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Weil, Gotshal & Manges
 

At Weil Gotshal & Manges, the world's tenth largest law firm, it's not unusual for one large case to involve up to 1,000 boxes of documents. That staggering statistic motivated the firm to adopt an electronic imaging system in early 1994, and to purchase a CD\DVD jukebox six months later.

After first implementing a small, proprietary, stand-alone system, Todd Mattson, director of practice systems, began looking for a high-volume, robust storage and archival system that could serve information across the network. The firm's network consists of Pentium systems, 486s, and two document imaging servers, all on a Token Ring Novell network. Mattson and his team selected a CD\DVD-based solution for writing, archiving and storing critical data at the firm because of its compatibility with the network. They selected the NSM system from DISC because of the company's reputation in the legal circles for quality products and for taking care of its customers.

Mattson's team works closely with senior lawyers and clients to strategize the information access requirements for each new case. The team spends a week to a month planning how they will manage all the documents involved for a large case. They determine which documents will be needed and who will need to access them, and then scan these documents on a case-by-case basis.

A lawyer himself, Mattson describes himself as "part of a growing group of lawyers who recognize that the business is changing." Technology, he believes, will change the legal business in much the same way it has changed industries such as banking and air travel. "Traditionally, lawyers used paralegals to wade through piles of discovery documents until the information is found," Mattson explained. "With the CD\DVD library, the lawyer searches through an on-line database index, locates the document by title and date, and pulls its image up on the computer screen in less than 10 seconds. That's not bad."

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