Embracing SharePoint as a Legal DMS Drives Efficiencies

SharePoint + Colligo = Legal Document Management System

Last Updated on April 12, 2024 Sarah Gayda

Competing legal document management software within firms and legal departments impedes collaboration and wastes money

Legal departments’ technology initiatives often underperform, according to a recent Gartner report. Why? Lack of planning. The report also notes that decisions about which products are best for legal departments’ needs are complicated by the fragmentation and ever-changing legal technology marketplace.

These findings mirror what we see working with legal departments within our enterprise customers. Most have numerous legacy systems in place in addition to modern solutions and applications, which often results in an overlap in functionality. What’s more, most legal departments and law firms grappling with multiple systems lack a single source of truth, experience low utilization rates for any one system, don’t utilize the full capabilities of each application, and pay way more than they should as a result. All of this was further exacerbated by the pandemic and the shift to remote and hybrid work.

As Gartner states, “…many legal departments lack a technology strategy overall. They purchase and implement legal applications with a narrow view of requirements, widespread disagreement on goals and scant coordination with the rest of the enterprise.”

Challenges to modernizing systems faced by legal departments & firms poll
Colligo poll results, 2021

A slow but sure move to the Cloud

Having invested significant amounts of money into clunky legacy legal technology, some legal departments and law firms have been slower to adopt cloud technology, especially when compared with other industries, and some have resisted all together. Understandably, it’s hard to admit to and walk away from bad investments.

However, given the obvious redundancies and costs to maintain legacy systems, as well as the need for a more sustainable solution to manage caseloads, the move to the cloud is slowly happening. ILTA’s Legal Technology 2022 survey notes that cloud is the top area of interest for creating significant change for 25% of respondents, up from 16% in 2021. Interest in the Microsoft Cloud is piquing too, as legal departments and firms are rapidly adopting and relying on Microsoft Teams. Remarkably, the number of firms using or planning to use Teams jumped from 4% in 2020 to 42% in 2022.

The untapped potential of Microsoft technologies for legal departments

As more legal departments are increasing investments in Microsoft technologies, particularly Office, Teams, and SharePoint Online, many are becoming more aware of its vast potential for replacing costly legacy systems.

From a cost perspective, it’s a no-brainer. Legal departments that already own Microsoft 365 E3 or E5 licenses can leverage existing investments and take advantage of expansive functionality within Microsoft applications that outperforms their other systems. Forward thinking legal departments are already using SharePoint Online for legal records management and even looking to the use of AI and SharePoint Syntex to help drive their businesses forward. Further, with cost effective and value-driven add-ins, such as Colligo Enterprise Suite, many legal departments are replacing their costly legal document management systems while at the same time increasing their Microsoft 365 utilization rates, as they tailor it for legal use cases.

Purchased v Utilized Microsoft 365 E5 LicensesSharePoint Online + Colligo = A complete legal DMS

Legal departments can quickly and easily leverage SharePoint Online as their legal document management system (legal DMS) with the help of Colligo Enterprise Suite, making email and document management a breeze. By leveraging all the powerful functionality of Microsoft 365 and tailoring it for legal use cases, Colligo is helping legal departments and operations deliver process upgrades without breaking budgets and disrupting the way lawyers natively want to work. Here are a couple of recent customer examples:

  • A legal department in a global Consumer Goods company is saving in-house counsel and administration time and money by using Colligo to file matters into SharePoint Online from Outlook, as well as more easily share matters externally with outside counsel. The result? Lawyers spend more time on legal work instead of doing administrative work. 
  • A mid-sized law firm in the US is benefitting from an easier way to file emails and case matters and more efficiently classifying and accessing electronic client matter, including Office documents, images, PDFs, emails, and attachments. That same firm is empowering lawyers to manage client-related content in SharePoint without leaving Outlook and Teams.

Benefits our legal department customers are seeing include:

  • Increased time spent on legal work; a reduction in time spent working on non-productive and administrative tasks (studies suggest as much as 20% of a corporate legal teams’ time is spent on the admin surrounding intake, triage, and allocation)
  • Gaining more value out of their investment in Microsoft 365 by turning SharePoint into a legal DMS
  • Optimally organizing and tagging legal content so it can be found again quickly
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Gartner states that “Legal departments must establish systems of record and promote technology to facilitate operation, collaboration, automation and insight,” and that, “Organizations that improve their ability to predict and respond to legal and compliance pressures will emerge as leaders in the course of the recovery.” Given our customers’ success implementing SharePoint Online and Colligo as their legal DMS, we couldn’t agree more.

For further information on legal departments moving to the Microsoft Cloud, replacing your legacy in-house legal document management system with SharePoint Online and Colligo Enterprise Suite or customer success stories, view our free recorded webinar or get in touch.


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