The legal industry is one that demands well-managed and easily accessible records that can be stored securely for an extended period of time. Proper management of data and documents is necessary to establish a streamlined workflow, to increase returns and to reduce the costs associated with managing legal documents.
Digitization of documents can make things a lot easier for every law firm. When considering record management strategies, document accessibility is one of the prime issues faced by most of the firms. Legal professionals very often need to refer to old cases to identify various relevant rules and to interpret evidences. A popular record-keeping system is vital in every law office.
Challenges in Managing Paper-based Legal Records
- It is often expensive to store and retrieve paper documents.
- Transportation of records and documents to clients, co-counsel, opposing counsel and courts can be costly, either with local transport or overnight mailing (in the form of couriers or letters).
- Data security is a key issue in legal firms, as almost all information handled is of a sensitive nature.
- Sharing of documents is hard in a paper-based storage system.
- Restricting access to sensitive or secure documents without reducing productivity is yet another challenge.
- Case information available in documents of different formats and from different sources is often difficult to search and combine. Document conversion is easy with digital documents when you want them in a particular file format.
- Long term storage of legal data is yet another concern. Some data pertaining to legal cases may need to be saved for an extended period of time, say a decade or beyond.
Addressing Challenges in Managing Paper-based Legal Records
A proper system for record management can address the challenges associated with paper-based legal documents in the following ways.
- A physical record can be identified electronically within limited time.
- Improves the shareability of documents, strengthens team collaboration, and lowers the cost for managing documents.
- An ideal case management system can capture and store case-related critical documents, and often features the facility to track and record each phase of delivery.
- Allows meeting compliance requirements, and strengthens document integrity and security.
- Facilitates effortless sharing of content with co-counsel and opposing counsel.
More court systems are mandating electronic filings for virtually every aspect of cases in their jurisdictions, to streamline operations and protect sensitive documents.