CannonDesign builds what it needs—and wants—for its corporate legal department with Legal Files Software


CannonDesign is a global integrated design firm that serves multi-disciplinary clients. A leader in innovation, “CannonDesign” focuses on the health, education, commercial, science and technology, sports and recreation, hospitality and civic markets.

The Challenge

“We were using a different management system, and it wasn’t very user friendly,” explained Associate Darcy Jablonski who works in the company’s legal department. “It was difficult to find things and save items. You would have to completely re-open a closed file just to save one email or document. It was a complicated process.”

Another problem was the system’s lack of flexibility. “We couldn’t customize it to do what we needed,” she said. “Reporting was impossible. We ended up using it just to store our documents.”

The Result

Acknowledging the time and financial commitment that implementing another system would bring, Darcy said there was no hesitancy about the change. “Originally, I thought to myself, well, anything is going to be better than what we have. Once we found Legal Files, the thinking became, I am extremely excited about this. Everyone was.”

Training was “fantastic,” Darcy said. “We had the greatest trainer. She answered any question we had and was always willing to stop training and re-explain things or respond to our emails even after onsite training was completed.”

Legal Files has made it easier for the department to track matters, such as claims or human resource matters. “We essentially open a new file for everything that comes into us. We can capture more information,” Darcy said, “and any information we need is right there.” Reporting is easier too, she said. “If we need to find a certain file number, or how many matters are opened in a certain time period, or just the matters that are specific to one office or come to us from one certain department, Legal Files gives us the tools to do that.”

Legal Files has become essential to the department. “We’re in it all day, every day,” Darcy said.

Documents and Email

Additionally, Legal Files has made document and email management much easier. “It’s easier to search and find what you’re looking for,” Darcy said. “If you need to find a certain word or phrase in an email, or any other document, Legal Files can quickly do that for you. We didn’t have the option before, so you ended up going through email after email, one at a time.”

“Legal Files’ email [functionality] is huge,” Darcy said. “We may open 15 files a day, but we get a hundred emails every day. Before Legal Files,” she continued, “we would go through our sent email folders and then select email one by one that needed to be saved to the system.”

Now Legal Files’ Recent Files List and Drag & Drop within Outlook have changed the game, she said. With Legal Files’ Outlook integration, a Legal Files tab is placed on the user’s Outlook ribbon. Clicking on the tab’s Save button opens a Recent Files List where the user simply selects the matter where the email should be copied, and Legal Files then automatically copies the email (and attachments) to the appropriate file. The integration also provides an interactive Draft & Drop tool where the user simply drags the email(s) to the appropriate matter, and the emails are automatically copied into the system.


The team at CannonDesign worked with Legal Files team members to customize the new system using non-technical tools built within the system’s interface. Customizable items include file menu design, window design, layouts, field labels and even custom windows. “We were able to take out certain tools completely; other tools stayed the same, and we added tools we thought we would help,” Darcy said. “I know Legal Files is considered an off-the shelf product, but we worked together with Legal Files to essentially build our own system,” Associate Vice President & Legal Counsel K. John Bland said, “We never had that kind of input before.”

Unexpected Benefit

“We hadn’t really thought about using Legal Files’ expense tools,” Darcy said. “But it’s fitting in nicely with the company’s overall goal of going paperless. We scan invoices in and then track the invoices within Legal Files. Legal Files is also able to automatically track totals for each matter, and we’ve found that every helpful.”


As far as Legal Files support goes, Darcy said, “Our IT is just happy to talk to a real person. Legal Files has always been quite responsive and we’ve never had any issues with our questions being ignored.”