NetDocuments Review for Law Firms

NetDocuments Review

NetDocuments Review:  Features, Pricing, Alternatives

In our extensive NetDocuments review, we’ll cover features, pricing, implementation and alternatives for law firms.  Document Management often lives at the epicenter of a law firm’s technology, housing all of the firm’s important, matter-related documents, email and other content. Especially as law firms grow to to 5 or more total staff, the need for a robust, capable Document Management System grows.

At Uptime Legal, we help law firms evaluate legal software, implement new technology and move their firm’s to the cloud.  In this article, we’ll provide a comprehensive review of NetDocuments, a document management product used by law firms.  We’ll explore features, benefits, drawbacks, pricing, user feedback and alternatives.

Introduction to Legal Document Management

A Document Management System (DMS) is software that, to varying degrees, helps businesses manage their documents, email and other data.  The scope, features and capabilities of any given Document Management application varies from product to product; though broadly speaking, Document Management software performs the following functions

Core Features

  • Document Storage
  • Document Organization
  • Microsoft Office Integration
  • Email Management
  • Full-Text Search
  • Document Version Management
  • Unique Document ID's
  • Document Tagging / Profiling

Beyond these core DMS features, some Document Management applications provide additional functionality and provide greater security features.  These may include:

Advanced Features

  • Integrated OCR
  • Client Portal / Client Sharing
  • Client/Matter Structure
  • Outlook Integration

Advanced Security

  • User/Group Permissions
  • MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication)
  • End-to-End Data Encryption
  • Geographic Data Redundancy

Document Management software slightly overlaps (and is sometimes confused with) Practice Management software.  Document Management software and Practice Management software are, however, fundamentally different categories of legal software.  Your firm may need one, the other or both.

Related:

Learn the differences (and overlap) between Legal Practice Management, Document Management and Accounting software.

NetDocuments Review – Introduction

Next in our NetDocuments review, we’ll explore the company and the product.

The Company

Before we get into the meat of our NetDocuments review, we’ll start with a (brief) history of the company. NetDocuments was founded in 1999, and to their credit they were one of the first true cloud-based, online document management platforms. The company was later acquired by a private equity firm, where it continued to grow and serve industries including healthcare, financial services, law firms, and corporate legal departments.

Today the company and the product remain prevalent, and has a large network of resellers throughout most markets.

Document Management Software Review

Overview of the NetDocuments Software

Next in our NetDocuments review, we’ll provide a high-level overview of the software.

NetDocuments is a general-purpose, cloud-based document storage and management system. Because the software is made to fit a range of different industries (not just law firms), it’s general enough that it can be fitted into a number of different kinds of businesses. The software is mostly (but not entirely) cloud based. Users access NetDocuments primarily via a web browser (as with most SaaS applications); no server required.

NetDocuments works well on Windows PC’s namely via its Office add-in, called ndOffice. ndOffice is an installed, desktop component that allows users to save documents directly to NetDocuments (which is nice). ndOffice, however, is only available for Windows, and doesn’t work on Macs. Which means if your firm uses Mac computers, you’ll have to use Parallels or similar software to run a Windows instance within your Mac computer.

Features & Scope
Ease of Use
Mobility / Work Anywhere
Desktop OS Compatibility
Server / Infrastructure Requirements

NetDocuments Review – Feature List

Next in our NetDocuments review, we’ll expand on the individual features included (and omitted) in the software.

Document Storage

Basic inline storage of documents including Word, Excel, PDF and other file types.

Native Cloud

The software is natively cloud-based, and run in a web browser without the need for remote desktops, hosting, or other work-arounds.

Document Organization

Organization of documents beyond simple folders.  NetDocuments organizes documents and content by Workspace.

Microsoft Office Integration

Direct integration with Microsoft Word and Outlook for seamless document editing.

Email Management

The ability to save, organize and manage emails to a project or folder similar to a document.

Full-Text Search

The ability to search across the content and metadata for all documents and email.

Document Version Management

The ability to maintain multiple versions of a document, or view prior versions of documents.

Unique Document ID

Each document is assigned a unique, permanent ID for trackability and integrity.

Document Tagging / Profiling

The ability to classify, annotate and categorize documents (for example:  designate a document as a contract, or motion, or order).

Client Portal / Sharing

The ability to securely share or send documents to clients or other outside parties.

Client / Matter Organization

The concept of Clients and Matters, and the ability to organize data by client/matter.

User / Group Permissions

The ability to create user groups and assign permissions to specific users and groups.

Windows Compatible

Compatible with the Windows operating system.

Mac Compatible

Compatible with Mac OS.

Data Encryption

Data is encrypted in-transit and at-rest.

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Application supports Multi-Factor Authentication for added security.

Geographic Data Redundancy

Data is automatically backed up to redundant servers/data centers in different geographic regions.

Company-Provided Onboarding

Does the software company provide data migration and training directly (or must the user obtain a third-party resource for onboarding).

Office 365 Provided / Supported

Is Office 365 optionally provided and supported to provide a single, seamless user and support experience.

IT Support Provided

Is general IT support optionally provided to create a single, seamless user and support experience.

Storage Included

Default Storage Included in Plan:  1 GB / User

NetDocuments Screen Shots

NetDocuments Review – Additional Information

Further in our NetDocuments review, we’ll explore additional functionality and nuances to the NetDocuments software.

ndMail

NetDocuments also includes an option for ndMail, the Outlook add-in that allows you to save emails to the NetDocuments repository. ndMail is also Windows-only (no Mac support).

Workspaces

In NetDocuments, you create a workspace, which serves as the top-level container to store documents and other kinds of data. A workspace is, essentially, a top-level folder that you can create subfolders in (so-named to accommodate the needs of a variety of types of organizations). Law firms can use the concept of a workspace to loosely relate to a particular client or matter in which to store files in.

Advantages of NetDocuments

Next in our NetDocuments review, we’ll explore the advantages of the software, and reasons your law firm may want to consider implementing it.

Cloud-based

NetDocuments is cloud-based, which means you can access it from anywhere, and do not need to maintain in-house servers.

Better Than Basic Files & Folders

NetDocuments provides features to organize, classify and search documents, which is inherently better than a basic folder structure.

Better Than Simple Cloud Storage

NetDocuments is an improvement over simple cloud storage tools like Dropbox, OneDrive and Google Drive.

Legal Software Integration

NetDocuments integrates with certain law practice management software, such as Clio Manage.

Drawbacks of NetDocuments

Next in our NetDocuments review, we’ll explore the drawbacks of the software, and reasons your law firm may want want to consider other options.

No Native Mac OS Support

All of the NetDocuments components do not work natively on Mac OS.  If your firm uses Macs, you'll need to either replace them with Windows computers, or impalement Parallels to run a virtual Windows instance on your Mac.

Migration & Training Performed by a Third-Party

NetDocuments will not help you migrate data or provide any software training.  Instead, they will require that you hire a third-party "consultant" (reseller) to perform all conversion and training.  User reviews of third-party consultants are mixed.

No Client / Matter Structure

Because its made for many industries, NetDocuments does not have a concept of "Clients" or "Matters."  Instead, you must create a "Workspace," and retro-fit workspaces and folders to approximate a Client/Matter structure.

Non-Transparent Pricing

NetDocuments does not publish the pricing for its software publicly, nor do they provide guidance on typical migration or onboarding costs (performed by a third party).

No Options for Office, Exchange & IT Support

Many law firms prefer to have their Office 365, Exchange Email, IT support and Document Management System provided and supported by one company, to avoid integration problems and technology finger-pointing.  NetDocuments does not provide Office 365, Exchange Email, or IT support services, and will instead recommend you obtain a separate IT consultant.

NetDocuments Review – User Feedback

“Hit or Miss”

Verified User in Law Practice

“My favorite things about NetDocuments is that 1) you can access your documents from any place with an Internet connection, and 2) there is an easy way to search for documents.

Like everything else, there are a few downfalls.  First of al there needs to be a multi-level search function added.  Also, I dislike the fact that you have to jump through hoops to get documents to do what you want.  For example, at work I can click on a document and it opens for viewing/editing.  At home I click on a document and it downloads it, then I have to go through the process of uploading the changed document.

I like it, but a lot of people I work with do not like NetDocuments.”

“NetDocs for My Law Firm”

Verified User in Law Practice

“I like that this helps eliminate paper waste by placing all documents into an electronic form and sorting it into subject folders so that users may somewhat easily find the documents in the specific matter needed.

ND needs more subfolders so that it is easier to specify a particular type of document or pleading.  As it currently stands, there are just general/broad subject folders to place your particular document in.  There is also not a calendar feature or a way to document deadlines for specific projects in a particular matter.”

“Useful, but Hard to Navigate”

Verified User in Law Practice

I like that I can access my documents through the cloud based service.  However, I don’t think it’s exactly user friendly, and have found that the updates take along time, about every quarter often when I am using the program.

I am able to access important legal forms and real estate documents without having to bring the physical version to a closing or meeting, but would say that there are better options more suited to lawyers out there.”

Original Source: G2Crowd

NetDocuments Pricing

Next in our NetDocuments review, we’ll cover pricing.

As mentioned above, NetDocuments does not provide public pricing information, for the software, for implementation, per-user fees or storage. To get pricing for your firm you’ll need to engage with a NetDocuments sales staff or work with a local NetDocuments reseller. We recommend that you very clearly and thoroughly understand all costs and pricing, including:

  • The cost for the software itself
  • The cost for additional users (logins)
  • The cost for additional storage
  • The cost for implementation (data conversion)
  • The cost for training
  • Any other one-time or recurring costs

NetDocuments Alternatives

If NetDocuments doesn’t suit your law firm, you might consider these popular alternatives.

LexWorkplace

Cloud-based Document & Email Management exclusively for law firms.  Easy to use, conversion and training provided by the LexWorkplace team.  Learn more.

Worldox

Long-running document management software often used by law firms.  Worldox is premise-based and requires in-house servers.  Learn more.

More:  See the Top 5 NetDocuments Alternatives

Looking for Document Management Software?

LexWorkplace:

Modern Document Management for Law Firms

LexWorkplace is document & email management software, born in the cloud and built for law firms.

Organize by Client & Matter

Organize documents, email and notes by client or matter. Store and manage all data for a case or project in one place.

Go Beyond Basic Files & Folders

Supercharge your firm’s productivity with true DMS functions.

  • Version Management
  • Document Tagging & Profiling
  • Document Check-Out / Check-In
  • Microsoft Office Integration

Search Everything

LexWorkplace is like Google for your law firm.  Search across millions of pages, documents, folder email and notes in seconds. Refine your search by matter, document type, author and more.

Seamless Outlook Integration

Save emails to a matter without leaving Outlook. Saved emails are accessible to your entire team.

Organize Email With Folders & Notes

Organize matter-related emails into subfolders. Add notes to call out important emails.

Works with Windows and Macs

LexWorkplace is 100% compatible with Mac OS and Windows.

LexWorkplace Features

The legal industry has had to put up with dated, clunky document management systems for too long.

No more.

With LexWorkplace, you’ll have access to a wide range of features, including:

  • A Terabyte of Storage: LexWorkplace starts with 1TB of storage for your firm, giving you plenty of room to grow.
  • Advanced security: LexWorkplace encrypts your data in transit and at rest. It also includes enhanced security measures such as permission setting capabilities and two-factor authentication.
  • Geographic redundancy: We have multiple independent data centers across North America. This means we can securely back up your data, so you can trust your data is available to you no matter what happens next.
  • Document tracking IDs: Each file you save to LexWorkplace has a unique ID for easy document tracking.
  • One-click functionality: LexWorkplace can help you move faster. View, edit, and save your documents with a single click, no re-upload required.
  • Document check-in/out: Want to make changes to a document without others doing so at the same time? By checking out a document, you can make the changes you need to make without others on your team interfering. Then, just check the document back in when you’re finished.
  • Version management: LexWorkplace will automatically track each version of your documents, so you can see when changes were made and by whom.
  • Profiling and tagging: You can easily set document types and statuses for each of your files. Plus, you can create tags to keep documents organized based on your firm’s needs.
  • Recent file prioritization: LexWorkplace will place your recent files front and center, so you can easily return to your work. Or, you can set certain documents as important for easy access.
  • Email management capabilities: Easily save emails to each matter file straight from Outlook. Plus, LexWorkplace will provide instant deduplication, so you can avoid saving multiples of the same email. It’s a time-consuming process that LexWorkplace automates on your behalf.

Get in Touch

Want to learn more?  Watch the demo below, or get in touch with our team to learn more about LexWorkplace for your firm.

Watch the Demo