Document Management is now becoming a crucial component in day-to-day business practices due to its effect on the security of your company, customers, and suppliers. Document Management helps capture, track and store electronic documents. The advantages of document management include document backup & recovery, enhanced workflow processes, simple document retrieval, and improved security procedures across all documents. The disadvantages of document management include reliance on technology, security of documents, and equipment expense.
If a company does not have proper document management it can create unnecessary risks, like reduced document security and the inability to have a streamlined search. When a company has a strategy for document management, it can save them time, money, and it helps the company improve access to information while protecting key aspects of the information.
What is Legal Document Management?
Legal document management software, also known as a Document Management System (DMS), is software (cloud-based or on-premises) that not only stores your law firm’s documents but provides a comprehensive set of tools to find, organize and manage your legal documents. A legal document management system is designed to meet the unique challenges of law firm document management.
What’s the Difference between Legal and General Document Management Systems (DMS)?
General document management systems provide a comprehensive toolkit to store, find, organize and manage your documents, for example, document storage, tagging, version management, full-text search, email management and more. Whereas a legal document management system addresses law firms needs and offers specific operational and compliance features, combining case management with document management or provides a complete contract lifecycle management. Legal document management software stores your documents and has the capabilities to manage them. The ‘manage’ part of document management software’s capabilities is what differentiates itself from a basic on-premises file server or simple cloud storage.
Compare Legal Document Management Software
Legal document management software can be either on-premises (installed on your local servers) or a cloud-based solution. There are a wide variety of document storage and management systems on the market today, although each presents its own set of pros and cons. Some of the most popular options for law firms include Worldox, iManage, NetDocuments, and ProLaw.
Worldox, which was acquired by NetDocuments on October 19th, 2022 has been used by law firms for over a decade. The tool offers various features to help legal professionals store, manage, and organize their documents efficiently. Its user-friendly and intuitive interface makes it easy for users to get up and running quickly. In addition, Worldox offers seamless integration with third-party applications like Microsoft Office and Outlook, allowing attorneys to carry out tasks with one platform promptly. However, Worldox can be expensive to purchase up front and may require significant maintenance costs over time due to frequent software updates. Another drawback of Worldox is that the platform is server-based, meaning you’ll need to own and maintain an on-premises server to run it. Although Worldox does offer a hosted version, it is not a true cloud application (rather, it’s a remote desktop connection to traditional, premise-based Worldox).
iManage is another popular option among legal professionals. iManage is a long-running DMS that provides as many, or more functions to manage documents and email as other Document Management Systems in the industry. iManage has tools like automatic document categorization based on keywords and detailed activity tracking capabilities. Similar to Worldox, iManage has an intuitive interface that makes getting started on the platform easy for anyone to use. iManage can be run on your in-house server or in a private cloud, allowing users to access their documents from any location. Although, the drawback is that iManage does require significant server resources, as well as a highly specialized IT expert to implement and administer. iManage can be a fantastic option for larger law firms but is generally not the best document management system for small law firms due to its complexity.
NetDocuments is a document management solution emphasizing security and data protection. NetDocuments was one of the first cloud-based document management applications and is well regarded in a variety of industries, such as legal financial, and accounting services. NetDocuments helps law firms and like industries with keeping their confidential information safe from unauthorized access with features like strict user permissions and built-in virus scanning. In addition, NetDocuments offers native mobile apps for iOS and Android devices, allowing users to stay productive from anywhere. Since NetDocuments is web-based the platform does not require an on-premises server or software installation apart from ndOffice. Although, the software can be cumbersome for inexperienced users, and NetDocuments’ support options aren’t as robust as some of its competitors.
ProLaw is a popular choice for many law firms because it provides a centralized platform compared to using multiple products to meet each individual need. ProLaw is a combination of practice and case management, document management and accounting solution for law firms. While its document management functionality is not as robust as some of the stand-alone DMS solutions it is the only legal software package that handles practice/case management, document management and accounting in one product. Its advanced features include document automation, e-filing capabilities, and case management tools. ProLaw is server-based, which means it requires a sophisticated on-premise server or a robust private cloud. ProLaw is typically used for law firms that handle a high volume of cases or have multiple law offices because the platform is highly scalable, making it a good choice for businesses that expect to expand over time. However, the software can be complex, and its initial setup costs can prohibit small law firms in Chicago.
The benefits of cloud-based legal software for Chicago law firms include increased flexibility, scalability, and cost savings. However, choosing the right legal document management provider for your specific needs is crucial. The providers listed above are all leading providers of cloud-based legal software, and each offers a unique set of features and benefits. When choosing a document management provider you should consider cost, ease of use, security, and support options when making your decision. Ultimately, the right provider for your law firm will vary based on individual needs and preferences. Once you have narrowed down the management system you will use for all your documents and assets, you can create a document management strategy.
Creating the Right Document Management Strategy for Your Company
One way to develop and support the documents and other assets your company possesses is to take your company into the security of the digital age by establishing a document management strategy. You can effortlessly transition your physical files into a searchable and secure digital storage space by planning out your organization’s requirements and goals. There are multiple ways to go about creating a document management strategy that will best suit your business needs. The following are several key indicators you should pay attention to when creating this strategy:
- Create a Document Management Team
- Evaluate your Company’s Current Processes and Documents
- Determine the Procedure and Requirement Goals
- Remove Unnecessary Documents
- Develop your Strategy
- Implement your Strategy
It is important to note that PSM can help you and your business develop and implement your document management strategy to help your company achieve and maintain its business goals. To learn more, schedule a consultation with us to discuss your business needs.
Ready to implement a Document Management Software for your Law Firm?
PSM has a combined 50 Years of legal experience and has helped numerous customers implement and maintain their Document Management Software. We help customers by providing application liaison support, and cloud-based support, in addition, to helping with documentation styling and work-processing of documents. We also ensure that your law firms highly-sensitive documents are managed securely.