How Better Document Management Can Drive Better Client Relationships

Most lawyers think about document management as the tool they need to store and find the work product that they and their colleagues create. But, the most advanced DMS solutions do much more – providing better knowledge and supporting the collaboration that leads to stronger and more profitable client relationships.

What Today’s Clients Want

In their annual study released in January, BTI Consulting reports that “Corporate counsel recognized fewer law firms in 2015 for superior client service than 2014.” The firms that remain at the top of the list are highly focused on their clients’ needs and provide legal advice that is grounded in deeply understanding their client’s business.  And though this report focuses on the largest firms, the conclusions are relevant for firms of all sizes.

In fact, in a straightforward analysis of additional research, BTI demonstrates the qualities of clients say drive superior relationships. Of the four factors that top the list for truly differentiating a law firm, number one is “Understanding the Client’s Business” and number two is “Client Focus.”

Client Teams Respond

BTI’s research underscores messages that law firms have been hearing for years. Indeed, many firms have drawn a page from the Accounting industry creating Client and Project Teams of 2 to dozens of lawyers who regularly share information about the legal needs of their clients, research business issues affecting the client, and coordinate legal services.

Today, according to the LexisNexis Business of Law blog, 80 percent of all law firms have client team programs.  Yet, despite the near ubiquity of client and industry teams at law firms of all size, the same LexisNexis Business of Law blog reports that just 39% of firms say these teams are “successful.”

Why Aren’t Firms Seeing More Success?

Many factors account for why teams fail (from cultural and leadership issues to support and technology problems).  Difficulty sharing important information clearly hurts the ability of the lawyers to keep abreast of the latest client or industry news, track relevant new matters opened up by others, collaborate and respond proactively to client concerns.

And that’s where the right technology can give lawyers a needed edge.

Sharing Empowers Lawyers to Deliver Better Service

Social media platforms like Linked-In, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, blogs, etc. have shown us how sharing information empowers people in multiple ways. We should be able to harness the same benefits inside our firms.  Think how powerful a team of lawyers could be if it had immediate and easy access to documents of all kinds, from spreadsheets and emails to attractive marketing brochures and client newsletters, from court filings to billing history, regardless of where the data was stored (on PCs, Tablets or in a central system).

Because virtually all DMS systems rely on lawyers and staff to manually upload and tag documents, they only capture 50% of the information created by the firm. And, finding information is an unreliable undertaking.  So lawyers rarely consider a traditional DMS as an effective collaboration tool.

Until now, a few technology providers have offered solutions, but most are expensive, complicated or directed to the largest firms.  That’s why we developed MetaJure, an automated DMS technology that’s powerful, affordable and easy-to-use.

How MetaJure Helps

MetaJure’s flexibility allows lawyers to share information just within a particular industry or client team group so that everyone can stay up to date. The program runs in the background and integrates seamlessly with all other firm software, so that attorneys can quickly identify any potential client conflicts or review the latest draft of a brief without having to switch from one program to another.

We all know that colleagues are a rich source of experience, information and advice and that sharing information and bouncing ideas, theories and issues off of your team is how many problems get solved. Being able to access all the knowledge accumulated in your law firm quickly and easily is the simplest and most powerful thing you can do to supercharge your practice. Now, technology can you help make that happen.