Summary of ILTACON Session 2246: “Making Microsoft Teams Work for the Legal World” 

At ILTACON, I moderated Session 2246, “Making Microsoft Teams Work for the Legal World.” The room Asbury Hall in the Yacht and Boat Club sat about 300 people. We filled just about every seat and had folks standing along 3 of the 4 walls. It was a packed house, and the draw was a combination of the very hot topic of Teams in legal and the esteemed speakers we had on the panel. In addition to myself, we had the following speakers:

  • Torie Carrillo – Applications Manager @ Nelson Mullins
  • Tina Harkins – Director of Product Management @ Litera
  • Myka Hopgood – Senior Director, Legal Innovation @ Dykema
  • Nick Pogvara – Product Manager @ iManage

We covered a lot of ground in the session, but I’ll summarize some key points and takeaways. I would encourage you to download a copy of the deck using the link as it might be helpful.

Presentation link:

We discussed these 5 main categories in the session:

  1. Information Architecture
  2. Security & Compliance
  3. Retention
  4. Collaboration
  5. Client/Matter Specifics

Tina kicked off the session by talking through slide 3 which covers why a firm might want to use Microsoft Teams. She listed out the strengths and challenges of Teams in legal and provided color around each of them. As some of you might know, there are some hard limits in Teams, and knowing what they are and planning around them will help avoid issues. Torie walked everyone through which limitations Nelson Mullins ran into on slides 4 & and 5 with the hope of providing fodder for the planning discussions firms might have around their Teams strategy. The deck included the link below as a reference for the limitations within Teams.

Teams Limits:

Before I dove into the pie chart on slide 6, I took a poll by asking for a show of hands of all the firms who are considering using Teams as a client extranet. Surprisingly only about half the folks in the room raised their hand. Infodash commissioned a study in which 40 Am Law and Global 100 firms were asked basically the same question and 89% indicated interest. Nick and I pointed out the possibility that law firm clients ask that firms use THEIR Teams tenant if the firm doesn’t provide the capability to share theirs. This brings up several potential issues around control and custody of work product that no firm wants to contend with. So, if you’re not thinking about using Teams to collaborate with clients it might be worth doing so before clients start making the request.

Nick painted a high-level picture of the vendor landscape on slide 8 and the short story there is that there are several legal-specific vendors (including Infodash, Litera, and iManage) that provide capabilities that can help firms use and manage Teams. There are also non-legal vendors who do the same, but challenges with the industry agnostic approach were discussed. Torie and Myka continued the governance discussion on slide 9 by discussing the implications of how Teams uses SharePoint underneath the covers and that even if you change the name of a team down the road the original name stays embedded in the URL. 

The fact that Nelson Mullins puts a 3-day retention policy on chats and Dykema uses a 7-day policy was discussed and the difference between chats and posts was pointed out. Tina showed us some ways to embed external systems in Teams as tabs and shared a few screenshots demonstrating that concept on slides 10 and 11. Torie gave us a sneak peek at the Intapp Workspaces interface they use at her firm on slide 12 and showed us how she uses the tool to provision teams.

There was a group discussion on slide 14 regarding considerations with external users, ethical walls, check-in/out, etc.  Nick chimed in with some of the differences between using the web and Windows version of the iManage client to do edits and how they impact check-ins/outs. He continued the discussion on slide 18 with an explanation of the different ways in which documents can flow in/out of Teams from the DMS and some of the challenges with each approach. I rounded out the presentation with some screenshots of sample client/matter pages from Infodash and showed what a user profile page might look like.

If you’re interested in learning more about Teams in legal, check out my conversation with Joe Davis from Davis Wright Tremaine on The Future of Teams in Legal on Infodash’s Legal Innovation Spotlight podcast below!

Legal Innovation Spotlight: Episode 01. The Future of Teams in Legal with Joe Davis:

Comments are closed.