Clients entrust their most sensitive data to law firms, be it commercial or personal data. They have an inherent belief that the firm will treat this data with integrity and will not put them at risk.
Nothing will destroy trust between a client and a firm quicker than a data leak or the firm being found in breach of regulatory requirements.
Living up to this trust is a tough ask and it’s not getting any easier. Lawyers need to create, store, locate, collaborate and archive or dispose of all documents related to a matter and ‘documents’ can now consist of electronic documents, scanned images, paper documents, emails and other types of communications.
Doing all of this efficiently, securely and within a robust information governance framework is impossible with a single vendor solution. It requires an integrated set of best of breed solutions, all working to help drive the information flow within the firm. A set of solutions that are simply ‘better together’.
The creation of a document in a consistent and presentable form is essential in promoting the firm’s value and brand. A properly formatted document improves readability and provides the foundation for effective communication and collaboration with clients. Producing professional documents however, is often considered the #1 overhead item and as such efficiencies surrounding the document can provide firms with a distinct competitive advantage by reducing the overall cost of service delivery.
The initial creation of a document is the first step in the cycle, however once created, the nature of firm service delivery and compliance requires:
- An efficient iterative evolution of the document (including client collaboration) on the road to final form.
- Easy and efficient access to the document for potential reuse.
- Accurate tracking including its precise location throughout its lifecycle.
To facilitate the above, the initial storage of the document is critical. The ability to rapidly store the document centrally (including paper documents) within an electronic matter file, with appropriate security and agreed protocols, is the foundation for future accessibility and compliance. Not to mention that from a security and business continuity perspective the benefits of electronic documents are clear.
Search and retrieve
Creating and storing the vast amount of information that go to make up a matter requires an effective mechanism for organisation and retrieval. Having all records, digital or physical, at your electronic fingertips means the days of your client or employees having a long wait for a document, or file, to be pulled from your archives are over. Further, powerful indexing capabilities mean that complex searches can be accomplished in a matter of seconds and the results delivered wherever the user needs them.
If your teams can find information easily it quickly leads to improved productivity and a more agile service delivery, enabling your firm to remain ahead of the rest, in an ever increasingly competitive environment.
Share and collaborate
Firms need to share, compare and collaborate on documents… Lots of them! With colleagues that work off-site, clients, partner firms and with outside consultants. You need to provide an environment to allow this. One that won’t compromise on security and governance, and that can be deployed easily or, if required, tailored to meet the needs of your firm and your clients.
Archive and dispose
The effort associated with effective management of records, both physical and electronic has proved so great that many firms simply retain all information for ever. This has implications for space and storage as well as leaving the firm at risk of contravening regulatory and outside counsel guidelines. Implementation of a formal, automated process for disposal and archiving which adheres to pre-agreed principles and protocols, makes sure your firm stays compliant while simultaneously making life simpler.