Brachers Law Firm Chooses OnePlace Collaboration & Content for Efficient, Integrated Matter Management
When Brachers wanted to provide its lawyers with a more agile and efficient way of handling matter management, the law firm looked to OnePlace Content & Collaboration for a flexible integration between systems and improved visibility across client matters at any point in time, from document management to finances and client portals.
Founded in 1895, Brachers is a full-service law firm based in Kent, England, serving private and corporate clients in the local community. It employs around 200 people and operates from four offices in Maidstone and Canterbury.
With a focus on excellence in business management and client experience, Brachers has been driving an ambitious project focused on the digitalization and integration of technology. The project, led by Chief Operating Officer Tom Hall and the firm’s IT committee, has already created a more agile and efficient way of working for the firm’s staff, with streamlined processes and improved accessibility for clients.
Brachers has long understood the need to adapt, due to the changing nature of the workplace as well as a shift in customer attitudes towards accessing and purchasing services. The firm’s latest IT project set out to remove historical barriers to improving efficiencies and to support more effective operations.
The Vision for Integration
The foundations for digital advancement were already in place when Hall joined Brachers in 2018. At the time, plans were being rolled out to equip people with Microsoft Surface Pro portable devices and to migrate day-to-day data, tools, and processes from on-premises servers to Microsoft 365 and Azure.
The goal was to create a more seamlessly connected firm, increasing agility and enabling secure remote access to the latest matter content from any location — whether at home, on site with a client, or at a court hearing.
Hall and the IT committee looked to expand this vision beyond hardware and the traditional Microsoft 365 office applications to encompass how the firm might fully leverage its Microsoft 365 license. Fundamental to achieving this goal was a closer integration between systems and a clearer visibility across client matters at any point in time, from document management to finances and client portals.
The team had a clear vision of creating a single pane through which the entire firm could manage matters and access information, but first it needed to address the disparate, disconnected systems that stood in the way.
“We had one of the top three practice management systems; the core financial capabilities were very good,” Hall notes. “But the ability to work seamlessly across different systems was a struggle. The setup was quite clunky, relying on traditional legacy, on-premises infrastructure. We wanted to better leverage the firm’s Microsoft investment and make people more mobile by adopting a cloud-first strategy. We also wanted to create something unique to Brachers, in terms of matter management.”
A Plan to Maximize the Firm’s Microsoft Investment
A major goal of Brachers’ strategy was to enable the secure sharing of client documents. Yet, when the IT team surveyed the established legal document management systems, it was concerned about cost and the scope to customize the functionality.
“As we were already paying for document storage with Microsoft, it didn’t make sense to double up with a separate repository,” Hall explains. “Microsoft products are already so integral to our lawyers’ work, so our view was: Why not leverage the licenses we’re already paying for?”
Hall suggested the team evaluate OnePlace Collaboration & Content from Intapp. The software enables document management natively within Microsoft 365 via a layer of legal functionality on top of popular Microsoft applications, including Outlook, SharePoint, and Teams.
“This was a young and evolving product that would give us 80% of what we needed without having to unpick everything we already had,” Hall says.
The firm encountered a further challenge: To replace its on-premises document management system, which also served as its CRM and intake tool, Brachers would need an onboarding and CRM system to open matters and to provide control and risk management.
The team also had their eye on Intapp OnePlace, a connected firm management solution. To better understand the potential to combine a number of Intapp products with the firm’s chosen practice management system, they called a meeting and invited the legal technology consultancy Pinnacle and OnePlace Collaboration & Content team.
Tight Integration and End-to-End Visibility
The firm’s preferred to deploy best-of-breed capabilities. Intapp OnePlace, along with Intapp Integrate, provides a simple, straightforward way to create and manage data communications across a variety of software systems, to enable a tightly connected firm. The Intapp platform offered a powerful and practical alternative to single specialist solutions that claim to do everything. “We wanted each application to play to its strengths,” Hall notes.
The fact that OnePlace Collaboration & Content is part of the larger Intapp OnePlace connected firm management platform further strengthened its appeal, broadening the possibilities for seamless matter management and data sharing. “We see great synergy [in the Intapp platform] and we can only benefit from a more unified way of working,” Hall says.
Brachers now uses OnePlace Collaboration & Content to store client documents, allowing structured filing and access via Microsoft SharePoint in a controlled, secure, and consistent manner with the option to take documents offline as needed. “From a lawyer’s perspective, we’re also starting to use the system as a single pane of glass for our lawyers to navigate other systems, including Intapp CRM, Aderant financials and Perfect Portal,” Hall adds.
“This gives us a clear line of sight right across all matter activity,” Hall continues. “One of the great advantages of the [OnePlace Collaboration & Content] solution is that the software is very flexible. We can use the My Matters window and simply add to that, using the matter number as the common denominator. [OnePlace Collaboration & Content] has the potential to become that central hub; that common place to go.”
The potential for future expansion is considerable, too, Hall notes. “The fact that [OnePlace Collaboration & Content] can give us client document sharing and collaboration, in different forms — something clients are beginning to ask for — is transformational.
“The [OnePlace Collaboration & Content] system is really powerful — it’s awesome at what it does,” Hall continues. “It’s so adaptable and malleable, which means we can make it what we want and need it to be. It’s evolved so quickly already, and the development team is fantastic at listening to what we need and promptly building that feedback into new enhancements. That’s a level of responsiveness and agility you just don’t get with the big legal software specialists: It’s a genuine partnership. If we’d chosen to go with a big legal DMS provider, we wouldn’t have what we need — or we would have had to pay through the nose for it.
“Ultimately, we needed this project to support our overarching commitment to delivering the best service to our clients,” Hall concludes. “We knew that, to achieve this, our investment in technology would need to focus on driving efficiencies for our staff — making life simple, having a single pane of glass, and so on. For us, it’s the integration between preferred systems that’s key. Intapp and its impressive product suite positions us perfectly for that.”
Brachers, a full-service law firm in the U.K., chose OnePlace Collaboration & Content from Intapp to provide its lawyers with a more agile and efficient way of handling matter management. As a result, the firm can store client documents and allow their structured filing and access via Microsoft SharePoint, in a controlled, secure, and consistent manner with the option to take documents offline as needed.
- Struggled to work seamlessly across different systems via a clunky setup that relied on legacy, on-premises infrastructure
- Wanted to leverage the firm’s Microsoft 365 license to its full potential
- Needed to move to the cloud to help lawyers be more mobile
Results with Intapp
- Enabled native document management with Microsoft 365: The software provides a layer of legal functionality on top of popular Microsoft applications, including Outlook, SharePoint, and Teams.
- Created a single pane of glass for firm lawyers: OnePlace Collaboration & Content helps staff navigate to other firm systems and get a clear line of sight into all matters.
- Focused on connected firm management with Intapp OnePlace: The software offers a simple, straightforward way to create and manage data communications across a variety of software systems.