Top 5 Litigation Document Management Practices For Law Firms
Posted on September 3rd, 2019
The document and records management tools help legal firms to review the hard copies of case information and save them in electronic documents. Moreover, a secure and reliable document repository helps the attorneys and the support staff to get quick access to the required information. As part of this, the structured storage of records, ease of access, alerts of security changes, and collaboration are some of the crucial factors of effective document management.
However, the law firms find it challenging to maintain the growing number of electronic/physical documents comprehensively. To help them address this, we will have a look at the best practices for effective litigation document management.
Though, Why is Litigation Document Management Important?
The law firms deal with large quantities of files. Such files contain information about staff, clients, caseloads, and other useful data of the company. Therefore, it may become difficult to maintain such a massive amount of files and documents.
A document management system offers many useful features, such as:
- Store lawsuit information using proper naming conventions
- Role-based access for attorneys, staff, and clients
- Keep confidentiality of caseloads
- Easy search & retrieval of documents using keywords, labels, and other search methods
- Share matter files in a comfortable & secure way
Litigation Document Management Best Practices
- Evaluate Record Lifecycle: Refer to your state, federal, legal, and regulatory laws that determine the duration to keep a particular type of document. Following that, you can create a strategy for your company’s report and record management systems. However, in most cases, litigation documents cannot be destroyed as any active or anticipated litigation may override the current document management process.
- Decide the Document Storage Method: Plan the naming and search method for physical, electronic, and email documents. Determine whether you want to keep paper records, electronic records, or both. Though, the documents containing signatures or legal stamps may need to be held in the original paper format. To simplify lawful processing and document management, you can take help of an experienced document management solution provider.
- Follow a Uniform Naming Convention: Create an agency-wide uniform naming convention. It will help for easy and quick identification of documents. A good naming convention can include the date, file name containing document info, and version number.
For Example, 140530_Monthly GSD Report_V2.doc (here, ‘140530’ indicates the year 2014, month 05 (May), and date 30. ‘Monthly GSD Report’ is a file name, and ‘V2’ is document version)
Tip: Do not use special characters in the file name. Using spaces, underscores, and alphanumeric characters to name the file is a good practice.
- Create Document Litigation Support Database: Law firms use two types of support databases for litigation documents:
1. Full-text database
2. Document summary database
The full-text database stores the whole record on the device and helps to search for a complete listing. The document summary database comprises summary and general information of a file or document.
However, for accurate document coding and searching credibility, you should use the combination of both these types of databases. Consider location, data input costs, flexibility, time, and documentation guidelines while creating a litigation document support database.
- Create Only Required Documents & Give Access: The technology advancements and paperless projects lead to generating more electronic documents. However, you should only create electronic copies of required lawsuit documents. Do not use email or instant messenger app for informal discussions. This practice will save time and efforts while reviewing the document repository as the attorneys will need to check the relevant litigation documents only.
Moreover, provide proper access rights to the legal records to streamline the security aspects. It will help your company to have total control over the files and users who are accessing them.
The ease of use, quick search and access, implementation speed, the security of the document, and sufficient storage are some of the critical considerations for an online document management system. As part of this, a litigation document management software provider can customize file storage and document retrieval capabilities as per the requirements. It will help law firms to save operational time and money while ensuring lawsuit confidentiality.