Nelson Mullins Centralizes Matter Management and Content Organization in Microsoft Teams
Major U.S. law firm Nelson Mullins deploys Intapp Workspaces to deliver matter centricity, privacy control, and governance as Microsoft Teams becomes the firm’s default work environment.
Headquartered in Columbia, South Carolina, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP is an Am Law 100 firm, employing 800 lawyers and professionals across 26 offices in 11 states plus Washington, D.C. The firm provides advice and counsel within more than 100 practice areas to private individuals and large businesses across a broad range of specialties.
Seeking Better Matter Support for Microsoft Teams
Nelson Mullins recently deployed Microsoft 365 and sought to use Microsoft Teams as its key to coordinating matter management, knowledge sharing, and client collaboration, all in one place. The firm’s IT team — which strives to stay 6 to 12 months ahead of the needs of its users — had already identified the transformative potential of Microsoft Teams before the COVID-19 pandemic struck. But Microsoft Teams’ lack of inherent support for matter-centric ways of working and organizing content posed a problem. When the impacts of the pandemic triggered increased demand for people to work from home, activating the transition to Microsoft Teams became more urgent.
"We had been a Skype environment previously, and wanted to move to Teams for all aspects of communication anyway, having rolled out Microsoft 365 across the firm," explained David Worth, Nelson Mullins’ CIO. "But the difficulty was that Teams doesn’t have matter-centricity built in. To get buy-in from our lawyers and prevent chaos as they tried to organize and find the right Teams for collaboration by client or matter, we needed a more intuitive and controlled user experience."
Optimizing Matter Capabilities for Teams
Thankfully, the right product to help better facilitate content organization already existed in the market. A trusted legal industry-focused management consulting firm — which had been providing consultancy to Nelson Mullins — suggested Intapp Workspaces to help the firm get the most out of its existing Microsoft 365 investment. The software, part of the OnePlace Collaboration & Content suite, runs natively in Microsoft 365 and provides optimized matter-centric capabilities and controls for Microsoft Teams in a familiar user experience.
"As well as offering all the controls and functionality we needed as a law firm, and that user-friendly experience to keep our professionals happy, the company brought that depth of experience of working with law firms, that understanding of our needs, and that ability to talk our language," Worth notes.
"Importantly, it also readily integrates with NetDocs and other document management systems; with Aderant, our practice management system; and our ethical walls solution. In other words, they were able to cater to everything we needed."
Reducing Email Reliance
The software’s content management, governance, and privacy controls are important as Nelson Mullins pursues its wider goals — to make Teams the place where client matter management and file-sharing happens, giving professionals a single window on their work and reducing email reliance.
"Although the initial motivation for moving to Teams was for communications — chat, conference-calling, and screen-sharing — we soon realized the scope to do so much more with it, and this software will help us realize that,” David said. “We’re an Outlook shop, and traditionally lawyers’ work is dominated by email, but Teams is shifting that paradigm."
"I also see Teams become a quasi-replacement for intranets, supported by [Intapp] technology. With direct integration with our DMS and even our financial system, our people will be able to ‘live’ in Teams and do everything from there. What’s great is that we have the right set-up with this software suite, and the right advisors around us to work out how to make that look and feel."
Transforming Knowledge Sharing Across All Offices
Once the implementation is complete, more than 1,600 professionals will use Intapp Workspaces across Nelson Mullins’ national operations. "People are beating down my door to get access to this, and that demand is ubiquitous across the firm — something I haven’t witnessed before in my 30-year tenure," Worth noted. "Rolling out [this software], by practice area, will be our biggest project for this year."
"This is a chance to transform knowledge-sharing across our 26 offices," Worth continued. "When this is done, our professionals will have one place to share knowledge and experiences, and will be able to find and consume what they need when they need to. I see Teams, optimized by [this software], as the first real collaboration platform for law firms. It will be our lawyers first real opportunity to collaborate with clients, too, without the need to build an extranet, which would be a lot of work. It will make them more nimble and able to address clients’ needs more swiftly."
"[Intapp Workspaces] is our ‘Easy’ button, "Worth concluded. "As CIO, I don’t have to worry about figuring out how to manage the archiving or compliance, as this suite takes all of that pain away. The company is so aligned with us, it’s fantastic. They understand our goals and are providing excellent guidance. Taking this forward is proving a very enjoyable experience."
Nelson Mullins, an Am Law 100 law firm with 26 offices across the East Coast and Southeastern U.S. — uses Intapp Collaboration & Content to centralize matter management and content organization across all of its offices via Microsoft Teams. As a result, firm lawyers have one place to share knowledge and experiences with optimized matter-centric capabilities and controls for Microsoft Teams in a familiar user experience.
- A lack of support for matter-centric ways of working and organizing content prevented the firm from adopting Microsoft Teams as its primary communications environment.
- Lawyers and professionals lacked a unified location for sharing knowledge, and struggled to find and organize workspaces and information.
Results with Intapp
- Provides a familiar, intuitive user experience for firm professionals: The suite lets professionals work in a recognizable and comfortable environment, running purpose-built, matter-centric workspaces natively in Microsoft 365 — software the firm had already rolled out to its professionals.
- Integrates with existing firm systems: The solution helps professionals access relevant information directly within Microsoft Teams, connecting with the firm’s DMS, practice management system, financial system, and ethical walls solutions.
- Enables matter lifecycle management: The software simplifies IT control over Microsoft Teams deployment, including automated content retention and archiving.