Running a busy law practice is not easy. No one knows the importance of saving time and finding documents quickly better than a legal professional.
Stringent deadlines, client meetings, hearings, and long working hours mean their time is invaluable and irreplaceable. And a law firm's document burden can be overwhelming for both lawyers and their support staff.
Law firms face unique challenges related to data security and compliance requirements. Ever-changing compliance requirements, the need for strict confidentiality, and the risk of reputational damage in the event of ransomware attacks are enough to give them sleepless nights.
In this article, we look at the document management requirements of small law firms and how to choose the right law firm document management software.
Does my law firm really need document management software?
Manual filing systems are no longer enough, even for small law firms.
If you have any doubts about whether your law firm needs to upgrade to a document management system, here are some points to ponder:
Are your clients' documents stored on old or outdated filing systems that have become unmanageable?
Sometimes, the sheer volume of documents and emails or even an idiosyncratic method of filing can make it hard to find previous materials, get up to speed on the status of a matter or share an important document with clients. An automated system to manage documents, with features including version control and secure document sharing, is the need of the hour.
Are you struggling with inefficient client email management?
Manual email filing is time-consuming and hurts productivity. Besides, when you have to wade through multiple email threads to find a reference, you realize the need for an automated system for email searching.
Do news reports of ransomware attacks on law firms make you worry about data security?
A robust document management system has stringent access controls that prevent a data breach or an accidental disclosure of privileged information that may violate professional standards.
Are legacy on-premises document management systems holding back your law firm's efficiency and growth?
A modern cloud-based document management system eliminates the hassles and costs of on-prem IT infrastructure and helps your firm scale easily and cost-effectively.
Is the new hybrid structure of your law firm creating gaps in the flow of information and documents?
A DMS supports hybrid work and improves team delegation and collaboration. It offers version history for all client documents, making it easier to view edits made by others and potentially revert to earlier versions.
Ultimately, having a state-of-the-art document management solution that is compliant and efficient improves your law firm's reputation. Clients like to see law firms equipped with up-to-date technology, as this makes their services more efficient and cost-effective.
Keep your content safe, organized, compliant, and always available
Law practice has always been document-intensive. There are vital client documents, memos, filings, contracts, and internal HR and partnership materials. Every document must be stored safely and made accessible to the right team members at a moment's notice. Moreover, the firm must ensure that sensitive client information is secure.
NetDocuments is a trusted content management platform that delivers an average 99.99% uptime for over 3,600+ legal firms and departments and helps secure sensitive content.
Key document management features & their benefits
Moving from a manual paper filing system or simple document filing and storage system to a specialized legal document management system (DMS) like NetDocuments can bring your law firm dramatic benefits:
Centralized, searchable digital document repository
Your team members no longer have to search through dozens of folders to locate a single document. They can access it at the click of a mouse from any device, from anywhere. There's less time wasted on looking for and collecting documents.
Cloud-based, remote & mobile access to documents
With a reliable DMS, your legal team will never be stuck without the information they need for a meeting or hearing. Digital documents can be electronically created, approved, signed, and shared efficiently and quickly. Law firms realize that cloud-based access is the best option for their most critical documents. Collaboration tools like MS Teams, legal case management software, and other office productivity apps can be integrated with your DMS to enhance team efficiency.
Guaranteed security & industry compliance
Loss of information or data leaks are a law firm's worst nightmare. Remote work and document sharing using unprotected devices and apps pose security challenges, especially for small law firms. A DMS with user authentication, secure logins, and audit trails keeps the risk at bay. Automated security updates give your staff peace of mind and ensure your compliance requirements are not compromised.
Automated backups, system updates & zero downtime
A DMS drives productivity so a small team can get more done in less time. Automated features eliminate manual errors and save time and effort. Digital documents improve remote client collaboration and transparency, bringing a better experience to your clients.
5 tips for choosing the right law firm document management software
Choosing the right DMS for your law firm can be confusing.
Many different types of document management tools are available, and sifting through all the features, security options, and pricing can be quite a task. Whether you're installing a DMS for the first time or upgrading from an older one, it's a decision you don't want to take lightly.
So, ensure you ask the right questions to find a DMS suited for your law firm:
1. Look for a DMS that's used extensively in the legal industry
Generic content management systems have out-of-the-box features and may not be geared for the specific functionality that your law firm needs. Customization may be expensive and, most importantly, time-consuming. That's why LexCloud.ca recommends a specialized legal DMS like NetDocuments.
2. Check if the DMS is an on-prem or cloud-based application
Your law firm will now have to increasingly deal with distributed teams and remote collaboration requirements with clients—so a cloud-based DMS is what you need. NetDocuments is the leading cloud document management system (DMS) for law firms.
3. Ensure that the DMS offers advanced security features to meet professional obligations for your law firm
The NetDocuments content platform boasts award-winning security that extends to any device, ensures you remain compliant, and protects your information from internal and external threats.
4. Evaluate if the DMS has smart email filing and advanced OCR functionality
NetDocuments uses optical character recognition (OCR) to automatically digitize and index documents and images. It speeds up your document searches, ensuring that every piece of content added to your NetDocuments platform becomes easily searchable.
Smart email filing automatically suggests locations to file email based on your history. With a simple click you can accept a suggestion and move on with your work. You can also enable conversation filing, so that future emails in the conversation are automatically filed to the right matter.
The automated process saves time and reduces the risk of misfiling important information.
5. Does the DMS have screaming-fast search functionality?
Time is money in the legal profession. When preparing for a client meeting or a hearing, you don't have time to waste searching for documents; you need a robust search function that finds what you need in seconds, not minutes. NetDocuments features an advanced, lightning-fast search backed by accurate indexing so you can search by names, case numbers, key phrases and more.
LexCloud.ca: Legal technology powered by cloud
LexCloud.ca works with small to medium law firms, empowering them with a range of cloud-based legal tech solutions that improve productivity, enable remote collaboration, and manage costs.
A DMS is a critical system for law firms, and LexCloud.ca recommends only the best, specialized legal document management software solution.
NetDocuments brings the full power of your law firm's collective knowledge and past work into a central digital repository hosted on private cloud, so it is secure and available to your team wherever or whenever they need it.
Connect with LexCloud.ca, and we'll be happy to set up a consultation to show you how a robust law firm document management software can eliminate many of your document woes.