iManage vs. LexWorkplace

iManage Vs. LexWorkplace – A Document Management System Comparison

Proper management of law firm and client documents is the lifeblood of a law firm. There’s just no getting around the fact that you must find what you need when you need it. If you can’t, it does more than create a potential host of issues with a case. It can also cause an ethics complaint to get filed against your law firm. Selecting the right Document Management software for your firm is just as important, so in this article we’ll explore iManage vs. LexWorkplace.

Of course, technology provides law firms with several options to streamline document management. A great legal document management system helps you do more than find documents when you need them (although that is one of the most important features!) It also allows you and your staff to access necessary documents from anywhere. This can mean no more running back to the office to grab an important document you forgot.

With a good document management system you can access your files from any location as long as you have an Internet connection. Document management software can also help you transform your office to paperless, or to a “paper lite” law office. You’ll need less physical storage and better data security.

Here at Uptime Legal, we spend a lot of time talking with lawyers about their technology needs. We work every day to help law firms become more efficient. And, as you probably know, that’s exactly what the right document management option can help with. We also know it can be both time consuming and overwhelming for law firms to weigh their options.

That’s why we provide reviews and comparisons. We want to give you an easy way to look at the different features provided by some of the top options so that you can make an informed choice in less time.

In this post, we’re going to compare iManage and LexWorkplace. First, we’ll provide you with an overview of each. Then we’ll tell you what we really like about each software platform.

See Also: Side-by-Side Comparison Chart

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iManage Overview

iManage, the company, has been around since 1998 and has a history of being acquired (and sold again). iManage started as an independent company. Over time, they were acquired by Interwoven, Autonomy, and then Hewlett-Packard. In 2015, iManage again became its own independent entity again. That is the (very) abbreviated version of the story, but that story isn’t why we’re here.

iManage’s main document management software is called iManage Work. (Though, many people casually refer to it as simply “iManage,” much in the same way people refer to Microsoft Office as “Microsoft.”)

iManage Work is a secure document management system that also has some artificial intelligence capabilities. It’s used in and trusted by multiple industries. It can be hosted on-site or it can be hosted on a private cloud. However, compared to other document management options, setting up iManage Work (on your own) requires a high level of technical knowledge and experience.

Documents are organized, stored, and managed through the use of projects. Each project created can hold emails, documents, folders, and the likes. So, as a law firm, you’d need to create a project folder for every matter. When iManage Work is running, projects appear on the left side of the screen. You choose the project you need so that you can get to your saved documents (including emails) and files.

iManage provides the option to setup document check-in and check-out (which is ideal for important files), integrates with document scanners, and also integrates with Microsoft Office.

Documents in iManage get indexed, which makes them searchable. You can also apply document tags, security settings (permissions), and profiles to both sort documents and ensure that only those associated with and working on a project may access the material. The system also provides you with document change alerts. You can even create metadata for your files (client information, the name of the author, matter information, etc.) to make it easier to find through the program’s search capabilities.

iManage works on Windows computers only.

If your law firm also uses basic cloud storage services, such as Google Drive or Dropbox, iManage can integrate with these tools. Since iManage is fundamentally a premise-based solution (that is: not natively cloud-based), integrating with third party services like Dropbox and OneDrive is one way iManage gives its users a bit of the cloud.

Related: Webinar: Simple Cloud Storage vs. “Smart” Cloud Storage

Unfortunately, optical character recognition (OCR) is not a feature that is included by default. iManage offers it, but it’s an upgrade that must be purchased. For those totally new to online document management, OCR is a tool that makes digital documents searchable. Of course, for Word documents, that may not seem like such a big deal since a search function is readily available. OCR can search any document (including PDFs) for any word or phrase. This can be extremely helpful if you can’t remember the client name, but you remember a certain cited case or another phrase. You can run a search on what you remember. OCR “reads” the documents and returns those that match your search request. It’s an extremely valuable tool.

Related: Paperless Law Office: Implementing OCR

iManage provides an email management system that integrates with Outlook. Users can save any email to a project (and you can use the project functionality to mirror your cases). The user can do this manually or through the program’s predictive email management. With predictive email management, received emails are automatically moved to a project based on the information within the email itself (such as sender).

iManage also has a mobile app, iManage Work Mobility. Unfortunately, it is only available for iOS devices as of early 2019.

Finally, iManage is a big application. It does lot, and it requires a lot. Specifically: it requires significant server infrastructure. For most iManage Work deployments, the law firm will need no less than two servers dedicated exclusively to iManage. This translates to a lot of cost, not just to buy the software but to build the infrastructure for it to run on.

LexWorkplace Overview

LexWorkplace is a native cloud document management system designed specifically for the legal industry. For those unfamiliar with the concept of “native cloud:

Software that is natively cloud-based was developed, from day one, to be cloud-based software. Natively cloud software, like LexWorkplace (among many others) typically runs in a web browser, and requires no server on the end-user’s side.

Some software, such as iManage, when pressed by their users to develop a cloud version, will repackage their existing software in a virtual desktop or other package to make it cloud-enabled. While this approach is certainly better than managing an on-premise server, it often lacks the sophistication and ease of use of a true, natively cloud application.

LexWorkplace organizes and manages documents via matter. Documents created with Microsoft Office can be saved directly to the proper matter within LexWorkplace. For example, you can create a new Word document, then click to save to LexWorkplace, and file under the appropriate matter (and subfolder within that matter).

LexWorkplace provides three tabs at the top of the screen for every matter that helps users find associated documents, emails, or notes. This, along with some of its other features you’ll learn about here, make it easy to find what you need. LexWorkplace is intuitive and easy to use. The program itself is very similar to navigating through Windows Explorer. This makes it easy for users to find what they need.

LexWorkplace includes a very easy to use search capability (but don’t let its simplicity fool you). The search features has built-in OCR (meaning: you don’t have to buy separate OCR or pay for an “add-on” within the LexWorkplace package) that searches inside of every document and email saved to LexWorkplace. There’s no need to learn fancy search lingo to quickly find what you need. Just type in the phrase, matter, client, or whatever you remember and you’ll find what you’re looking for.

Documents can also be tagged or labeled in whatever manner you wish. Some examples include the status of the matter, document templates, documents needing review or approval, and urgent matters. You can also use these tags to search documents.

LexWorkplace integrates with scanners, fax machines, and Microsoft Office. Combine tagging with integration and you’ll ensure that all documents are placed with the proper matters regardless of how the document was provided or created.

Law firms can also set up user permissions based on what users need to accomplish their work. Additionally, LexWorkplace allows you to set up both file and folder change alerts that will notify you via email if a file or document is changed. It will also tell you who made those changes.

LexWorkplace also provides law firms with a way to manage document versions. Any time a document is edited, LexWorkplace will create a new version, behind-the-scenes. This gives law firms an easy way to compare different versions of a document, manage comments, and know who made which changes.

Another unique feature of LexWorkplace is how it provides a document ID for every document stored in the system, which can be optionally saved in the footer of the document. That means right within the Word document, you’ll see the document’s location in LexWorkplace (very useful when looking at a printout), the version of the document, its ID number, and where the document is stored. When preparing for a hearing, deposition, or even a meeting, this can be beneficial in keeping the right documents together.

LexWorkplace also provides document check-in and check-out. Users who plan to work on a document offline, can use the check-out feature and work on it. Wen they’re finished, they can return it (along with its changes) via check-in. Others who need to see the document when it is checked-out can see it as a read-only version.

LexWorkplace integrates with Outlook. Users can drag and drop emails directly into matters. Matters appear within Outlook so there’s no moving between programs to save off important emails. Email messages as well as their attachments are also indexed by LexWorkplace, just like documents which makes them instantly searchable. Additionally, LexWorkplace “de-duplicates” email, ensuring that each email is saved to LexWorkplace only once (regardless of how many users may have saved the same email to a matter).

Since LexWorkplace was born in the cloud, users don’t need an app for their phone or smart device. As long as they have access to the Internet, users can access the program through their remote desktop. Regardless of location, users keep all of the features they need.

LexWorkplace works on Windows and Mac OS.

What’s Good about iManage

iManage is a very mature program that organizes information based on project. It also integrates with document scanners, cloud storage drives, and Microsoft Office (including Outlook). It’s powerful and has a lot of great document management features that can be very useful for a law firm. The program provides search results quickly.

What’s Good about LexWorkplace

LexWorkplace creates an easy to understand and navigate environment that allows users to save and manage documents by matter. Since it has built-in OCR, users can search not just the names and tags, but the contents of any document. Emails and attachments can be indexed. LexWorkplace also allows users to apply deadlines and favorite documents. We really like that in addition to the check-in and check-out feature that alerts can be created on folders and documents to alert others about changes made as well as who made those changes. LexWorkplace is made specifically for use by lawyers.

The Verdict

While we love all of the features provided by both iManage and LexWorkplace, iManage is more expensive and doesn’t come with OCR. It’s used by several professional industries, but its features weren’t designed with law firms in mind. iManage is also difficult to set-up on your own server or on a private cloud. You’d need a professional to help you get it up and running.

LexWorkplace , as the name suggests, was created for the legal industry. It comes standard with OCR. It’s also a native cloud program. It’s much easier to set-up and run on a private cloud. It’s also less expensive than iManage. We love that LexWorkplace allows users to tag documents, provides alerts to document changes, and allows users to create deadlines. We also love that it cuts down on duplication when saving emails and attachments.

For large law firms with existing powerful server infrastructure, iManage could very well serve the needs of providing a robust, comprehensive document management system.

For small and midsized firms that don’t have (or want) lots of servers onsite and that are looking for a clean, streamlined way to manage documents and email, LexWorkplace will prove the better fit. We also love that LexWorkplace works from Windows and Mac.

For most law firms, regardless of size, LexWorkplace is simply a better fit. There’s no need to worry about the loss of functionality or that your smart device can’t use the mobile version. As long as you or your other users have Internet access, it can be used from anywhere and on practically any device.

We hope you found this comparison useful. If you’d like to learn more, check out our resources below, including our Document Management Comparison chart, as well as our other document management comparison articles.

Download our Document Management Software Comparison Chart.

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