The legal profession’s move to the cloud has been a slow transition, in large part due to fears about control and security. In no sector has this been more true than among the world’s largest law firms.

It is therefore notable that Hogan Lovells, which The National Law Journal ranked in 2017 as the world’s fourth largest law firm in lawyer headcount, and which has more than 7,000 legal professionals in 49 offices, today announced that it has moved to cloud-based NetDocuments as its document management platform.

In a press release announcing the move, Ash Banerjee, Global CIO at Hogan Lovells, said:

Replacing our two document management systems with one global platform to leverage our worldwide network and improve our client service is a key part of our strategy. We believe the NetDocuments platform to be a modern and feature-rich platform that delivers on our current and future business requirements.

In a blog post today, Alvin Tedjamulia, chief technology officer at NetDocuments, said that many factors played into Hogan Lovells’ decision to go with NetDocuments, including the product’s maturity, scalability, and business focus on Software-as-a-Service and multi-tenancy.

But he says the move has broader importance for the legal market in that it reflects cloud acceptance by a global firm.

According to ILTA’s 2017 Technology Survey, 77% of firms with ‘700 or more attorneys’ indicated increased cloud technology adoption for 2018. In terms of barriers to cloud adoption, these same firms are a lot less concerned about cloud security, cloud reliability and management acceptance of cloud technology. The legal cloud computing is no longer focused on why? But rather how? And how deep? We have collectively come a long way from 1999 and NetDocuments 1.0.

Tedjamulia also said that this demonstrates that cloud providers may be best suited to address the challenges firms face around compliance, especially in the face of the GDPR. “Law Firms like Hogan Lovells are positioned to challenge the legacy practice of having multiple DM collections in multiple independent libraries as the only way to comply with data location requirements,” he said.

 

The California investment firm Clearlake Capital Group yesterday announced that it has acquired NetDocuments, the cloud-based document and email management company that specializes in serving law firms and corporate legal departments.

Clearlake is purchasing the stock of NetDocuments’ previous investor, Frontier Capital, for undisclosed terms. The acquisition is being done in partnership with the current NetDocuments management team, who will maintain “significant ownership.” The company will continue to be led by its current CEO, Matt Duncan, and CTO, Alvin Tedjamulia, and they will both join the board of directors.

Frontier had invested $25 million in NetDocuments in 2014 and named Duncan as the CEO. Duncan is the son of the company’s former CEO, Kenneth W. Duncan, who founded the company in 1999.

Clearlake’s announcement describes NetDocuments as the “only cloud-first and cloud-native content management solution purpose-built for the legal industry.” It says that the platform is used in more than 140 countries and by over 20 percent of Am Law 200 law firms, as well as numerous corporations and legal departments.

The founders of NetDocuments had previously founded SoftSolutions in the 1980s, a document management system that achieved wide popularity among law firms. In 1994, WordPerfect acquired SoftSolutions. The next year, Novell acquired WordPerfect and discontinued SoftSolutions as a product, although it incorporated much of its technology into its GroupWise product.

Kenneth Duncan and Tedjamulia, who had also been a founder of SoftSolutions, then founded NetDocuments as one of the first cloud-based document management systems.

In January 2015, the company acquired Recommind’s Decisiv search and enterprise email management system.

Clearlake is a private investment firm whose core sectors are software and technology, industrials and energy, and consumers. Its varied investments include the apparel site Bluefly, the communications provider ConvergeOne, the energy services companies Globe Energy Services and IronGate Energy Services, the hot tub company Jacuzzi, to the data-processing company Syncsort.

choose file type
NetDocuments
, the cloud-based document and email management platform for law firms and corporate legal departments, today announced its integration with Microsoft Office 365. The integration allows users to create or open Word, Excel or PowerPoint files stored in NetDocuments using Office Online web apps or Office mobile apps, and then save them back to NetDocuments without using OneDrive.

NetDocuments users will also need an Office 365 subscription to take advantage of the integration.

editor

The integration offers users the advantage of incorporating NetDocuments’ security and information governance initiatives, by keeping content centralized in the firm’s DMS, while also allowing them to securely interact with Office 365, and to do all of this via the cloud, so they can work from any device.

Key functionalities of the integration, according to a NetDocuments announcement, include:

  • Work within Office applications from any browser and any device, including the ability to open, edit and create from any iOS device.
  • Collaborate with real-time co-authoring and editing capabilities, eliminating the need to check documents in and out.
  • Maintain a consistent interface regardless of location or device.
  • Benefit from improved security and compliance by keeping documents within the DMS while using Office 365 applications.

The integration allows users to both edit and create Office documents from within NetDocuments. To edit a Word document, the user would right click on the document name within NetDocuments and select Open > Microsoft [Word] Online. The document will open in the Office Online app directly, in a separate browser tab, and be checked out in NetDocuments.

To create a document, the user would select New in the upper left corner of the NetDocuments web interface, give the document a name, select the Office format, choose a filing location, and then click OK. The new document will open in the Office app directly and be checked out in NetDocuments.

Of course, some document information is shared between NetDocuments and Microsoft in connection with the integration. A support article explains that both user metadata and document content flow through the Office Online servers.

“This data lives in memory and travels back and forth between Office Online and NetDocuments through HTTPS,” the article says. “Office Online goes to great lengths to scrub all personally identifying information (PII) from its logs. This scrubbing process is regularly audited to ensure Office Online is compliant with several different privacy standards such as FedRamp in the USA.”

Read the support article for more information on data sharing and also on using the new integration.