How much time do attorneys in your law firm spend on creating, organizing, and searching legal documents in a day? A week? You may not be aware of it, but your law firm is at risk of incurring financial losses. Non-billable work such as these incur time. Moreover, poor document management is highly possible by just using the operating system’s default file manager.
When you use your default file manager, you only have access to very rudimentary file creation, search, and management. In many cases, using your default file manager is similar to “manually” managing your documents. You need to create files, put these files in folders and subfolders, which you’ll then have to click through in order to retrieve said files when you need them.
This is only one of the many challenges in managing legal documents.
To paint a clearer picture, imagine organizing thousands of folders and subfolders containing various files for each case and client, not to mention other pertinent documents such as for billing and correspondence. Now, imagine that you need a specific file for a case. If you’re using the computer’s default file manager, you’ll need to either manually click through all the folders and subfolders or use an inefficient built-in search function.
Worst case scenario is you end up wasting more time finding the document because it’s been deleted or stored in the wrong folder or incorrectly named.
Document and file tags are used in order to make searching and segregation easier. Again, this sounds relatively quick and easy to do, but when you’re working with hundreds of documents, cases, and clients, tagging documents manually can take hours that could’ve been spent on something more productive and income-generating.
Data breach is, and always will be, an issue for any organization and business that uses computers. With only the default file manager, if an attorney or any authorized staff in your firm fails to place file permissions, anyone who has access to your computer or network will also have access to all these unencrypted, sensitive documents.
These challenges can easily be overcome using legal document management software. Document management software for law firms such as MyCase, Clio, Rubex, Worldox, and AbacusLaw are specifically designed to help law firms become more organized and secure when handling their documents.
Although there are a handful of law firm document management systems and software in the market, they all have common features that can provide the following advantages to your law firm:
Instead of manually creating, formatting, and saving documents, you can create templates in order to quickly make legal documents without wasting any of your valuable time. Legal document management systems generally contain plenty of templates that you can modify to suit your firm’s needs. Moreover, these templates and documents can have their own ‘tags’ (client name, content type, dates, and other notes) to make searching for them so much quicker.
Not only does legal document management software make tagging easier, but their search functions are much more optimized compared to the search and indexing that comes with your computer’s default file manager. These software can also help you filter your search by tags or even through its content via full-text search.
Document management for law firms no longer becomes this tedious and cumbersome process when you use the right software. You won’t have to worry about where each file and folder is stored in your computer as they’re neatly and automatically organized in one place.
In many instances, a legal team will have to collaborate on documents for a certain case and client. Without a legal document management software, this would mean copying and sharing documents through a network or storage medium. This has its own security vulnerabilities, but more on that later. But with the latest legal document management software in the market, a legal team can easily access everything that’s stored on the cloud.
Legal document management software can provide administrative control as to who can access documents, and also allows the logging of document access in order to know which users viewed and edited certain documents. Moreover, database and servers hosting the documents are encrypted to prevent unauthorized access and data breaches. There’s also a backup feature to ensure the safety of these sensitive documents in case of system failure or accidental deletion.
With the myriad of legal document management software options in the market, how do you choose the best one for your firm? Generally, it boils down to the features that your firm needs, but here are a few things that you’d want to keep in mind:
More often than not, when it comes to software, you get what you pay for. Luckily, with the hundreds of companies offering legal document management software and systems, pricing has become more and more competitive. It would be better to focus on the payment plan. Some offer a subscription-based payment plan (monthly or annually) while a few others provide a one-time payment.
Find a company that offers technical support when installing and integrating the system to your law firm’s devices, and ensure that they’re able to provide 24/7 technical troubleshooting services. The last thing you’d want is to have a technical trouble that prevents your firm from accessing your documents and with no one to help you out.
Make sure that the software complies with industry standards and features the latest in encryption technology. Remember that the documents your firm is handling are confidential and privileged, so it’s important to expect the best level of protection from your software provider.
Your software of choice should make it easier for you to open and save documents from your current system’s office applications (i.e., MS Word, Excel, Outlook). That way, you wouldn’t have to worry about migrating to a different office application just to use the document management software.
Lastly, if you’re still having trouble picking a legal document management software for your firm, you can reach out to LegalMatch. We will help you find the tools that our best performing attorneys utilize in their practice.
LegalMatch’s legal marketing services provides member lawyers with excellent lead generation system to ensure a steady flow of local clients. With LegalMatch’s attorney-client matching platform, lawyers are able to obtain relevant information that’s normally acquired during initial consultation. This allows attorneys to assess whether the potential client’s legal concerns fall within their area of expertise even before any actual communication happens.
LegalMatch also offers in-house training for industry best practices. This includes the use of the LegalMatch own web and mobile app, as well as other third-party tools. This includes those used by our best-performing member lawyers such as legal document management software in order to maximize their law firm’s productivity.