Electronic document management systems, or EDMS, can be beneficial in many different fields. One of the areas that it can be of great help to is the legal field. Unfortunately, many people have no idea what EDMS or document management services have to offer and why they may benefit your specific industry. Electronic document management systems take traditional paper files and turn them into electronic ones. These systems are made up of many different components, including document storage, information capturing, structuring and indexing, location, retrieval, permission granting and gating, communication and collaboration, versioning, security, and compliance. This helps to ensure that a document management system is tailored to your legal office’s needs and works perfectly for your firm. Read on to learn more about EDMS and why your firm should consider ditching paper files in exchange for electronic ones.
Why Does Your Law Firm Need Document Management?
There are many reasons why your law firm may need and can benefit from document management. One of the most significant benefits of document management for law firms is the ability to search within documents. As a lawyer, you and your team have likely spent hours scouring a paper transcription or record looking for specific phone numbers, data, or keywords. When your files are uploaded to a computer program or the cloud, you can effortlessly search for those keywords or pieces of data in minutes. Another benefit to document management is that you never have to worry about losing a critical piece of information again. It gets scanned into the system and goes to the right client’s folder.
You don’t have to worry about it getting lost in the shuffle or being misplaced in the wrong file. When you use a document management system, you can properly secure privacy and confidentiality for your clients. Computer programs are challenging to hack into, whereas a piece of paper can easily be misplaced or thrown away, allowing the wrong people to see it. Finally, with document management, all of your employees can look at the files they need to, wherever they are. You may have an employee working a late night at home or an attorney who needs a document immediately for a trial. They can easily access the information they need regardless of where they are working.
What Features Should Your Firm’s Document Management System Include?
Not all document management systems are the same. If you are looking for one, you will want to pay close attention to the various features that different EDMS providers offer. Paying attention to the additional features will help you select the system that makes the most sense for your business. As a company in the legal field, you first need to find a system that provides legal industry regulations and standards. You also need to find a program that works with the legal software you use regularly and software that can be integrated with the type of operating system you use in your office. Other items specific to your business include the size or amount of document storage you get and how much storage space you need, the ability to search all of the documents at once, permission and access controls, and how easy document services are for you and your employees to learn.
How To Select Your Law Firm’s Document Management Vendor?
If you are ready to get a document management system for your law firm, you may be asking yourself how to go about selecting the right vendor to manage your EDMS. As you look for a vendor, one of the most important things to look for is whether the vendor has worked with other law firms in the past. You need a vendor that understands the industry, including the unique document management needs that law firms require. Not every management service understands your company’s needs, nor is every service equipped to handle or meet those needs. As you go about selecting a vendor, you need to look at the price.
Most businesses have a set budget, so getting estimates from multiple companies is essential. Another critical factor is the overall feel that you get working with the various vendors. You and the vendor will need to work hand-in-hand, so you should feel comfortable working with the company and communicating with them. They should be able to communicate technical terms to you in a way that makes sense and help you understand your system. Finally, always take the time to try out a system and review it before signing a contract. You want to see how easy the system is to work with or how much of a learning curve the system takes. Testing out the system also helps you to see what it is capable of and gives you a better understanding as you compare various options.
A document management system can help you eliminate the stacks of papers and paper files that are cluttering your law firm. Instead of having everything on paper, you can switch to a digital or electronic document management system. This can be beneficial when looking for papers, billing clients, or employees who may not be working in the office. Knowing what to look for in a system and a vendor can ensure that you find a program and a vendor that meets your needs. Ultimately, this ensures the program functions well for your business and that it fully meets your needs, optimizing what your employees can do with it. If you are ready to learn more about your law firm’s document management options, we are here to help. Contact us today to get started.