software reviews, we provide a number of screen captures from various places within the software.

Additional iManage Information

Further in our rollup of iManage software reviews, we’ll explore additional functionality and nuances to the iManage software.

Under the Hood

In our iManage software reviews, we should also take a peek under the hood. iManage runs on top of Microsoft SQL Server, the database engine that makes everything work. All of the version information, metadata, profiling, tags that you associate with documents in email in iManage is stored within SQL database tables inside of SQL server.

iManage Work is powerful. It does a lot, and it can do a lot quickly. This does, however, require a significant server infrastructure to run. The database server, indexing and iManage server software all require a lot of horsepower to run effectively. You may be thinking: “My law firm already had a server, so I’m good to go.”

Probably not. In almost every case, law firms we worked or spoke with prior to moving to iManage to had to make significant investments into new server infrastructure to support the software.

Implementation

Finally, I’d be remiss if in our rollup of iManage software reviews I didn’t talk about implementation. The power of iManage comes with a lot of technical complexity. Unlike more basic software, you won’t be able to simply install it on your computers and up and running. In fact: Chances are, even your IT guy/consultant/firm won’t know how to implement it (even assuming he’s an otherwise perfectly competent IT professional). Installing iManage to your servers and computers, then implementing it into your firm is a very nuanced, specialized skillset. As a result, you’ll have to find an iManage reseller or authorized consultant to implement iManage for the first time.

Advantages of iManage

Next in our iManage review, we’ll explore the advantages of the software, and reasons your law firm may want to consider implementing it.

Better Than Basic Files & Folders

iManage provides features to organize, classify and search documents, which is inherently better than a basic folder structure.

Powerful DMS

iManage is powerful:  It's packed with a lot of advanced document management features that larger law firms often require.

Fast DMS

With the proper server infrastructure and configuration, iManage is fast.  Document operations including search are fast and responsive.

Drawbacks of iManage

Next in our iManage review, we’ll explore the drawbacks of the software, and reasons your law firm may want want to consider other options.

Not Cloud-Based

iManage is server-based, which means you'll need to either maintain an on-premise server, or pay for iManage's own hosted server service (which has mixed reviews).

Significant Server Infrastructure Required

iManage doesn't just require your own in-house servers, it requires very powerful (and expensive) servers to run properly.  You'll also need a third-party IT consultant to properly setup and maintain these servers on an ongoing basis.

Steep Learning Curve

iManage is powerful, but not particularly user friendly.  The learning curve for your firm's users will be steep, and will require significant ongoing training.

No Native Mac OS Support

iManage does not run on Mac OS.  If your firm uses Macs, you'll need to either replace them with Windows computers, or impalement Parallels to run a virtual Windows instance on your Mac.

Migration & Training Performed by a Third-Party

iManage will not help you migrate data or provide any software training.  Instead, they will require that you hire a third-party "consultant" (reseller) to perform all conversion and training.  User reviews of third-party consultants are mixed.

No Client / Matter Structure

Because its made for many industries, iManage does not have a concept of "Clients" or "Matters."  Instead, documents are organized into multiple "Projects" which must be retro-fitted to approximate a Client/Matter structure.

Non-Transparent Pricing

iManage does not publish the pricing for its software publicly, nor do they provide guidance on typical migration or onboarding costs (performed by a third party).

iManage Software Reviews – User Feedback

“Document Management Tool”

Shubham G. in Law Practice

“The best part of this suite is that it is easy to use and has powerful tools to manage your document. Multiple users can access the same file at the same time.  What I don’t like:  Its dependency, or you can say its requirement for Outlook, can sometimes be an issue. If there is something wrong with your Outlook, there is a possibility that iManage will suffer as well.

This tool is suitable for small and big businesses to manage your document accessibility and shareability; however, it is expensive.”

“iManage is a necessary, but awkward tool for law firms.”

Verified User in Law Practice

“I like that iManage enables me to search all MS Office suite docs in one place.  I do not like that iManage always asks me to synchronize and check-in and check-out documents.

I recommend that users “check-in” documents regularly as it becomes difficult to discern updates if they remain “checked-out.”

“Hard to Navigate but does the job”

Verified User in Law Practice

“We use iManage to store, organize, and maintain legal records.  I like that the software is easily integrated into Microsoft Office and Outlook. It is easy to navigate between each.

The search functions within iManage are pretty poor. It is difficult to search for relevant documents with key terms.”

Original Source: G2.com

iManage Pricing

Next in our rollup of iManage software reviews, we’ll cover pricing.

As mentioned above, iManage does not provide public pricing information, for the software itself or implementation  To get pricing for your firm you’ll need to engage with iManage sales staff or work with a local iManage reseller. We recommend that you very clearly and thoroughly understand all costs and pricing, including:

  • The cost for the software itself
  • The cost for additional users/seats
  • The server/IT requirements based on your firm size and data
  • The cost for implementation (data conversion)
  • The cost for training
  • Any other one-time or recurring costs

iManage Alternatives

If iManage doesn’t suit your law firm, you might consider these popular alternatives.

LexWorkplace

Cloud-based Document & Email Management exclusively for law firms.  Easy to use, conversion and training provided by the LexWorkplace team.  Learn more.

Worldox

Long-running document management software often used by law firms.  Worldox is premise-based and requires in-house servers.  Learn more.

More:  See the Top 5 iManage Alternatives

Looking for Document Management Software?

LexWorkplace:

Modern Document Management for Law Firms

LexWorkplace is document & email management software, born in the cloud and built for law firms.

Organize by Client & Matter

Organize documents, email and notes by client or matter. Store and manage all data for a case or project in one place.

Go Beyond Basic Files & Folders

Supercharge your firm’s productivity with true DMS functions.

  • Version Management
  • Document Tagging & Profiling
  • Document Check-Out / Check-In
  • Microsoft Office Integration

Search Everything

LexWorkplace is like Google for your law firm.  Search across millions of pages, documents, folder email and notes in seconds. Refine your search by matter, document type, author and more.

Seamless Outlook Integration

Save emails to a matter without leaving Outlook. Saved emails are accessible to your entire team.

Organize Email With Folders & Notes

Organize matter-related emails into subfolders. Add notes to call out important emails.

Works with Windows and Macs

LexWorkplace is 100% compatible with Mac OS and Windows.

LexWorkplace Features

The legal industry has had to put up with dated, clunky document management systems for too long.

No more.

With LexWorkplace, you’ll have access to a wide range of features, including:

  • A Terabyte of Storage: LexWorkplace starts with 1TB of storage for your firm, giving you plenty of room to grow.
  • Advanced security: LexWorkplace encrypts your data in transit and at rest. It also includes enhanced security measures such as permission setting capabilities and two-factor authentication.
  • Geographic redundancy: We have multiple independent data centers across North America. This means we can securely back up your data, so you can trust your data is available to you no matter what happens next.
  • Document tracking IDs: Each file you save to LexWorkplace has a unique ID for easy document tracking.
  • One-click functionality: LexWorkplace can help you move faster. View, edit, and save your documents with a single click, no re-upload required.
  • Document check-in/out: Want to make changes to a document without others doing so at the same time? By checking out a document, you can make the changes you need to make without others on your team interfering. Then, just check the document back in when you’re finished.
  • Version management: LexWorkplace will automatically track each version of your documents, so you can see when changes were made and by whom.
  • Profiling and tagging: You can easily set document types and statuses for each of your files. Plus, you can create tags to keep documents organized based on your firm’s needs.
  • Recent file prioritization: LexWorkplace will place your recent files front and center, so you can easily return to your work. Or, you can set certain documents as important for easy access.
  • Email management capabilities: Easily save emails to each matter file straight from Outlook. Plus, LexWorkplace will provide instant deduplication, so you can avoid saving multiples of the same email. It’s a time-consuming process that LexWorkplace automates on your behalf.

Get in Touch

Want to learn more?  Watch the demo below, or get in touch with our team to learn more about LexWorkplace for your firm.

Watch the Demo