Are you running a legal firm? If so, then you probably know how hard it is to manage paper and digital documents here and there. And not to mention, you sometimes get lost while finding the information you need, significantly wasting your time.
It’s due to a lack of proper legal document management. Without it, you’re putting your legal firm at risk, negatively affecting its efficiency when handling multiple tasks at the same time. It’s why it’s important to understand what legal document management is.
In this guide, you’ll discover everything you need to know about legal document management. That includes its basic definition, key features, and importance in legal firms. So, feel free to scroll your buttons and read below to learn more.
What Is Legal Document Management?
As the name implies, legal document management is the practice of handling and storing legal documents. These may include letters, emails, reports, notices, licenses, and contracts.
As you know, law firms deal with a vast ocean of paper-based and digital documents. So, they need an efficient system to help keep, secure, manage and track their files and documents.
What Are The Features Of Legal Document Management?
An effective legal document management system consists of features to track the status of every document, from its creation to its storage and retrieval. Here are some of them you might want to consider when establishing a compelling legal document management system:
Legal document storage is a place where you can store your documents in an effective and organized manner. It can be on-premise or off-site, depending on the needs of a legal firm. On-premise document storage includes hard drives and file cabinets for digital and paper-intensive documents within the business property. And off-site document storage stores documents in a facility outside your premises—hence the name, including physical storage facilities and cloud-based storage solutions.
Regardless, storage solutions should be protected from natural disasters (fire, flood, etc.) and cybersecurity issues (data breaches, threats, etc.).
Legal document management should comply with multiple agencies and government policies. It’s a must to promote data privacy and protection, regardless of on-site or off-site storage solutions. Thus, failure to do so may result in legal consequences.
- Efficient Search And Retrieval Of Documents
Legal document management should allow you to search and retrieve documents without a fuss. With this, you’ll be more productive and efficient when working and dealing with multiple documents at the same time. And it can be achieved through a robust file organization or logical file naming system.
It’s a crucial feature of an effective legal document system. With this, you’ll be able to keep track of multiple versions of a specific document, as well as determine those responsible for editing that particular document.
Integration is the process of using multiple software solutions under one roof. It’s like a bridge between different tools, allowing you to be more time-wise and productive. Ensure your document management software can fully integrate with the tools you often use in your day-to-day operations.
A legal document management system that doesn’t allow file sharing and collaboration is nothing but useless. You know how important it is for a file to be easily shared between multiple users and departments. So, make sure that your legal document management system uses tools that promote efficient file sharing and collaboration.
Is Document Management Different From Document Storage?
Many people are often confused with document management and document storage. But to clarify any confusion, is there any difference between the two? Well, there is. Document management is much more compared to document storage, and here’s why:
It’s a place where you can store your files for later use. In short, it’s all but a cabinet filled with documents and files—no more, no less. Some examples of document storage are cloud drives, hard drives, and physical file organizers.
Furthermore, document storage is passive. And there’s nothing you can do while your files are stored under their system aside from saving, retrieving, viewing, and editing them.
If document storage is a passive way to handle your files, then document management is its active counterpart. It uses a wide array of tools to make, manage, and organize multiple documents at the touch of a button. In short, it can execute the tasks document storage could not.
Here are the things you can do with document management:
- View, edit, and restore recently deleted documents
- Create multiple versions of a similar document
- Restrict others from making changes to your documents
Why Is Legal Document Management Important?
Handling a wide range of files and documents is crucial to all lawyers, regardless of specialization. That’s why an efficient legal document management system is important. With this, lawyers like you will be able to work productively, efficiently, and securely.
Without a legal document management system in place, such unfortunate situations are bound to happen:
- Information Gets Lost: Without a document management system, say goodbye to some of your important documents. It can be impossible to find the file you need in a vast sea of documents. It’d be like finding a needle in a haystack.
- Lack Of Space: If your storage space easily gets full, that’s probably because you lack a document management system. It would cost your firm a hefty amount of dollars in the long run since you don’t have a choice but to buy more space.
- Productivity Stops: If you can search and retrieve the documents you need in a matter of seconds, then you’ll be just wasting your time, energy, and resources. One cannot be productive without a document management system in place. So, before you start working, invest your time developing and implementing one for your team.
Legal document management helps lawyers and law firms handle their files and documents effectively and efficiently. Without it, they won’t be able to work as productively as possible. And they’re bound to cause errors that would put their careers at risk. Therefore, be sure to have a compelling legal document management system before you start your journey to the legal realm.