Organising and storing legal records in the past required a lot of effort from lawyers and law firms. However, thanks to various online solutions, businesses can now easily manage their documents using a legal document management system.
A legal document management system assists lawyers and law firms organise, storing, and managing all the papers relevant to their cases and clients. Therefore, it should be no surprise that law practitioners make significant investments in content and document management systems to adopt a paperless strategy.
Legal document management systems offer distinctive features that are exclusive to the legal sector, unlike other Document Management Systems (DMS) such as MS Office, Adobe, etc., which provide generic features to serve multiple industries. The legal DMS inevitably boosts lawyer productivity and workflow, making law firms more effective and efficient.
This article explains the tangible benefits of a SharePoint-based document management system for legal practitioners. Read on!
What is a Legal Document Management System?
The legal document management system is an application to arrange, store and retrieve paper and digital records. A good legal DMS offers the following features:
- Digitises paper records for storage
- Grants high-end accessibility permissions while ensuring document security
- Organising documents using categories
- Preserving the documents and retrieving them through keyword searches
- Can be customised as per the requirement
Features every Legal DMS must have.
1. Centralised documentation
This paradigm enables law firms to collect all information pertinent to a legal matter, including email and paper, in a single, centralised location. The lawyers find arranging and keeping everything in a storage cabinet challenge. Therefore, an excellent legal document management system should allow users to create a matter, which serves as a virtual filing cabinet for managing and storing documents, emails, and other notes related to that particular case.
As a result, having access to and managing all the cases on a single platform is advantageous for the law firm.
2. Email management
The email’s content is identical to any other document. A legal DMS can store, index, and handle emails. The firm members can save emails pertinent to a legal matter because it integrates with their mailbox. Additionally, it offers an auto-reply tool that helps lawyers manage their communications promptly.
3. Billing and Reporting:
The legal document management system lets attorneys calculate each client’s billing hour precisely. The authorised users may easily control the components’ cost, the refund status, and the credit. The users can also promptly produce automated bills following the billing cycle.
Aside from billing and invoicing, the legal DMS also offers financial data to the company on a weekly, monthly, and annual basis. These reports enable lawyers to make crucial decisions, manage their staff, and concentrate on optimising their workflow.
4. Document Types and Tagging:
Law firms work with various documents, including agreements, motions, orders, complaints, pleadings, etc. Identifying the precise category of each record in the legal DMS is crucial. With the help of a legal DMS, law firms or lawyers can profile or tag documents based on their category. By simplifying categorisation through tagging or profiling, it is possible to quickly determine the type or nature of a document and reduce the time spent searching for it in the first place.
5. Security and Compliance:
Protecting sensitive and confidential information is of utmost importance. An excellent legal DMS should have top-notch encryption technology to shield the data from hacking or illegal access. Because the legal DMS is cloud-based, the most recent security version is deployed and upgraded. Therefore, a legal DMS can aid in maintaining industry compliance.
6. Seamless Reporting:
With all the paperwork and receipts swiftly collated, the legal document management system enables lawyers to create automated reports to increase productivity and monitor daily business performance. These reports are beneficial for making critical choices, distributing tasks, or maintaining daily productivity.
An effective API, or Application Programme Interface, is essential to a document management system. It lets you connect to all of your favourite apps while you’re on the move and will enable easy integration of various commercial platforms into your legal document management system. You can share, sync, and interact using different media to ensure your practice functions correctly. An excellent legal DMS should have a straightforward API that lets users integrate every application they typically use without needing to be tech experts.
8. Powerful Search
When it comes to document management systems, search is an essential feature to have. Calibrating properly aids legal professionals in finding pertinent information and individuals quickly. On the other hand, a poorly made search can create a tangle, at worst resulting in blunders and severe delays in court proceedings. So it is essential to deploy a document management system with robust search functionality.
Should you consider SharePoint as your legal DMS?
SharePoint is an excellent platform for your legal DMS, mainly if your law firm actively utilises cloud technologies. It is also the ideal foundation for a fully working legal portal with robust project management and collaboration features. Additionally, you can use the Microsoft Matter Centre, which comes with Office 365, for legal document management purposes. Microsoft Matter Centre, designed specifically for legal professionals, provides several pre-built features like:
- SharePoint Online serves as the cornerstone of the matter management solution
- Specialists can take individual or group notes, like evidence, using OneNote Notebook
- Outlook offers its well-known calendaring and powerful emailing features
It’s also worth noting that the cost of specialist solutions typically ranges from $40 per user per month to double or even triple for enterprise-level subscriptions. However, you only pay customisation expenses if you already have SharePoint on-premises. For $5–10 per user per month, you can use SharePoint Online if you prefer a cloud-based solution. Therefore, even if you spend more money on initial customisation, the long-term TCO of the SharePoint solution will be far lower than that of a ready-made system.
To maintain control over your critical documents, your law firm needs a matter-centric document management system. With its extensive features and security measures, SharePoint can streamline your firm’s document management process. Additionally, everyone can use it quickly and safely.
So if you’re seeking ways to simplify the workflow and boost efficiency, which ultimately gives the firm an edge over the competition, SharePoint deserves your attention. Reach out to our team today to know more about SharePoint’s capabilities as a legal document management system and learn what it can accomplish for your business.