The legal profession is quite challenging with the law firm processes becoming highly document-intensive and location-specific. Confidentiality, security and trust are the mainstay of the legal profession. Typically, legal professionals need to handle a wide variety of documents ranging from – legal contracts, agreements, case files, trusts, investigation reports, affidavits, court submissions, notices, and more. In fact, these documents contain highly confidential information about the finances, employment, and even the health of their clients.
Handling cases of all kinds, preparing and filing court documents, checking and replying to e-mails and interacting with the clients, can be overwhelming for any law firm. If any specific file is missed or goes into the wrong hands, it leads to considerable waste of time and may even involve serious security breach. Legal document scanning technology has changed the way businesses operate by freeing up time and saving money.
Adoption of Digital Technology by Legal Firms – Key Challenges Involved
Data security is a key aspect that has made law firms quite reluctant to adopt digitization and cloud technology. Scanning legal documents is the starting point of digital transformation for legal departments and law firms. However, ensuring that legal information gets scanned securely and is stored with tight access controls to authorized personnel only is quite challenging. Here discussed are some of the key challenges involved in adopting digital technology for legal firms –
- Information Security – Data security is one of the main challenges legal departments and law firms face when shifting to digital. Maintaining the highest level of confidentiality and security to protect client information is an important aspect. Utilizing a secured document management system is important to maintain the highest level of confidentiality to protect client information. When digitizing sensitive documents, it is crucial not to lose any document and prevent non-authorized persons from accessing confidential information.
A good document management system can have different levels of security in order to control access, read and delete any document. There should also be an annual audit to check the complete cycle of document management. This ensures that all valuable client details remain protected and also that the employees are not engaging in any kind of activity that could result in breach of intellectual property rights and loss/compromise of confidential information.
- Ensuring Regulatory Compliance – Meeting regulatory compliance requirements that govern the handling of legal documents is an important aspect of the digitization initiative. For instance, there are strict regulations on the life of legal documents like – how long each legal document needs to be retained and preserved for reference in the event of litigation.
- Document Storage and Management – Document management is a crucial task when it comes to legal firms. Legal professionals need to refer to voluminous law books to find relevant points for their courtroom arguments. They need large office spaces to store these legal case-related documents. Law firms when planning to digitize their records, face challenges in storing digital documents securely and affordably. A well-designed document management system in place allows all the email, documents, media files, etc. to be searched and found easily. A good document management system should have standard naming conventions, different folders, and version control system in place. Document scanning services help in organizing the scanned documents in a systematic manner within a centralized space.
- Information Access and Retrieval – After the documents are scanned and saved in digital format, it is essential that they can be easily accessed via robust search functionality. Legal professionals need reliable retrieval of documents when cases demand specific documents or records. A strong document management system with accurate document classification and indexing is important for easy access of legal documents.
- Remote and Secure Access to Information – The COVID -19 lockdowns and restrictions have severely impacted the legal industry wherein the physical, in-person hearings stopped for many courts. As a result, e-hearings via video conferencing and online collaborative tools became the norm. However, in the post-pandemic time, legal professionals are shifting towards hybrid work models that will require remote access to information without compromising on document security.
- Document Collaboration – Document exchange is a usual practice between colleagues and clients in any legal firm. The simple way is through email, but it has its own risks if the documents contain sensitive information. Legal documents when scanned should be sent only using document management solutions. Document collaboration allows full control and has version control features to track where and with whom information is shared.
- Reduced Time in Searching – Scanning and indexing of documents makes it easy to manage and search in files, if the lawyer requires a specific document. When OCR scanning technology is used, then finding certain text in a file becomes easy even if it’s a large document.
The shift to digital documents is no longer an option for law firms, but has become a necessity. Deploying a robust document management system can make easy access of legal documents from anywhere, at any time. Partnering with a reputable document scanning companies with considerable experience in this area can help safeguard confidential, sensitive or delicate documents throughout the scanning process.