Established in 1949 in Oslo, Raeder is one of the most respected midsized commercial law firms in Norway. Specialising in a range of trade-related law, the firm employs 95 lawyers and support staff, and boasts an international presence; representing foreign clients in Norway and Norwegian clients abroad.

The business problem

As part of a review into the firm’s IT infrastructure, Raeder identified shortfalls in its Document Management System (DMS), that had been in place for over a decade. It was clear the system was excessively complex, which was leading many lawyers to revert to Outlook email folders to manage and store documents, which risked compliance and posed a security risk.

This Outlook centric approach also presented issues relating to productivity, as an estimated 3 hours per week, per fee-earning member of staff, were wasted locating documents.

Raeder’s Chief Financial Officer, Trine Bagstevold, comments: “As part of our move to Microsoft Office 365 we reviewed our DMS to establish the value it added. It was clear the DMS was cumbersome and complex for users to navigate and operate. This was frustrating for users but it represented a real barrier to optimum productivity, customer service and ultimately to profit too.”

As far as protecting business continuity, should an employee leave the business, knowledge transfer would also be problematic if a predominance of client matter was stored on an individual’s Outlook.

The fourth and final problem identified in the old DMS was the way it inhibited collaborative working practices. Trine explains: “Being able to co-author documents safely and easily, access documents independently, and work in true partnership with the firm was something more clients were beginning to expect. The existing DMS couldn’t facilitate this. We needed to provide visibility, control, and collaboration to clients. We needed a new DMS.”

Finding the solution

Two focus groups (one management, one system users) were created as part of the firm’s planned migration to Microsoft Office 365. The groups established that the new DMS would need to meet key criteria relating to:

  • Usability. The new platform needed to be simple and intuitive in appearance, yet sophisticated in its functionality.
  • Collaboration. The new dms needed to provide clients with a shared, secure and permissionsbased, online portal to work in partnership with the firm’s lawyers.
  • Cloud-based. The firm wanted to embrace the ‘Netflix’ approach to DMS.
  • Microsoft integration.The new DMS needed to integrate seamlessly with the firm’s Microsoft ecosystem and be built on SharePoint.

The initial shortlist was made up of five vendors. One was dismissed due to its small size. Two, including Formpipe’s Contentworker, were SharePoint based. The remaining systems were only available on-premise, which went against Raeder’s vision for a future proof, scalable solution that would be quick to install and offer innovation on tap.

After extensive research, demonstrations and trials of each solution, Raeder selected Contentworker by Formpipe. Trine comments: “Contentworker was selected unanimously as we felt it performed better than any other DMS on our shortlist against key criteria. It was very easy to use yet feature rich. This combination made us confident in the software’s ability to drive efficiencies within the firm and free-up users’ time to concentrate on fee-earning tasks.

“Contentworker is available hosted in a private cloud environment, which means we could benefit from fast implementation, immediate access to new version releases and incredibly secure storage for our three million documents in European data centres.”

Reaping the rewards

The firm spent six months researching the market and another six months trialling systems before migrating its entire workforce across to Microsoft Office 365 in March 2018. Contentworker was live and delivering rich matter-centric workspaces, tailored to Raeder’s needs, within days.

The DMS has only been in use for a short time but is already supporting Raeder to increase productivity; facilitate collaboration in a safe, secure, and userfriendly portal; and champion compliance adherence.

Contentworker is providing users with the ability to quickly and easily save and retrieve documents. Instead of 3 hours per week, per fee earner, the firm now estimates users will reduce the time spent searching for documents by up to 75 per cent.

Contentworker is also allowing multiple users to coauthor a document simultaneously and access matter independently, on any device, from any location. As such, the system is helping Raeder redefine its offering; not just by introducing more efficient workflows that save time, but by giving clients a new sense of control and ownership over their matter.

Trine explains: “Contentworker is adding a great deal of value to clients and internal users. Commercially, we believe it is giving Raeder a new USP to take to market: all firms can offer great knowledge, but not all firms can offer this kind of service to go with it.”

The simple-touse, familiar interface has minimised staff training. The system’s integration capabilities are also delivering benefits to Raeder, with the clients and matters automatically synchronised into the DMS from third-party systems. This will play an important role in future, as Raeder hopes to introduce time management systems, that will be fed by Contentworker, to help automate accurate client billing processes.

Trine concludes: “Thanks to Contentworker, Raeder is now in a much stronger place to continue to set the standard for commercial law practice in Norway and beyond, today and tomorrow.”