Personal Files – a WorkSite Workspace for everyone and everything

Personal Files – a WorkSite Workspace for everyone and everything

file it somewhere

Need a place for everything

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a document within a Matter Centric DMS must be stored in a single workspace, and that each workspace is in need of exactly one Matter number. (Hat-tip to Jane Austen.)

No document without a workspace is a fine aphorism to apply to the management of documents for law practice, but there are several ‘personal’ categories of content that do not properly belong to a billable matter or project workspace.  These may be administrative emails for an individual, personal reference material, or even content that should be filed with a billable matter, but for logistical reasons that matter workspace is not yet ready for content.

In order to provide a home for this other content, we recommend the use of personal workspaces associated with their own unique client and matter, just as billable matter workspaces are.


  • Background 1: items (e.g. email and documents) stored in WorkSite are always associated with a ‘workspace’ which takes care of assigning the correct client and matter to those items. A document lives in a workspace -> a workspace is identified with a client and matter number == the document is identified with that client and matter number.
  • Background 2: The vast majority of workspaces will be used for the billable legal matters, provided via the main integration with the financial system. However, there should also be a workspace for each person, so that he or she can save non-matter-related-content. These personal workspaces can also be very useful for storing initial inquiries from an existing client about opening up a new matter.

Structure of a Personal Workspace in iManage WorkSite

Based on the types of information that fall into the ‘personal’ category, Cersys’s best practice for personal workspace structure is as follows:

  • It should have a correspondence folder – named according to the expected pattern based on Send-and-File.
  • It should have a ‘Pending’ folder – for keeping billable-matter-related content temporarily while you wait a few hours or a day for the workspace to be created.
  • It should have a folder for other ‘personal’ content, but none of it related to billable matters.
  • Consider having a folder for personal precedent material… although workflows and processes around precedents are a weighty topic of their own.

Personal workspaces should belong to a workspace category  that distinguishes them clearly from other types of matters. The workspace itself should have a naming convention that makes it easy to distinguish visibly from billable matters such as a will or tax return.

Guidelines should be established so that the retention policy is aligned with how people are expected to use that workspace.

Potential Processes

Assuming that you can easily automate the query to create the ‘new workspaces’ list for personal matters, I do recommend scheduling a job for personal workspace creation. If the job is automated, you won’t have to do this extra work to set up a workspace for every new employee.

  • If the matter IDs originate in the financial system, they therefore will be imported with the rest of the core data via clload. See CS-362 Server – Client and Matter import
  • If there are fewer than 100 users in the firm, and if it has been decided not to put these IDs into the financial system, the IDs can be maintained in a simple text file on a restricted-access shared network folder.

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