Knowledge Center

DMS for Law Firms

              What is different about document management software (DMS) for law firms and corporate legal departments? It is important to understand why it is needed for your legal-based environment. It comes as no surprise that attorneys and related workers are known as “knowledge workers”. They have a common challenge: how to work productively with a profusion of work that is in MS Word, MS Excel, MS Outlook, Adobe PDF files. The time and effort to find and retrieve documents can be significant without a highly efficient organization and retrieval system. A good DMS enables streamlined efforts with advanced information management capabilities. Ultimately, a good Legal DMS allows knowledge workers to be more productive.

              In a Legal DMS, documents are usually organized by cases, or client-matters. Additional document attributes include chronology, topic, practice area, document type, or other keywords. These document attributes are “Metadata” which is data that describes information about other data. The metadata associated with documents stored in the DMs provide key details allowing easy access for subsequent searching. A knowledge worker captures metadata classification by “tagging” data of each document while being stored, optimizing workflow and efficiency. A good DMS will make this metadata capture full-featured and streamlined, typically using ‘Profile forms’ or folder hierarchies as shown here:

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              For example, an attorney needs to access a will that was stored several years ago. With a DMS, he or she has the ability to execute a search utilizing metadata such as client name, a type of will, date of document creation, name of the author, most recent editor, or the dates of last edits. The attorney may also use a full-text search, an essential part of DMS functionality that uses multiple phrases or keywords to pinpoint exactly where the document is located. Full-text queries perform linguistic searches (aka, Boolean searches) against text data in full-text indexes by operating on simple words, phrases or multiple forms of a word or phrase. With multiple ways to classify, describe and organize documents, losing files becomes a problem of the past. Another important functionality a DMS provides is the ability to retrieve a document quickly and efficiently from any workstation or any location.

              The user should be able to access and retrieve client files and documents with unlimited folder access, emailing and have full searching capabilities. This could be crucial for a lawyer or attorney who might need to access a last minute document quickly and conveniently from their mobile device while in court. Sharing and collaborating on company documents with internal and external users is a large part of everyday function for legal firms. Every good Legal DMS product has security and version control. This gives users the ability to collaborate and make changes on the same document without having to worry about taking turns, making work more efficient. When collaborating with internal and external users, securing content to protect confidential information and prevent unauthorized access is pivotal to the company and their clients.

              Having complete access to permitted company files wherever with the ability of protecting confidential information from unauthorized access is made possible by utilizing built-in DMS security. The retention of preceding documents whether stored recently or earlier is made available. For example, maybe an attorney needs to write up a will or testament with a specified clause but does not want to start from scratch. He or she has the ability to outline this new document based on preceding documents stored in the DMS perhaps from years ago without having to think, “where did I put that document”. Overall, here are just a few capabilities of Legal DMS – an essential software for law firms and corporate legal departments. 

              For any further questions, please feel free to contact us.