Stikeman Elliott

Stikeman Elliott Completes Technology Transformation to iManage Work 10 with Traveling Coaches

Stikeman Elliott LLP recently transitioned its technology platforms and upgraded the firm’s eight offices and more than 1,200 employees to a brand-new desktop, including iManage Work 10 (document management), Office 2016 and Windows 10. While this innovative use of technology played a pivotal role in the firm’s commitment to client responsiveness, efficiency and security, there was some concern over the amount of change required by the project.


Stikeman Elliott, recognized as Corporate Law Firm of the Year for 2019 by Best Lawyers, is a global leader in Canadian business law and the first call for businesses working in and with Canada. The firm provides its clients with the highest quality counsel, strategic advice and creative solutions across eight offices worldwide in Toronto, Montréal, Ottawa, Calgary, Vancouver, New York, London and Sydney.

“This was a true transformation for the way lawyers manage their documents, and we knew Work 10 would allow them to collaborate in a more efficient, matter-centric way to the benefit of our clients,” explained Derek Cullen, CIO for Stikeman Elliott. “Adding deployment of Windows 10/Office2016 to this project increased the complexity and the scope of change, but it had to be done. We had to rip the band-aid off in one go. While we were confident in the technology, we knew that change management would be challenging.”

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In fact, Stikeman Elliott would be the first firm of its size to roll out iManage Work 10. With its matter-centric functionality, user-friendliness and web-based interface, Work 10 would provide the firm with a far more modern and collaborative experience than its legacy document management solution.

The firm began its transformation by searching for a change management partner who could provide the strategic guidance necessary to ensure rapid adoption of these new technologies with minimal disruption to the lawyers and firm members. After reviewing options, the firm selected Traveling Coaches.


“Traveling Coaches is the authority on guiding people through large-scale change. We worked with them before and knew they have extensive industry knowledge and expertise. No other organization has their depth of knowledge and breadth of experience, and iManage recommended Traveling Coaches,” shared Stikeman Elliott’s CIO. “That served as a validation of our choice.”

Traveling Coaches has advised on projects for numerous large law firms and corporate legal departments working with iManage Work 10, and they had extensive experience working with multiple internal and external stakeholders for Stikeman Elliott’s project.

After careful evaluation and consultation, Traveling Coaches determined the ideal pathway to navigate change management that included user adoption and communication consulting sessions; ongoing coaching services on user adoption strategies and resistance; learning strategies; user adoption materials; and training via floor support, onsite workshops and eLearning.


“Traveling Coaches had a lot of excellent input and tools when it came to change management, including methodology, training, curriculum and communications. They gave us a variety of suggestions for engaging our stakeholders and involving people outside of IT in the project. Their partnership was invaluable in our efforts to prepare the firm for this large-scale change,” commented Cullen.

Identifying a successful approach for change management was an essential part of the process. Throughout full-day user adoption and communication consulting sessions, Traveling Coaches and the firm decided on a strategy that:

  • Appealed to and involved all firm members;

  • Included clear, concise, open and targeted communications; and

  • Emphasized the ease of use and simplicity of the new technologies.


This approach would allow the firm to drastically raise awareness around why the changes were happening and why lawyers and firm members should engage with the process. Traveling Coaches developed personas based on different roles within the firm, how they worked and how they liked to learn. With these personas, Traveling Coaches could appeal to every user.

“The Traveling Coaches team was a critical component to our firm’s change management experience and to the project’s overall success. Their expertise on the people side of change, their knowledge of the technologies we were implementing, especially iManage Work 10, and their commitment to excellence made this a successful rollout,” explained Cullen.

The personal touches, as well as innovative suggestions such as gamification in learning sessions, created 100% participation in training before go-live.

“People were thirsty for knowledge and that says a lot about the effective communications, software and learning options,” said Cullen. “Traveling Coaches did a phenomenal job training, and their trainers were extremely knowledgeable. They offered ideas we hadn’t thought of before. The whole model they brought in gave us ‘a-ha moments.’ For example, they recommended that coaches who train also provide floor support so that users would be familiar with them. They also authored and facilitated a variety of popular workshops. These were great ideas that we loved and benefited from.”


As Stikeman Elliott began rolling out the new technologies in each office, Traveling Coaches provided onsite floor support to help its users. 

“The floor support was key to the success of this project,” described Cullen. “They knew what they were doing, had professional demeanors, were very flexible and did not get flustered by user questions. They operated like part of our team, walking the floors, comparing notes and trading knowledge tips and user feedback. We had one large team making rounds on the floor. People would see a trainer every five minutes, and that made this rollout a success. Everyone knew help was close by.”

 One tactic in particular impressed Cullen.

“Traveling Coaches had these red and green cards. They put the cards on door handles for assistants. If floor support saw a red card, they would stop and help. Simple and effective,” he commented.

Another contributor to the overall success hinged on Traveling Coaches’ high level of responsiveness. The Traveling Coaches team would adapt in the moment to meet the needs of Stikeman Elliot users, tailoring real-time reporting into additions for the training curriculum. This innovative use of technology enhanced the response time and heightened the team’s ability to provide excellent client service. Users immediately felt that their voices were heard.

Cullen considers the transformational rollout very successful.

“This project was a major undertaking that resulted in a brand-new desktop, document management moved to iManage Work 10 in the cloud, and updated policies to reflect our introduction of matter centricity. Traveling Coaches was with us throughout our journey, providing user adoption strategy sessions, IT support staff preparation, train the trainer, user training and floor support, file guide development, project management, and Office 2016 and Work 10 user adoption materials. They were instrumental in building awareness and desire, providing knowledge and ability, and reinforcing the lessons learned,” he shared.

Cullen continued: “Every single vendor and every member of the team internally and externally played a key role in the success of the project. I got great feedback about Traveling Coaches and their style and knowledge. They were extremely well-received. It has been a pleasure to work with such a talented team who were invested in our success every step of the way.On the Monday post-migration, people were working away with not one person saying they couldn’t get their job done.”