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An Effective Document Management System Is Critical For Every Legal Firm
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All legal firms use documents – lots of them. In fact, just about everything involves documents – briefs, contracts, emails, letters, photos, pleadings, and more. Thus it is essential to have a document management system which can organise, secure, and find all the documents together with other information such as who has accessed them and when, or who has made an alteration.
An effective document management system can result in the use of considerably less paper in your office, although it has to be said that, for a law firm, going entirely paperless is almost impossible. If your firm has been in business for any length of time you will likely have filing cabinet upon filing cabinet of documents, and scanning all those documents and converting them to an electronic file would be an unwelcome task. The aim of introducing a document management system should be to reduce the amount of paper for all future cases, only digitizing older files as and when they are used or accessed in the ordinary course of business.
Using email folders is not a good way to manage documents because it means that other people who need access are unable to do so easily, and this can lead to servers getting clogged up. By using a proper document management system you can organise all your files and folders – whether they are documents, electronic media, email, or more – in such a way that they can be accessed easily be everyone with authority to do so.
There is probably not a lawyer in the world who has not at one time or another lost a document. You know that it exists, but somebody filed it incorrectly so for all practical purposes it’s missing in action. It could be anywhere. You need to get all your documents organised, and you also need a search system which is powerful and fast. Now you don’t need to remember a complex system of folders to locate the document you need. You only require a few pieces of data and the programme will quickly locate it for you.
How do you currently send documents to clients? Sending them as an attachment to an email is very easy and quick to do, yet it is fraught with danger. If the attached document is sent to the wrong person (it happens!) there is no way that you can get it back. It is bad enough if the document does not contain any confidential information, but if it does you could be in serious trouble.
Using a document management system also makes it easy for different people to work on them. Instead of emailing them backwards and forwards everyone can access the documents in one place and work on the same file instead of having various versions of the document all over the place. Your document management system will keep track of all the various updates so that when you need to access it you will know that it is the correct document and the latest version.
Sending documents to clients is also much simpler when you have a document management system as part of a law firm case management system. Using a client portal to send and receive documents to and from clients is quick and easy, and above all it is secure. It requires authentication of the recipient in order to retrieve the document and gives you total control over who has access to it. With a full trail of the document’s life cycle you can see everything that has happened to it such as who accessed it and when, whether any changes were made to it and by whom, who downloaded a copy, and more.
Furthermore, a good document management system gives you complete control over who can access the document, who is allowed to read it or edit it, or even delete it. This also means that all documents are safe because you know that employees cannot access or make use of confidential information.
A standardised document management system is one of the best investments you can make. It keeps your firm organised and you know that all of your documents are secure.
Resource Box: DPS Software is the leading legal software development company in the UK and has been providing software for over 30 years. Today, the company is used by over 700 client firms which between them have over 18,000 individual users. They also deal in law firm case management system.
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