Should a medium or small law firm invest in a Document Management System? Yes.
Enterprise search sounds so powerful… can that be used instead? Could you instead leave everything as it is, where it is, and apply Enterprise Search to make it accessible firm-wide?
I don’t know of a search solution yet, that eliminates the need for a DMS.
What does DMS do that ES cannot?
Creation, collaboration, history
- DMS is very good at supporting the creation lifecycle for documents. It ensures two people don’t simultaneously ‘check out’ the same document for revision.
- DMS provides a collaborative central place, with standard classification, for each billable matter or project.
- DMS supports versions and audit history on documents. You can create a new version to reflect changes requested by the client. The system tracks when the document was saved, and who has viewed it.
Security – Ethical Walls, Conflicts, and Privacy
- An Enterprise Search is only as risk-proof as the security placed on the underlying documents. If the security of sensitive documents is left up to the ongoing habits of individuals, human error makes it almost inevitable that documents will be returned in results to the wrong searcher.
- DMS – Ethical wall processes. Automated security. Traceability.
- Conscious contribution is still crucial. Who is ready to make all their email visible firm-wide?
- Per-matter lifecycle guided by Records Management principles.
- Discovery orders? 15 year-old emails, 20 GB inboxes, and Exchange backup tapes.
What’s your experience been? Make a comment and join the discussion!