A Case of Collaborative E-mail

By Dennis McCafferty Print this article Print

Document and content management often involves the transformation of paper files into a digital format. But it also encompasses areas such as security, disaster recovery, collaboration, e-discovery and printer management.

A Case of Collaborative E-mail

From simple fender-benders to boat fires to building damage claims, Vancouver-based Whitelaw Twining is a law firm that specializes in insurance cases. As the IT manager, Richard Giroux would often be the one who’d have to tell lawyers they had too many e-mails in their in-box, given that some lawyers would literally store tens of thousands of e-mails about pending cases.

That’s why Giroux convinced the firm to deploy Novell’s Groupwise, which allows teams of lawyers who are working on the same case to more easily share information via e-mail communications. Essentially, an e-mail dealing with a particular legal dispute is coded by the dispute’s case number. Then, all e-mails associated with the case are stored in a central file that can be accessed only by Whitelaw Twining staffers who are working on that case.

Because these e-mails are in separate folders that are designated by case number, they also use less server space than they would if they were stored in the staffers’ general in-boxes. And, once the case is closed, all the e-mails are offloaded onto a compact disk.

“This allows teams to work together as a group and know what every member of the team is doing without having to talk to each other,” Giroux says. “Typically, they’d have to create a Word document to track the progress of a case, but that kind of document would need a lot of management.

“In our business, you don’t get paid for managing cases. You get paid for working the cases. And this system allows our staff to spend more time working the cases.”

This article was originally published on 2009-09-04
Dennis McCafferty is a freelance writer for Baseline Magazine.
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