The legal industry is growing into something far different than it has been in past days. There’s now far more electronic documents, data and information than there has been, whereas in the old days, the industry was more reliant on books and paper files. The Lawyer said document management systems can now be used to great success by law offices and attorneys to help control costs and make an office more efficient.
The website spoke with many professionals, including Stewart Simpson, acting head of knowledge management, Weightmans, who said the control of costs has shifted and a document management program will help a firm identify the prognosis of a case. The solution can also allow lawyers to access a precedent system to show how other legal matters have progressed.
Neil Mirchandani, a partner at Hogan Lovells, said good information governance will help offices identify, preserve and collect documents that are required to best respond to an event or case.
“They will be best-placed to provide information quickly on potential disclosure documents that are critical to preparing the costs estimates now required prior to the first case management conference,” he said. “Poor information governance means it is not always possible to identify the required documents at source, which means over-preservation and over-collection. This has a significant knock-on effect on the costs of litigation because unnecessary time and money is spent by external litigation support providers and lawyers trying to sort the wheat from the chaff.”
Binary Office said preparing for a lawsuit, audit or anything else from the legal department or law office perspective is usually very time consuming, as there are stacks of papers and files that need to be sorted. Document management and eDiscovery software from the company used in-house can help reduce the number of document reviews needed and expedite processes to make dealing with documents and cases much easier.
Advances make document management easy to work with
Ralph Schroeder, managing director of Hyperion Research, told Inside Counsel that in the past, document management was not accessible to small law offices. However, there are now solutions that are practical for small and midsize businesses to help these companies manage electronic information, emails and other records better than they ever have. Solutions can now learn where users file a certain email or document and ask if they want to access that same file when doing a similar task next time.
Mobility is one of the current issues driving the industry forward. Neil Araujo, CEO of one document management company, said his customers are looking to access information better anywhere, anytime via smartphones and tablets.
“It’s actually driven the demand for DM in a way,” he says. “If you have corporate information sitting on file servers or on your local PC, it’s not accessible from a mobile device because it’s not easy to sync them. Having a central store where you can manage the information opens the door for you to access the file from almost anywhere and work with it.”