Marshall Dennehey on the cutting edge of document search with contentCrawler

Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin is one of the country’s leading civil defense litigation law firms with more than 470 attorneys representing clients in all manner of civil litigation. Headquartered in Philadelphia, with 19 additional offices located throughout Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Florida, the firm is vigilant in seeking out the latest technological resources to enhance its client service capabilities.

The business challenge

Imperative to this goal is the ability of attorneys to be able to search the company’s vast repositories of documents to gain immediate access to any and all information that could have relevance or bearing to a case. The firm’s Document Management System, Autonomy iManage, provided substantial document search capabilities, yet the firm suspected it contained some aspects of non-searchable content. A complimentary audit performed by DocsCorp’s contentCrawler confirmed suspicions and provided Marshall Dennehey with the necessary information to tackle and solve the problem.

Document Management Systems (DMS) and Enterprise Content Management (ECM) repositories typically contain non-searchable content. The problem for a law firm is that it can be difficult to determine to what extent the content is non-searchable as well as the economies involved in resolving the situation. The contentCrawler audit tool can provide IT departments with a snapshot of their content repository, and with the numbers to build the business case for solving the problem. Additionally, it integrates with many popular ECM’s and DMS’s including Autonomy iManage, OpenText eDOCS DM, ProLaw, Worldox, Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft Windows file systems.

Lisa Ruane, Marshall Dennehey’s Manager of Application Services, first heard about contentCrawler at an International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) conference two years ago. She was intrigued by the product’s capabilities and compelled at the thought of gaining access to content that had previously been “non-searchable.” She decided to move forward with DocsCorp’s complimentary contentCrawler audit.

Results of the audit illustrated that utilizing contentCrawler would enhance the firm’s document search capabilities. It became evident that while the firm could control and manage image-based PDF documents generated within the firm, documents received by parties from outside the firm posed the challenge. “We can control the OCR (optical character recognition) workflow on documents generated internally, but there was no tool or workflow to automatically capture and convert image-based documents from outside sources and profile them into iManage,” Lisa explained.

Our solution

Following the audit, Lisa shared the results and her recommendations with her team in Marshall Dennehey’s IT Department. She liked the fact that it was easy to use and came with administrative and reporting capabilities. She was happy with the test crawls, particularly the option to have contentCrawler simply add a text layer to the original image-based document.

contentCrawler can be run as an automated end-to-end process or manually with built-in “Hold for Review” stages. In its pilot program, Marshall Dennehey chose to run contentCrawler as an automated process on one year of legacy documents in the firm’s Philadelphia headquarters office.

contentCrawler assessed the documents in Autonomy iManage, ignoring ones that had a text layer, or had been identified as having little text. Documents were converted to text-searchable PDFs and automatically saved back into iManage. Documents that had been previously non-searchable in their DMS or universal search application were now being indexed and viewable in searches by lawyers at the firm.

Other benefits

The Marshall Dennehey story is not atypical. For many law firms, the issue of non-searchable content is real and relevant. Specifically, there are two distinct problem areas: legacy documents and new documents. contentCrawler was built to address both. It can run in either, or both, modes: Convert Backlog (legacy documents) or Active Monitoring (just profiled).

New documents often get profiled in a content repository through a variety of workflow options. Email attachments saved to the DMS, legacy documents, documents ingested from acquisitions and imported litigation files are often loaded into the DMS in bulk. Under contentCrawler’s Active Monitoring and Convert Backlog modes, these documents are automatically identified, processed and saved back into the DMS, ready to be indexed by a law firm’s search technology.

In summary

As is typical with many law firms, Marshall Dennehey was aware that its Autonomy iManage DMS contained some non-searchable content. Running the contentCrawler audit tool provided the firm with the information needed to address and resolve the issue.

The firm purchased contentCrawler licenses to crawl their Autonomy iManage libraries, converting recently profiled and legacy documents to text-searchable PDFs. These previously non-searchable documents were then indexed in their DMS as well as in their enterprise search tool.

Marshall Dennehey is now replicating the solution in all of their offices.

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