Microsoft 365’s Growing Dominance in Law Firms & Legal Departments

Last Updated on April 12, 2024 Sarah Gayda

Third-party capture solution needed as email remains primary method for sharing client files & case matter

The Colligo team recently held a webinar, SharePoint + Colligo as your legal Document Management System (DMS). We’re proud to be a new ILTA365 member and lunged at the opportunity to provide an overview of the Colligo application suite for Microsoft 365. While Microsoft is incredibly scalable and powerful out-of-the-box, this typically only gets firms halfway; firms require a third-party solution to create a more complete document management system, and that’s where Colligo comes in.

We conducted several participant polls during the webinar that delivered insightful results. In this summary of legal and IT professional responses to our survey questions, we discovered that Microsoft 365 continues to increase its presence in legal departments and law firms, email remains the incumbent method for sending and receiving client files and case matter, and time and effort remains the biggest inertia factor to adopting a more modern system. You can also view the full webinar here.

1. Microsoft 365 continues to gain share as the repository of choice for legal firms and corporate counsel

Microsoft 365 continues to become more dominant as the corporate and legal firm repository of choice as firms move from dedicated legal document management systems and other legacy systems to a more horizontal and modern suite in Microsoft 365. Almost a third of attendees responded that they are using Microsoft 365 (or Office 365) at their firm or in their department. With the rapid shift to the cloud, accelerated by the pandemic, we anticipate Microsoft 365 will continue to have a greater presence in the document management world for legal professionals.

While Microsoft 365, which includes SharePoint out-of-the-box, provides tremendous functionality and scalability as a storage solution and content hub, it only gets you halfway to a complete document management system (DMS) and requires further integration. Colligo’s Content Manager for Microsoft 365, essentially a lightweight DMS, plus SharePoint provide a more complete DMS for legal professionals. Colligo harnesses the power of SharePoint and provides a more intuitive and vertical-specific interface for professionals to get more out of their Microsoft 365 investment.

Colligo Webinar Poll Results – June 2021

2. Time savings with an email capture solution are significant

Email remains the dominant method for sharing client files and transmitting documents. 59% of webinar attendees responded that their primary method of sharing client files and transmitting documents/case matter was through email. This comes despite the significant rise of communication applications (i.e., Teams or Slack), and this remains true in the legal profession.

Case matter and other documents often contain sensitive and confidential content that needs to be tagged and filed, retained, and labelled correctly to protect it. Email remains the best way to do this, in our view, though we do see Teams taking up a greater portion of document collaboration over time. Unfortunately, tagging has historically been a process filled with friction, which accounts for the lower adoption and upkeep by lawyers and legal operations/assistants.

We believe utilizing an email management solution to help capture and tag content and better link with the repository can make a significant difference in the workflows and efficiency of legal professionals.

Colligo Webinar Poll Results – June 2021

One-third of all respondents at another recent webinar indicated they take more than three minutes, on average, to file an email without a solution like Colligo. Not only do knowledge workers spend too much time searching for content (according to McKinsey, employees spend 1.8 hours a day, nearly 20 percent of their work week, searching for documents), but also filing, capturing, and tagging emails and records. Fortunately, this is a core problem that Email Manager and Content Manager solve. Colligo significantly reduces the time users spend filing emails and properly tagging emails with metadata and retention labels, and ensures valuable documents end up in the right place.

The legal landscape is changing. Law firms and corporate legal departments are leveraging more technology to improve efficiency and manage costs. Our aim is to move discovering content and properly filing content from a cost centre into a profit centre; saving legal professionals time managing content and finding documents, while expanding billable time.

3. Time and effort remain the greatest hurdle

Change management continues to be the largest hurdle to adopting Microsoft 365 and other modern work applications. Time/effort was the most common challenge seen by our webinar attendees to modernizing their systems, closely followed by resistance to change.

Colligo Webinar Poll Results – June 2021

Fortunately, modern cloud-based applications make deploying new solutions easy. Many applications can be deployed and pushed out in less than 15 minutes. While the migration to a modern system still requires a significant lift, there are many partners and industry experts available in the Microsoft ecosystem who can help make this seamless.

We wake up every day thinking about how to make legal professionals’ daily business processes more efficient and productive. Colligo sees more of the legal profession adopting cloud solutions over the next few years and anticipates Microsoft 365 will continue to gain traction as the content services platform of choice. However, to create a complete solution, legal firms need third-party solutions like Colligo’s Content Manager and Email Manager to round out a lightweight document management system. View the full webinar for more.


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