Cloud Computing as Lawyers’ Helper in Document Management

With the advancements in technology, email has become one of the most useful tools for all industries including the legal profession.  Email or electronic mail has allowed for faster exchange of documents and communication, which is essential in the practice of law.

Email itself should be considered as a form of document that should be covered by the system of document management.  So how does this figure into the need of law firms to use cloud computing?

Document Management

From a traditional standpoint, a document is a type of information storage, and from a technological perspective managing documents can refer to its orderly storage to allow for faster retrieval.  Document management also takes into account the safe storage of information and with the introduction of cloud computing, its mobility.

By using document management, information becomes a powerful and useful tool.  When applied to the field of law, it gives law firms the ability to search, retrieve, organize, annotate, and share documents in a more efficient and effective manner.

By adding email into the mix, the traditional document management system becomes a document and email management system that allows the movement of information using electronic networks.  By putting legal documents in a central storage you create a legal-centric system that will make a law firm more effective in dealing with client needs and concerns.

Why should law firms use cloud computing for document and email management?

Evaluating Systems for Attorneys

The first important thing to recognize is that not all document and email management systems are equal.  This means that in the context of the legal profession, there are certain functionalities that attorneys can find extremely useful when the system runs in the cloud.  What are functionalities you should be on the lookout for?

  • Economical – by moving your document and email management system into the cloud, you lessen the cost of operation and maintenance that usually accompanies on-site systems. The economic benefits are further heightened by the flexibility and scalability of cloud-based systems.
  • Organization – attorneys will find better use for information if they are organized based on the matter covered. This means that organizing information based on clients or subject matter will be easier to retrieve and more useful.
  • Tracking – cloud-based systems incorporate email functionality that will allow attorneys not only to keep track of the subject matter, but also other essential information like sender, recipient, time stamp, and attachments. This gives them a usable timeline for all information.
  • Integration – let’s face it, majority of law firms are running computer systems using Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office Suite. Easily integrating your current system to a cloud-based one will make the transition faster and easier with relatively less platform-related issues.  This is important in effective document management.
  • History – when editing shared documents it is important that every version of the document, from its original form, is kept track of. The history of the document includes taking note not only of the changes made but also the people responsible for the changes.  When a document is being used by an attorney, it should be flagged as such so that there are no confusions on its current ownership.  This limits problems with simultaneous document modification.  By keeping track of the document history, an accurate audit trail is created.
  • Integration – another useful functionality of cloud-based systems is the easy integration of other features like scanning and faxing to efficiently reduce the need for paper files. This makes storage and sharing faster as well as provides more security for the document.
  • Additional Information – storage of additional information like metadata will give attorneys an insight about the document to make commenting, categorizing, and annotating easier. This can be done privately to preserve client confidentiality.
  • Speed – with faster indexing and searching functionality, attorneys should not find it difficult to cope with deadlines. Because information can be retrieved, sent, and modified faster, more cases can be handled more efficiently.

If these are not enough reasons for law firms to use cloud computing for document and email management, how about adding management-free technology for lawyers?

Contact NexStep now to find out how your law firm can put this cloud computing technology to good use and let your law office run efficiently with cloud based law management.