CASE STUDY

Duane Morris LLP

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Duane Morris Consolidated Firm-wide Docketing

Evolving from a partnership of prominent lawyers in Philadelphia a century ago, Duane Morris’ modern organization stretches from the U.S. to Europe and the Middle East, and now across Asia. Today, the firm has more than 800 attorneys.  Throughout this global expansion, Duane Morris has remained committed to preserving its collegial, collaborative culture that has attracted many talented attorneys.

The Goal

To become efficient and consistent, Duane Morris had to find a cutting-edge solution to consolidate separate docketing and calendaring systems into a single unified rules-based docketing platform, while eliminating the need to enter data manually across systems. 

American LegalNet was the only vendor that had a single product – eDockets – that included all the criteria our firm needed, providing universal access to court dates and court rules from all jurisdictions we currently had available, plus expanded our selection by an additional 200+ court rule sets.

Lisa Vessels, RP, CP, FRP, Firm Docket Manager

The Situation

With 1300 users across 22 offices, Duane Morris had enormous docketing volume to manage. The firm took a decentralized approach, asking attorneys, paralegals and legal assistants to handle their own docketing. These professionals relied on various software applications to complete their tasks effectively.

There were 3 different docketing software systems – one for New York, a second for Chicago, and third for all other offices. The New York and Chicago systems required subscriptions for access to court dates, and then manual data entry into the third system to sync dates with Outlook. Although the third system did integrate with Outlook, it was no longer competitive, state-of-the-art technology.

One critical objective was to convert all docketing data into SQL formatted language. Some applications had docket feeds, others did not. Some of the legacy data was in “static” form—unstructured, not in columns/rows. It was crucial to convert not only the raw data, but also associated items like reminder flags.

We find it to be intuitive and user-friendly. I used to spend six to eight hours with the previous software to complete rules updates, and now it only takes 15 minutes.

John Sroka, CIO at Duane Morris LLP

The Plan

American LegalNet launched an extensive 6-week pilot installation with 25 users across 7 different offices. Positive results and feedback led to a decision to greenlight the solution. A firm-wide implementation occurred in phases: New York data first, then Chicago, and the remaining 20 offices launched once users were trained. Each phase took 4-6 weeks. Adding to the complexity, the project had to be completed in a scheduled open window during a major phone installation project.

Duane Morris purchased all modules of eDockets for a complete enterprise implementation.

Product
Features
eDockets
Main module with 1,700+ rule sets
Auto Docket
Automated federal court downloads from PACER & NYSCEF
Docket Direct
Automated court docket feeds from New York and Chicago state, and federal court systems. Directly sync into Outlook through eDockets
iManage FileSite
Integration of all attachments to calendar events

American LegalNet engineers quickly put my worries to rest. Even after the first data conversion in New York, I was amazed at how clean the data was, accurately capturing the minutiae of rules-based docketing, including capturing of all reminder flags.

Lisa Vessels, RP, CP, FRP, Firm Docket Manager

The Result

American LegalNet’s conversion of data from three legacy systems into the eDocket system was seamless. The data set was huge—over 1 million transactions. The nested event hierarchy within each docket set, tracked movements of dates, multiple reminders, team changes, etc. were all precisely captured by the analysts performing the conversion into eDockets. The conversion was so seamless that users could barely decipher the converted data from the native data.  All the data in the final conversion was completed with a week to spare.

The eDockets product suite from American LegalNet allowed the firm to consolidate multiple regional software products into one single national platform with regional support. With eDockets, Duane Morris can now communicate with one platform and use that platform across jurisdictions to manage information about court actions and deadlines.

The eDockets reporting functionality was new for the firm and provided users the ability to run their own reports or look at individual events for a specific attorney or whole group. Extensive automated reports are now delivered by email automatically on a set schedule and can be customized.

In addition, eDockets offered new features and attachments to events to make it easy for attorneys who are not using the software directly. eDockets has a hyperlink in the appointments section of Outlook that allows attorneys to see additional event details, such as how the rules calculations were determined. The software then calculates the deadlines for them.

American LegalNet is always ready to go above and beyond.  ALN was challenged by a firm partner who wanted a special feature within his reports that mimicked what he had been using in the old software. So, while the eDockets implementation was ongoing, ALN found a third-party software provider to develop a method to accommodate the request.

American LegalNet has continued to provide us with unique solutions that have had an outstanding impact on our firm’s day-to-day activities. The entire team has delivered on all their promises and exceeded our expectations. Today, all our eDockets users at Duane Morris could not be happier with the American LegalNet product.

John Sroka, CIO

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