A good iManage Workspace name makes it easier to
- organize lists
- distinguish individual results
- build better search criteria.
As a law firm generates dozens or hundreds or thousands of workspaces, it’s best to establish a thoughtful workspace naming convention and stick with it.
Next: organize, distinguish, and search more efficiently with your naming convention. Plus: links to other workspace and folder articles you might enjoy.
Organize: use sorting to group by client
Consider using workspace names that start with the client, so that in FileSite, workspaces for the same client will be grouped together by Outlook’s alphabetic sort.
Name or number? I’ve heard many times ‘our lawyers/attorneys don’t use the client numbers’ but that’s always in firms where the numbers haven’t been visible regularly. Give it a try.
There are no technical drawbacks to using a workspace naming convention that starts out with the client number and full client name, except for the usability concern of using lengthy descriptions (number – name) at the front of the workspace name.
Short is beautiful
Display space is limited within FileSite (specifically, the Outlook Navigation Pane). Unless the Navigation Pane is made quite wide, the back part of some/all Workspace Names will be hidden.
To be user-friendly: the front, visible part of a Workspace Name should be unique. Sorry, color-coding is not an option.
The key benefit of the numbered approach is that a client number is a more space-efficient format than the client name. If you are concerned about screen real estate, using the number is a superior approach most of the time. To illustrate, here are two possible workspace names for Matter number 00002 named MACDONALD ST. LANDS, which belongs to Client number 000888, which is called First Canadian Place Regus Suite 3700.
First Canadian Place Regus Suite 3700 - MACDONALD ST. LANDS 000888 - MACDONALD ST. LANDS
FileSite sometimes shows workspace name and folder name together. If the workspace name is too long, you cannot see the folder name at all.
As seen in the preceding example, it’s natural to separate the client information from the matter information. The less verbose, the better: space is limited. With that in mind, avoid using a word such as:
Punctuation is more efficient, preferably the type that does not need space before and after.. A dash – is well known. A period is simple, but might already be at the end of a client name (ltd. inc. etc.). Sometimes a single space will be fine too.
Caveat: workspace names should not use the slash character “/” if you can help it. Certainly do not use it in standard workspace name layouts: it causes usability problems when typed in some scenarios. The slash character is treated specially by different areas on the WorkSite clients, like Express Search and the EMM toolbar. It’s interpreted as a folder separator – automatically activating the next level down of folders.
That being said, if “/” is part of an existing client or matter name, it’s probably less disruption to leave those as they are.
It’s a suggestion, not a law
A workspace name is just the starting point. Both My Matters and My Favourites allow you to rename the shortcut. This custom renaming can address any inconsistency that displeases a particular individual – whether that’s a preference for client abbreviations, or matter nicknames, etc. As part of business process, we recommended that workspace naming (within the lawyer’s My Matters) can be managed by assistants to best match the lawyer’s needs.
Search: bad browse habits
One lawyer complained that a new name layout would make it even harder to pick out a single workspace from a list of results, or the recent matter worklist.
Regarding reading lists of matter names a year from now: Users can and should search for workspaces rather than manually reading names of dozens or hundreds of workspaces.
FileSite provides workspace search using the client or matter name as well as numbers. With the First Canadian Place example, the user can type First Canadian into the Client field, or the workspace Name field, or the Description field. Because you’ve searched only for that client, there’s no need to look for the client name within the workspace name.
Making a change
If you are changing from a prior naming convention, or introducing the first standard naming convention, there are migration concerns you might raise: the new names may be different, the sorting order may be different, and new habits may need to form for quick recognition of names.
Sorting: yes, old and new active matters of the same client may sort to different areas of My Matters (assuming this is a change to WorkSite’s naming convention). However, this is a temporary condition until the old matters become inactive, after which everything would be using the (improved) new format.
If you’re referring to a lawyer browsing through his own My Matters, if it’s an uncategorized list, the old workspaces would all still be sorted near the bottom as ‘First Canadian Place Regus Suite 3700 etc etc’ while newer ones would be at the top of the same list, numerically grouped under ‘000888,’ the client number for First Canadian Place Regus Suite 3700.
The old workspaces could be renamed to follow the new standard, but only undertake the extra work if it’s really desired.
Looking for more?
Try these other articles in the Cersys Blog:
- Personal Workspaces – when it’s just my stuff
- Order, order: Forcing the sort of Folders (and Workspaces)
- My Matters Cleanup – if a naming convention isn’t what you needed, perhaps it’s just too many shortcuts
- Tired of telling that colleague how to find the workspace? Mail him a link to the workspace
- Workspace categories – design tips to narrow your search
- Most recent top tech posts