Why traditional document management solutions give law firm heads a raging headache
The biggest challenge of deploying traditional document management systems (DMS) is human unpredictability. Systems such as NetDocuments, Worldox and iManage rely on human beings following established protocols to create a profile for every document entered into the system, specify whether something is a contract, agreement, brief or pleading, not to mention the name of the client, client number, and the like.
“Human unreliability is why, even in law firms with a robust DMS,
their systems capture less than 50 percent of all firm documents.”
That’s why partners, legal technology committees and IT departments at law firms of all sizes spend days, if not weeks, trying to agree on ideal structures (“taxonomies”) and tagging conventions for their document filing, storage and retrieval process. Worse, as soon as they’ve developed the structure, it can become obsolete. The moment a corporate client changes its name or the firm brings on a group of partners from another firm whose documents employ an entirely different naming convention, the system breaks. It’s enough to make anyone contemplating a new DMS reach for the medicine cabinet.
Manually Uploading Documents is Particularly Problematic
Perhaps the largest frustration occurs when lawyers forget to upload and save their documents to the central server in the first place. Confidentiality concerns, limited or poor training, lack of time, security and privacy issues, especially in relation to emails, and the fact that so many documents are now created on mobile devices all explain why lawyers and staff don’t always comply with established document management protocols.
Indeed, human unreliability is why, even among those law firms that deploy a robust document management system, less than 50 percent of all firm documents are actually captured. Such a statistic is enough to give any Firm Chair, Ethics Committee Head or General Counsel a whopping headache, since their firm could be liable for not being in compliance with e-discovery laws and other rules that mandate maintaining copies of all documents, including correspondence, related to client matters.
A Painless Solution
Fortunately, next-generation, fully automated DMS technologies such as MetaJure put an end to these pain points. Designed by lawyers for lawyers and other firm end users, rather than by IT experts and back office specialists, MetaJure leverages automation to eliminate the headache and time firms waste uploading, profiling, locating and retrieving documents.
Unlike paper documents, electronic files don’t need to be kept together to be searchable, as long as they are somewhere in the system, be it on a partner’s hard drive, an associate’s laptop or a paralegal’s Android or iPhone. It’s just like the World Wide Web: no one organizes it, and yet you can find almost anything because Google indexes everything for you.
Automation also means you no longer need to manually tag, profile or otherwise categorize documents. Search technology is now sufficiently sophisticated that documents can be easily and quickly located and retrieved from multiple devices by conducting a simple keyword search the same way you would do a search in Google or Chrome.