Cloud Document Management for Law Firms
Law firms today leverage a number of different technologies to manage their cases and their practice. From billing and accounting software, to case management software: there are a number of legal technology staples that are in most law firms’ technology toolboxes. One particular tool, however, might be the most foundational and most important to law firms. That tool: a document management system (DMS). And now that we’re in the era of cloud computing, many law firms are implementing a cloud document management system for their practice.
Does your law firm use a document management system? Are you thinking of implementing your first DMS? Are you outgrowing your dated, on-premise dinosaur DMS? Or do you remember how much having document management software at your last firm made your life easier… and you want to recreate that same magic at your new firm?
In this post we’ll explore the benefits of implementing and using a cloud document management platform.
Let’s get started.
1. Matter-Centric Content Management
Law firms receive, produce and process all kinds of data and information: from documents, to audio or video files, to email to notes. I like to think of all of these kinds of data as different types of content. And, regardless of the areas of law your firm practices, all of a law firm’s content should be organized and managed in a matter-centric way.
A cloud document management system brings this organization to a law firm. Prior to implementing a cloud document management platform, I often see law firm’s with a “wild west” kind of system to managing content:
- Matter documents scattered between local file servers, network drives and individual computers.
- Matter-related emails spread across multiple employees Outlook or Gmail accounts.
- Notes saved without any consistency, on paper or in stand-alone note-taking apps.
- Other files and data stored in Dropbox, Google Drive or some other, separate cloud app.
In addition to being very disjointed, what I tend to see (with a law firm before it’s adopted a cloud document management solution), there is often little to no uniformity to where, how and why a piece of content is stored in one place or the other. (It’s often left to the discretion of each user, and what they decided to do with the document or content that day.)
A cloud document management system that is matter-centric will organize everything by matter. Documents for a particular case will be saved in that matter record (and probably tagged and organized by document type, such as motion, pleading, complaint, contract and so forth.) Email messages–regardless of who in the firm received them–will be saved and stored in the matter (alongside documents). Notes, from phone call notes, to intake notes, to case law or research notes, will also be saved, stored, time-stamped and organized in the matter, also alongside documents and email.
A cloud document management platform will bring some much-needed law and order to the lawless world of local file servers and outlook folders.