The Right Software Simplifies Your Life
Document management in a law firm can be a sloppy and stressful process. Alternatively, it can be the lynchpin of a streamlined and successful system for managing clients and cases. As with many things in the modern world, it is the right combination of technology and human effort, experimentation, and insight that wins the day.
Unsure what the difference is between document management and case management? Learn more here.
The Times They Are a-Changin’
Lawyers are now more reliant than ever on cloud-based technologies. As courts nationwide have accelerated the shift to e-filing, the ability to easily and remotely access case documents has become particularly paramount. That’s why document management these days is necessarily more than just online storage and organization of documents. Instead, some software companies are building in features that allow users to modify, annotate, and share documents with supreme ease.
Everyone’s document management needs differ, depending on size and practice areas. But there is a common thread. According to Christopher Zegers, director of legal consulting service at Ivionics, attorneys “who have embraced document management systems are in a much better position than those where attaching files to email is still the practice in vogue.” Zegers also notes that many law firms and legal departments have yet to move beyond simply saving documents to personal drives. However, without a secure, central location for documents, the possibility of a data breach, system crash, or misplaced file is high.
E-sign, I-sign, We All Sign Electronically
The ability to e-sign documents has aided the transition to e-filing. Electronic signatures are intended to replace hand (or “wet”) signatures in an efficient and legally-binding way. E-signing is not a new technology, but its importance has certainly come into greater focus over recent months.
In 2000, Congress passed the E-SIGN Act into law. The act confirmed electronic signatures as fully valid legal instruments. The framework for e-signature varies by state (some states will accept a PIN as an electronic signature or a fingerprint, for example), but every state embraces it. As long as the signer actually intended to sign (as with all contracts), almost any document can be executed by electronic signature. The recent jump in e-sign usage underscores the need for a digital document hub with appropriate functionality, user logs, and enterprise-level cybersecurity.
GrowPath’s Document Management Software
GrowPath allows users to track progress and drive cases forward with worry-free document management. Documents are easily attached to GrowPath emails, and key merge fields are automatically populated during document creation. Both of these features help to save time and reduce the risk of error.
Central Document Repository
GrowPath’s Central Document Repository makes document management more efficient for large and medium-sized law firms. From the Search Document tab, users can see every document in their GrowPath environment. A variety of filters can be applied to pare down results and find the right document. Users can even export the contents of a search to an Excel spreadsheet.
Searches can be segmented by “cases” or “intakes.” Users can then retrieve the desired document by title, file name, description, staff member, matter ID, file type, file category, case type, practice area, upload date, or status in the print queue.
Feature sets within the files themselves are geared to the user’s convenience. Clicking on the “details” of a case file reveals search fields and useful information like mail merge viability. Documents are either previewed in a new tab or downloaded to the local server. History details like who created the file and when allows for easy workflow tracking.
Document Management in GrowPath’s Matter View is better than ever. From the Documents Panel, all documents associated with a selected matter can be viewed. The “Search Attachments” box allows users to home in on the file. If the necessary file isn’t in the system yet, transferring files into GrowPath is a breeze. Users can simply drag files from a local computer and drop them into the case panel. The document will be instantly uploaded.
A subtle but significant feature in GrowPath’s document management system is the ability to separate “Requests” and “Files” into distinct panels within the Matter or Intake views. An individual panel per category makes locating and accessing each of them much simpler.
Small touches make e-sign functionality in GrowPath stand out. For example, a user can send multiple documents requiring client e-sign via a single email or text link. This offers greater convenience than requiring the client to open multiple messages. Messages are sent from a recognizable firm address.
After clicking on the e-sign link, clients are taken to a branded page. This reassures them that they have not been tricked into going to a fraudulent website. Once the document is fully executed, a copy is sent to the signatory and a copy is also automatically added to the case file. Once again, these features help the GrowPath user save time and avoid error.
Of particular note is the ability of GrowPath document management software users to make any document e-signable. This “build-your-own” feature means firms no longer need to subscribe to third-party e-signature platforms.
Intuitive Document Management and Searching with GrowPath
The best way to deal with a crisis in the present and prepare for the unexpected in the future is to equip yourself with the flexibility to do whatever is necessary. In recent years, unplanned obsolescence and unfulfilled promises have afflicted the users of many case management systems. In contrast, GrowPath’s mission statement is to help clients get an edge on the market through an unrelenting pace of innovation.
Make your document management more aerodynamic with GrowPath’s cloud-based software. To schedule a personalized demonstration, click here.