Michael Nogroski, Director of Knowledge Management, and Angie Massani, Project Manager, explain how Chapman and Cutler use HighQ Collaborate to provide simple access to closing sets, manage transactional deals, and provide portfolio matter management to clients.
Chapman and Cutler is a Chicago-based law firm with 235 attorneys in offices across the United States.
The challenge: Adding collaboration to document management
Chapman and Cutler sought a suite of collaboration features that could supplement their in-house document management system. Michael Nogroski, Director of Knowledge Management at the firm, explained the problem with their legacy system for sharing documents: “Our previous system for sharing documents online with clients lacked features. We couldn’t customise it to the full extent that our attorneys and clients wanted and we couldn’t expand collaboration concepts beyond basic document distribution. It also lacked the depth of tracking and usage analytics that administrators needed, and meant that we had to go through our IT department for everything.”
Nogroski knew what he was looking for from the outset. “Based on our current needs we wanted a collaboration platform that we didn’t have to build ourselves. I’ve dealt with other collaboration platforms in the past, mainly SharePoint, so I’m aware of how much time and energy is required in setting in-house systems up and maintaining them.”
“At Chapman and Cutler we were looking to find a system that could get us to where we needed to be right away rather than having to build our own,” he said.
The solution: A customisable out-of-the-box collaboration platform
Nogroski came across HighQ and was impressed by the product and business model. “I had seen HighQ at conferences and exhibitions and had been speaking to their representatives for some time,” Nogroski explains. “I had always been interested in HighQ Collaborate, and finally felt that the time was right to try it out.”
Chapman and Cutler evaluated other tools while they were considering HighQ Collaborate, but chose HighQ based on the company’s commitment to constantly improving the product. “I was impressed by the roadmap for HighQ Collaborate,” Nogroski said. “Seeing the continued commitment to developing the platform was compelling to me. It isn’t just a system sitting on the shelf, it has momentum. It’s great to see a company moving on an upward trajectory, keeping pace with changes in business and technology.”
The firm very quickly began to use the system once it was implemented. Nogroski explained the ways in which the firm is using it: “So far we’ve been using Collaborate as a secure site to house closing materials for large deals. But we’re also using the iSheets module for different transaction management solutions. We’ve set up some advanced and sophisticated iSheets with checklists and workflows for tracking details.”
Although they are still adjusting to using the platform, Nogroski described how Chapman and Cutler is venturing into other modules of Collaborate too. “We’re looking to use the wiki and blog modules, but we’re planning to rename them and use them as web publishing rather than peer document creation modules,” he explained. “We intend to use these modules like project microsites based around certain topics or practice groups.”
“It’s great to see a company moving on an upward trajectory, keeping pace with changes in business and technology.”
Michael Nogroski, Director of Knowledge Management
The result: Putting control in the users’ hands
Although Chapman and Cutler had not yet formally launched HighQ Collaborate firm-wide, Nogroski reported a positive reception from early adopters so far: “We’re in the process of preparing for a firm-wide roll-out of the platform but we’re getting a lot of traction already. Adoption rates have been good among the attorneys we’ve got using it so far, and we’re already seeing some inventive uses of the platform.”
Nogroski states that a key benefit of Collaborate is that users can create solutions themselves without having to rely on administrators or wait on IT resources. “We’ve been able to train assistants at the firm on how to administer sites. This takes the workload off us, and because it’s such a straightforward platform they generally require very little training.”
Angie Massani, Project Manager at the firm and a member of the Knowledge Management team is also involved in the rollout of HighQ Collaborate. Massani described her experience so far: “I am really enjoying getting to grips with the platform. It’s easy for me to understand how it works as I’ve had experience using collaboration platforms in the past, but none have been as straightforward as HighQ Collaborate.”
“I’ve had experience using collaboration platforms in the past, but none have been as straightforward as HighQ Collaborate.”
Angie Massani, Project Manager
Nogroski explained how his team are getting the platform ready for the rest of the firm: “We’ve had good feedback from our users so far but we’ve also had to go back to the table on a few things with how we’ve structured the sites for certain projects. The flexibility of the platform enables us to change this easily so we’re currently tweaking it to get it how we want it before our wider launch.”
He went on to describe the support offered by HighQ’s team: “The support team are very responsive and always great about getting back to us. With a bit of help from them, we are able to do some sophisticated things with the platform, such as creating advanced transactional solutions using the iSheets module.”
iSheets have been worth the effort, explained Nogroski: “It has been a learning curve to build these iSheets solutions but we’ve shown them to other practice groups and they’re keenly interested. They want to start tracking information around their deals and we’re eager to get them started.”
Conclusion: Building relationships and boosting engagement
HighQ Collaborate has enabled individuals at Chapman and Cutler to work collaboratively with one another and take control of their business processes. “We’ve got flexibility with our documents now, and the ability to tailor the platform to meet our needs. We can set up our document folders to mirror the outline of closing agendas; something that saves us time and makes working much easier.”
Massani was excited about how the use of Collaborate would evolve. She said, “I often make enhancements and suggestions to HighQ about what I would like to see in future versions of the platform. Some of our requests have been addressed and included already. It’s great to feel listened to and know that things we’re suggesting are being incorporated. We’re excited about the roadmaps for new releases.”
Nogroski described his plans for the future of Collaborate at Chapman and Cutler. “We’ve got grand ideas with iSheets and are already trying to explore ways we can extend matter management and communicate information to clients in clever ways that more effectively integrate our clients into the work itself.”
HighQ (highq.com) is a leading provider of secure document exchange and team collaboration software. We provide innovative collaboration and publishing products to some of the world’s leading law firms, investment banks and corporations. We uniquely combine secure, enterprise-grade document management with the best corporate social tools. Now you can securely exchange critical business information and collaborate with colleagues, customers and partners in one unified space.
About Chapman and Cutler
Chapman and Cutler (www.chapman.com) is a law firm focused on finance, representing financial institutions and other entities seeking and providing financing. The firm’s practice areas include banking, bankruptcy, restructuring and workouts, commercial litigation, corporate finance, corporate securities, investment companies, public finance, securitization and structured finance, taxation and ERISA, and trusts and estates. The firm has offices in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Washington D.C., and Salt Lake City.