The practice of law requires a large amount of documentation. Court documents, business contracts, office memos and archives – all pieces of paper that need to be copied, scanned, printed and filed. This includes everything from small two-page documents to massive, 200+ page contracts. Unfortunately, working with large quantities of documents can be time consuming. Administrative staff may spend hours away from their daily tasks filing, sorting or hunting down the right document. Ultimately, costs add up with all of this time spent physically managing your documents.
At a certain point, a formal, electronic document management system becomes beneficial. Maybe you reach that point when one of your employees has to spend hours looking for a lost document. Or, maybe it happens when you spend 10 minutes while with a client, awkwardly searching for the right contract. These problems, and many more, can be eliminated with the implementation of a document management system.
Many law firms are not using the best file management system for their business. In many firms, that system is a physical paper file storage system containing years of client documents, petitions, contracts and more.
Finding the correct documentation should take seconds, not minutes or hours. While change can be challenging, switching to an effective document management system doesn't have to be. In the long run, the improvements are what will be remembered.
Consider Your Needs
When you are ready to consider a document management system for your law firm, first assess your unique needs. For example:
• How quickly do you need to be able to retrieve documents?
• What kind of documents are you retrieving?
• How long do you need to keep documents archived?
Once you've answered these questions, you'll have a better idea as to what an effective document management solution will look like for you. One effective solution we’ve seen implemented in law firms is M-Files.
The M-Files Solution
The M-Files application works by allowing you to find documents based on metadata, rather than your current method of searching through network folders or paper folders.
For example, let's say your law firm has been doing business with the same client for nearly a decade; endless hours have been spent pouring through contracts and ensuring that all of the i's are dotted and t's are crossed. Now, you need to retrieve a document from a couple of years ago regarding a particular case. Traditionally, retrieving the file could be challenging because of the number of documents associated with this client.
With M-Files, searching for the document by its metadata, such as client name, case number, opposing firm or case date, makes it much easier to locate quickly. You are able to find the information based on what it is and not where you stored it.
The Results of Effective Document Management
Document management that once took 15 minutes or more only takes seconds once the proper system is in place. Your law firm will be able to respond much quicker, reducing staff inefficiencies and allowing you to serve your clients more effectively.
Document Management Systems for Law Firms
Proper document management may not be considered the most exciting business topic. However, if you think about it – document management consumes a significant part of every single day you do business. The proper document management system effectively reduces time wasted inefficiently handling documents.
Request a document management consultation and talk with a specialist about the solution that is right for your firm.