06 Oct Document Management Tips for Law Firms
An effective and organized law firm document management is essential. It makes it possible for a law firm to provide quality services to its clients by making it easier to retrieve documents quickly for counselors, courts, and clients.
Law firm document management also increases productivity and reduces erroneous mistakes. Implementing good record management policies is the cornerstone to transforming law firm document management.
1. Take Stock
To develop a reliable law firm document management program, you have to know what documents you have. You will need to inspect each document to decide how it would be best organized. So take inventory of your current documents and what type of documents they are.
It will also help you destroy any documents that are no longer of use to the company or violate retention laws.
2. Choose a Storage System
You will need a system that is easily accessible on and off-site and can have layers of protection. The best system will provide you with collaboration functionality, straightforward access, easy file creation, and quick editing.
Law firm document management will also benefit from a dedicated server to reduce the risk of a data breach. Hackers often target the most sensitive data, such as medical records.
3. Outsource Document Management
Outsourcing critical but tedious tasks like record retrieval is a great way for law firms to simplify their document management tasks. If record retrieval takes too much time away from billable hours, your firm should look into utilizing a record retrieval company. By outsourcing services like record retrieval with American Retrieval, you can focus those hours on building and winning cases.
4. Maintain a Redundancy
Redundancies in systems prevent data loss in the event of an attack, loss of power, or movement. Physical redundancy is ideal if you’re using a digital storage option for your law firm document management.
Having a storage room with physical copies will keep you from losing documents completely. In addition, you could implement a digital redundancy with a different cloud storage solution. Be sure backups are kept up-to-date and are not tampered with.
5. Assign User Credentials
Once law firm document management software is in place, every employee needs assigned user credentials. Accessibility options should depend on roles to avoid unauthorized access.
You can assign access levels on a case-by-case basis or even revoke them as cases close. Taking this approach will ensure documents are not edited post-closing and cost the law firm its reputation and license.
6. Use Multiple-Factor Authentication
Multi-factor authentication makes it harder for unauthorized access to occur, adding an extra layer of security to your law firm document management system. If paired with a Virtual Private Network (VPN), it will keep records of when files were accessed and for how long.
7. Invest in Good Network and Storage Security
A crucial part of law firm document management is security. If your documents fall into the wrong hands, such as hackers, it can lead to high costs, loss of trust, and a miscarriage of justice. Even if you pay a ransomware attack, the information could still be released publicly or shared with competitors.
With this in mind, you need reliable law firm document management software experts to keep your storage and access system protected at all times.
8. Organize Files Clearly
Try to keep your files in one place, specifically a server, to make accessing files on and off-site easier for law firm document management. Doing so will mean access, edits, or deletions are detected by the server and assigned to the appropriate user. Centralized storage also makes running backups and updates easier.
In addition, store files in dedicated directories and mark each one. Do not use ambiguous names or file haphazardly. Another quality-of-life organization tip is to group files by type. You could do this by case type, followed by file type.
9. Stay Consistent
Consistency in mapping files will make tracking as part of your law firm document management faster and more efficient. If files are stored in a “C” drive, ensure that path remains consistent with every file added to each computer.
Naming consistency is a good idea, too. So, be consistent with names, capitalization, and editing wherever possible. A uniform approach reduces the risk of error and makes it easier to train new employees on the system.
10. Use Nesting
Folders within folders may seem tedious, but they are advantageous for law firm document management. Having subdirectories within main folders will make it easier to access, edit, and store documents.
11. Update Document Statuses as Needed
When working with client files, separate closed documents from open ones. As part of good law firm document management, you should mark files as “archived” to prevent unauthorized access once a case is closed. It will also make it easier to identify what files to keep and which ones to delete with time.
12. Regularly Backup Files
There’s no doubt law firm document management is a job on its own. If your law firm is large, you may want to employ someone to ensure it is done correctly. Perform regular backups to keep the redundancies up to date.
The best time to perform backups is at the end of the work day and the beginning of the next work day. This way, documents added or edited appear on the backup system, including those made the next morning.
13. Obey Local Retention Laws
These tips are moot if you illegally keep client files. To protect your client’s personal information and sensitive records, follow good law firm document management practices by not retaining files longer than state laws allow. Moreover, it’s prudent to consider HIPAA compliance when dealing with medical records.
Improve Your Law Firm Document Management With Us
Law firm document management is crucial for success. Keep your documents up to date, in a centralized place with only needed and verifiable access possible. As well, look to avoid holding records past the legally allowed time frame. Upgrade and secure your storage regularly and invest in good network security to avoid ransomware attacks.
If you’re looking for software to aid your law firm document management, American Retrieval is ready to provide you with expert support. We have extensive experience in simplifying the medical record retrieval process and delivering industry-leading turnaround times. Contact us today to book a private demo.