TLOMA today: Why document management delivers the greatest impact for law firms

Recent research named document management systems (DMS) as today’s most important legal technology for law firms. In this article for TLOMA Today, Tikit’s Virginio Basile* explains why that’s the case and why the right DMS can now make such a big difference to firms of any size.

According to the 2018 Aderant Business of Law and Technology Survey, document management systems (DMS) is the technology that delivers the greatest impact to legal firms today.1 This is so despite the fact that the first generation of DMS technology has been around since the 1990s. So why has DMS suddenly catapulted to the #1 position? I believe the answer lies in the increasing pressure firms are now feeling to give clients exactly what they want. And what clients now really, really want from law firms is for their data to be extremely well protected and at the same time, for their legal documents to be accessible whenever and wherever required.

What hackers know

The trouble is that hackers are well aware that law firms regularly handle very high‐value data. This includes detailed information on acquisitions, on mergers and on disputes – in other words a whole litany of sensitive transactions. This is material which hackers can lucratively monetize fairly easily, and which also has the potential to devastate a client’s share price.

Moreover, hackers are learning that – alarmingly for clients – law firms are very often the weakest link in the information security chain. This is because firms often struggle to make an adequate investment in information security provision. Also, all too often, law firms don’t make as much effort as they should to educate their staff – all their staff – on information security hygiene. This is relevant because a surprisingly large proportion of security breaches are inadvertently (and sometimes maliciously) caused by staff themselves. A 2018 UK Government survey, for instance, found that fully 75% of reported data security breaches among the 778 businesses surveyed were the result of fraudulent emails or websites directed at, and mishandled by, staff.2

The remedy is simple 

The solution, however, is simple, and what’s more is close at hand, no matter what size of firm is involved. It’s simply this: give custodianship of your clients’ data to a third‐party which happens to first and foremost deliver a trusted security platform. In other words, a cloud‐based DMS supplier.

Thereafter, when clients ask: “How is my data being looked after?” the firm can demonstrate that the highest standards are being adhered to. Clients can rest assured that your firm is providing the data privacy and information security they want. They know that information is being held in compliance with regulatory requirements. They also know that your data security provision is fully auditable. In short, a cloud‐based DMS can deliver unassailable information governance.

At the same time, because a cloud‐based DMS can provide secure, controlled, anytime/anywhere access to data, clients will get the capacity to share documents and collaborate safely which they now demand. The system also takes care of document governance so that users know they’re always using the correct version and changes are immediately synchronized.

An added bonus is that cloud‐based DMS also deliver robust business continuity management and ironclad disaster recovery – taking these concerns off the plate of the in‐house IT team and freeing up resource to focus on refining systems which improve the client experience.

Client satisfaction

Back in the day, information security provision was an expensive business which big law was able to throw a lot of money at, but which was much more problematic for smaller firms. Today’s cloud‐based DMS supply the software as a pay‐as‐you‐go service, bringing the cost of ownership within reach of any size of firm.

Meanwhile, today’s emphasis is on client satisfaction. So, strangely, what firms now want from DMS has changed almost 180 degrees from what was wanted back in the 1990s when these systems were new. The fact is that the productivity gains related to knowledge sharing and document access of DMS are now a given for firms. What now matters is clients. They want assurance that their documents are safeguarded and handled with extreme care. This is why the new generation of cloud‐based DMS is now the most potent technology in a firm’s arsenal. Because, at an accessible price, it supplies the security, compliance and collaboration which clients now desire.

Virginio is presenting a webinar on May 1st, 2019 (1pm EST), in which he will be discussing the key factors in selecting a DMS. Click here to find out more or to register. 

If you are not able to make the webinar we are running a series of events across Canada in partnership with NetDocuments and ILTA. We will be discussing how firms can bolster security and compliance with cloud technology’.

We will be visiting the following cities:

May 1         Vancouver        At Earls Yaletown

May 7         Calgary             At McLennan Ross LLP

May 8         Edmonton        At McLennan Ross LLP

May 16       Winnipeg         At

May 21       Toronto            At 

May 23      Montreal          At 

May 29      Halifax             A

Click here to find out more or to register.



2 See: Cyber_Security_Breaches_Survey_2018_‐_Main_Report.pdf

* Virginio Basile is Tikit’s Vice President Professional Services, North America. Tikit is a world‐leader in technology solutions for law firms and supplies NetDocuments, the market’s leading cloud‐based document and email management solution. To learn more about NetDocuments and its capabilities, contact Virginio at