Why Do You Need a Document Management System?

November 20, 2020In Document ManagementBy Dennis Dimka
Why Do You Need a Document Management System?

Most businesses require a well-organized document management system (DMS) for easily creating, tracking and finding what you need as you need it.

For law firms handling complex legal cases and having to manage a heavy load of sensitive documents, an efficient DMS is essential. The burden of remaining compliant with industry regulations is also higher for law firms than most other business types.

Fortunately, document management no longer means rows of filing cabinets but is largely digital.

Nowadays, the best document management software is cloud-based or installed on-premises, offering a range of features that law firms rely heavily on to manage their documentation: creating, storing, indexing, protecting, and retrieving documents effectively.

Cloud-based systems, in particular, have grown in popularity in recent years because of the reliability, flexibility and cost-effectiveness they deliver.

But how can such a system help your practice, specifically? The key benefits of DMS software are detailed below.

Better manage internal costs with a document management system

Why you need a Document Management System for law firmsDocument management has traditionally been a “hidden cost” for many law firms.

The management of huge amounts of paperwork, including the costs of the paper itself, printing and copying costs, and the costs involved in storing the documents, adds considerably to the monthly bills.

In many cases, extra floor space is needed to accommodate the filing system, increasing rental costs, and other costs associated with the manpower required to run this largely inefficient manual system adds up.

The best cloud-based DM systems now allow you to take your document management digital, reducing the costs associated with labor and office space.

The extra efficiencies of a cloud-based DMS make it easier to create, store, and locate everything you need – and no investment in extra hardware or IT personnel is required.

Increase your law firm’s productivity

With traditional document management, essential time is lost in creating, filing, and then locating what you need. This has hampered productivity in many cases.

Cloud-based DMS software allows you to perform fast and efficient searches of the centralized database for what you need when you need it. No rummaging through filing cabinets or wondering if a document was lost down the back of a desk.

What’s more, traditional computer storage systems (such as an on-premise file server) lack robust document management capabilities, including search, OCR, document tagging and more.

Less time spent on preparing and hunting for documents means more time to work on what’s most important in your law firm.

The best DMS systems also allow you to keep a handle on different document versions and provide automatic backup so that human error is reduced and nothing gets lost.

By integrating seamlessly with other business platforms like email apps, the DMS improves collaboration internally and externally and workflows become more efficient, helping to raise productivity within the firm.

Improve security and compliance

Legal Document Management Systems for LawyersEvery business wants to know that its data is secure and client data is protected. For law firms, this is critical and a regulatory necessity. Lawyer-client confidentiality is a basic tenet of the relationship between a law firm and a client. If this is damaged, it’s difficult to repair. Your reputation is at stake.

A cloud-based system designed specifically for law firms, with the right IT and compliance professionals in place and the right encryption/access controls, help to ensure confidentiality and privacy of data.

Improve work-life balance for staff

Your legal team is likely to welcome a cloud-based document management system with open arms if it is currently using a manual system or an outdated in-house digital system.

Nobody needs reminding about the work involved in creating and managing documents for legal cases. The piles of documents loading up office desks tell their own story.

It’s much easier to manage in the cloud – and your people will find that a system designed specifically for legal teams is far more convenient than the one they are presently using.

Being able to access the cloud-based system remotely from anywhere, on any device, provides a great deal of freedom and flexibility for your team.

If team members are looking to improve work-life balance, a cloud-based DMS can help because it translates to less time required in the office.

How to choose the best document management system for your law firm?

Sailing the sea of unorganized legal documentsThe benefits of a cloud-based document management system are clear but, for law firms, the decision of which one to use is not so straightforward.

The stakes are high, remember. Law firms are understandably held to higher standards than most other types of businesses when it comes to security and compliance.

It is important to do your due diligence and choose the right DMS software that meets the standards that your firm expects.

For most law firms, the following features should be essential in any document management system software that you choose:

  • Law-firm specific: make sure that it meets the high standards expected in the legal industry and is not just generic business document management software.
  • Matter-centric: Your DMS should function the way your firm does: by client or matter. Documents, email, notes and other content should be organized by matter, keeping everything for a particular client or case together.
  • Scalable: your DMS should be able to increase your ability to create, store and manage documents as your requirements grow.
  • Centralized: you should be able to store all content (files, PDFs, Excel spreadsheets, guides, training documents, videos, images, etc.) in one place.
  • Highly searchable: being able to search quickly and accurately will help you work efficiently on cases and improve productivity.
  • Secure and compliant: your DMS must meet your security and compliance requirements for the storage of sensitive data.
  • Responsive: you should be able to access your documents from any device wherever you are (using the cloud).
  • Feature-Rich: Your chosen DMS should include features that your team needs, including document tagging/profiling, version management and integrated OCR.
  • Email Management: Emails are documents too! Your DMS should be able to save and manage emails, saved by matter, just like any other document.
  • Windows and Mac: More law firms today are multi-platform than ever. Your firm likely has a mix of Windows and Mac computers (including in-office and personal, at-home computers). Be sure your DMS works, in its entirety, with both platforms.

If you’re looking for a system that does all this, LexWorkplace is document management software designed specifically for law firms.

With LexWorkplace, you can create, share, track, manage and collaborate on all your legal documents and case management content in one place.