Why Do Legal Departments and Law Firms Need DMS?
Legal departments and law firms have more stringent requirements when it comes to preserving documents than just about any other industry domestically or even overseas.
Most legal departments in any industry are required to store HR documents and other information regarding employees securely and for at least 5 years—meaning that the physical filing process can lead to document damage and wear—perhaps blurring or blotting out the information legal departments need to retain information.
But relying on a document management system for storage changes that. Thus, this is one of the many reasons digital storage is becoming increasingly easy and secure for those in the legal profession.
DMS helps law firms, legal departments, and private law practices alike manage court records, transcripts, case files, arrest records, affidavits, evidence files, witness testimonies, contracts, and more—all while reducing operating costs.
A trend toward digitization within the legal industry has already begun from the top down: For instance, although not all law firms have DMS or similar technologies, the Supreme Court uses an Enterprise Content Management solution very similar to a document management system, but is built for larger organizations to manage records, documents, and other legally relevant information.
How J.E. Sutton & Associates Benefits from the eFileCabinet Document Management System
Stacy Mahar, Paralegal at J.E. Sutton & Associates, describes how DMS has impacted productivity at her law firm:
“We decided to look into a document management system to bring our firm into the future. Document storage has always been very space-intensive, and using a document management system would enable us to go digital and reduce our storage needs, as well as decrease the time spent searching for older documents.
eFileCabinet has been beneficial and allowed us to be more productive while expending less time on menial tasks. It definitely cuts down the aggravation of searching through extensive paper documents to find a single page. Additionally, we have been able to decrease paper costs by storing certain documents electronically rather than in hard copy form.”
Keeping information accessible in both paper and digitized format, in order to accommodate both citizens’ and legal practitioners’ access to the law, has prevented the adoption of enterprise-grade technology in the legal profession for over a decade.
However, despite the industry keeping items in paper format for consumer purposes, the document management system is gaining a foothold in law firms’ internal operations—providing the security and data backup that regulatory oversight cannot ignore.
Legal professionals are becoming increasingly attracted to the document management system product offering, as it increases efficiency and therefore the ability to earn more billable hours and cases.
Additionally, the use of a cloud-based document management system and its mobile applications, which provide a secure window into all of a law firms’ information and records, can increase the presence of women in the legal profession.
Although the majority of industries have a greater percentage of women comprising their workforce, the presence of women in the legal profession has decreased to the chagrin of the industry, and in large part because of the difficulty that comes with juggling family and work in arguably the most demanding profession in the world.
A document management system can resolve this issue via cloud-based and mobile solutions without sacrificing women’s access to the information necessary to do their jobs successfully—which they can do through mobile DMS anywhere there is an internet connection.
Those who work in legal departments already know how the ESIGN Act pertains to signatures: that particular act makes digital signatures as legally binding as their physical counterparts.
However, the UETA Act differs from the ESIGN Act because it applies only to transactions where each party involved has agreed to conduct transactions only through electronic means—signifying how commerce has shifted, at least within the United States, to accommodate the proliferation of digital and electronic signatures beyond the scope of legal necessity, because they are also more cost-effective than traditional signatures.
The Uniform Electronic Transactions Act was among the first comprehensive acts to ensure the United States’ preparedness for the digital era of commerce, although many individual states had signed into legislation acts accommodating the phenomenon prior to any national intervention.
Using digital signature integration with a document management system can further expedite and streamline internal processes for organizations.
Defining Standards, Regulations, Directives, and Rules in the Document Management System Context
In searching for the right document management system, many legal professionals need to understand the compliance claims that many vendors make regarding their software. Therefore, understanding these terms as they apply to technology is useful.
A standard is a predetermined set of guidelines or objectives that guarantee services and products fulfill their intended purposes.
Have legally binding jurisdiction throughout every member state of a particular union or country, and are specified as enforceable on a particular calendar date.
Define certain objectives that must be achieved, but subdivisions of the nation, such as states, are free to choose how the objective is achieved.
A legal case or precedent that has settled a pertinent legal question.
To learn more about how a document management system can help your legal department or law firm ensure compliance, visit eFileCabinet’s product page.
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