6 Essential Elements for Your Law Firm’s Document Management System (DMS)
Does your firm think “document management” is another phrase for “electronic filing cabinet”? Every law firm needs a document management system in place that does more than electronically store documents. It should also be able to capture, track, manage, and retrieve electronic documents, as well as facilitate collaboration and files assembly.
Effective document management reduces your reliance on paper, safeguards your client and firm information, and improves collaboration, all while saving you time, effort, and money. And this will make your team more efficient and your firm more profitable.
(For more time-saving tips for your firm, download our e-book: Personal Injury Law Firm Management: How to Spot Time Wasters and Time Savers.)
Read on to see what capabilities you want and need in your document management solution.
1. Your document management system should be cloud-based.
When your lawyers and paralegals need access to a file, they need to be able to find it quickly – and remotely. If your document management system uses only onsite storage, employees waste time as they click through the file tree on your file server – and those minutes multiply when files are disorganized or inconsistently named.
Document management solutions that are part of a cloud-based case management system save time by storing all case files in a shared online location that is reachable by authorized users only. Every case document (police reports, medical records and bills, insurance policies, etc.) can be found with a simple search in seconds. And everyone accesses the same file, therefore creating a single source of truth.
Good document management does this for you. GrowPath, for example, is cloud-based so that all your case files are in one centralized location and are accessible by all. And in those case files, the related documents (emails, texts, images, videos, as well as traditional Word documents) are updated in real time.
Check out our e-book, 3 Key Components That Make Law Firm Employees Productive, for more information on how the cloud has revolutionized document management and overall case management.
2. Make accessibility a priority in the management of documents.
Document management systems must have cross-platform functionality – your employees should have easy access to case files from any device – cell phones, laptops, desktops, and tablets. Whether they are at home, on the road, or in the office, they need to be able to connect and collaborate seamlessly.
With accessibility comes the need for security. With GrowPath, you can assign roles to groups and individuals to control permissions and protect sensitive data. In addition to being cloud-based and having role-based access, GrowPath incorporates military-grade levels of document encryption so you can have peace of mind.
3. Manage your DMS with centralized storage.
With centralized storage, all your employees can view case materials in one place and collaboration is enhanced. And when this storage is in the cloud, your lawyers and paralegals can access and share documents easily and securely, wherever they are. Ideally, your document management system will also allow for version control and provide audit history. Centralized document storage makes documents easy to find, access, and review from anywhere.
GrowPath integrates with OneDrive, which allows you to set permission levels so that users (inside or outside the firm) can access and edit documents. Online collaboration is enhanced by bi-directional sync so that your OneDrive is mirrored in GrowPath — everyone is always working on the latest version.
4. You need to be able to add any type of file from anywhere.
It is important that your document management system allows you to easily add files (work docs, photos, police records, texts, and emails) to the case record from various devices (cross-platform functionality). Ideally, you want all case-related documents to be stored in your case management platform so you access them directly from the case file.
For example, GrowPath allows users to add files to a case record in the following ways:
- Traditional file uploads
- Drag and drop from one screen to the next
- Emails and attachments are routed to the related case file
- Attachments from incoming texts are routed to the related case file
- Clients can upload files through an encrypted portal
5. Your DMS should be simple to search.
Once your documents are added, you must be able to search and retrieve them efficiently and have instant access to the right information from any location. Make sure your document management system includes a powerful search engine that allows you to quickly retrieve documents.
With GrowPath, you can title, describe, categorize, and tag documents so that you can search documents and attachments based on title, description, or any word in the document. You can also search by tags.
6. Document management solutions should make package assembly effortless.
Is putting together a demand package a daunting task at your firm? It doesn’t have to be. Your case management software should have document management capabilities that streamline integral tasks such as this. You shouldn’t have to do everything manually, because that wastes time and money.
For example, with GrowPath you can tag individual files “demand package,” search the case file by category, select specific files, and click “Create File Assembly.” Save the resulting demand package as a pdf or zip file and its ready to go – in mere minutes!
Save Time and Money With Advanced Document Management
To streamline your document management, try to incorporate these six capabilities in your document management system. Or even better, depend on your case management solution to do it all for you. GrowPath can! Watch this video for a quick view of how advanced document management can save your firm time and help you boost profits.