Obtaining the desired outcome for a client is the number one goal of any law firm. So how can law offices save time and money – while protecting client data in the process?
Which industry generates more documents, files and paper than the legal industry? Probably none.
When stakeholders in law offices come together to review all the documents related to a client, and collaborate via snail mail, email, conference calls and webinars, there is ample opportunity for lost files, files getting into the wrong hands, and breaches of security. Not to mention the time wasted locating and accessing vital information, managing various file types, sharing copies with other offices and downloading, saving, printing and storing all of this paper.
In a recent report, “Protecting Client Confidences in a Digital Age: The Case of the NSA,” legal practices are urged to let go of the “file cabinet” which can no longer contain all relevant and rapid communications and information, and look for another secure solution:
“Today, the protection of confidential information is considerably more difficult. Lawyers store a range of information in the “cloud” as well as on smart phones, laptops, flash drives, and law firm networks. Information that should remain confidential can easily be lost or stolen, hacked, inadvertently sent, intercepted while in transit, and even accessed without permission by foreign governments or the National Security Agency (NSA). Put simply, the duty of confidentiality is now a lot more complicated than knowing how to use a lock and key.”
There is a better way – and more and more law firms are turning to legal document management software to streamline document processes, reduce errors and protect sensitive information. Without a large upfront investment, law practices can benefit from added security and operational efficiency – from one central location.
Here are just a few ways document management systems can help a legal practice:
Efficiently Access Complete Client Files
Instead of printing out paper email, depositions and other required collateral, document management systems can be used to securely scan, capture and store all case files, along with critical electronic files, allowing for quick and easy document retrieval… without ever leaving your desk.
Files are not only stored, but can be searched via key word for easy retrieval. Gone are the days of wasting time reading a deposition transcript. All types of files can be stored and retrieved from one system, regardless of location. All parties with the right security level can access critical files – making collaboration easier, and saving time and money related to printing and mailing.
Streamline Version Control
Legal Document Management Software utilizes authentication with time and date stamps for each and every file. With all information for a case stored in one central location, employees can quickly and accurately respond to requests from courts or clients – with the most up to date version. Files are in a time-stamped order – creating a timeline associated with a particular case.
Various parties can add to, update and edit files from any location, ensuring a complete file for each and every party who needs access.
Manage Document Security
Without needing to physically share paper files, practices can virtually eliminate document loss by providing a central, electronic repository for all records. With controlled access to files anytime, anywhere, you can monitor document access and retrieval with a complete audit trail. Large case files are shared securely over the Internet with complete encryption and protection.
Document Retention Policies can be set to auto-destroy or place in review folder, and document freezes can also be applied when necessary.
Simplify Court Filing
Since everything is in one location, case files can be filed electronically with federal and accessible state court systems. Many document management systems integrate seamlessly with case management software products, eliminating the need for manual data entry.
Reduced Storage Costs
According to Aberdeen Group, 20 standard file cabinets cost an average of $58,270 every year by the time you factor in all the costs associated with it – paper, files, time to file a document, time to find a misfiled document and time to reproduce missing documents – not to mention the cost of storage space.
Not only can law practices reduce storage costs, they can also communicate more efficiently and protect sensitive data at the same time.
With the proliferation of new technologies and an increasingly mobile workforce, those practices that can assure clients of their technological savvy and stringent security policies will ease the burden for staff and clients alike, spending less time and money on administrative overhead, and more on resolving the case.
Download a Free Document Management White Paper
Want to learn more about how document management software can help you reduce costs, ensure secure access to information and streamline your processes? Download a free report from Aberdeen Group (a $399 value!) today!