The Complete Guide to Legal Document Management

legal document management storage scanning maximize practice productivityLegal practices manage thousands of legal documents in their vast archives for attorneys and legal practitioners to later reference. They cover a wide range of litigation documents, case files, reports, transcripts, and other evidential information. This pressing need for legal document management presents a series of diverse challenges.

However, traditional efforts to maintain on-site paper-based legal records storage will quickly force issues. These can include space conservation, accessibility frustrations, and work inefficiencies when legal practices opt to handle the challenges that come with legal document management themselves.

Throughout this white paper, we take an in-depth look at the alternative legal document storage, scanning, and management services that law firms, legal departments, and courts alike are now turning to to maximize their efficiency and ensure their litigation documents are managed in a secure, accessible, space-saving system or environment. Learn more about some of the best ways to streamline practice productivity with more efficient ways to store, access, and utilize your legal documents.

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Table of Contents

Efficiency Challenges Facing Legal Document Management Today

How Legal Document Management Services Can Improve Practice Productivity

Streamlining Litigation Using Legal Records Storage, Scanning, and Digital Management Services

Off-Site Records Storage and Management

Legal Document Scanning, Conversion, and Indexing

Legal Document Management Systems and Software

Final Considerations & Additional Resources

Efficiency Challenges Facing Legal Document Management Today

challenges in legal document management Given the volumes of past case files and litigation documents in the legal sector, an efficient system for managing these files is crucial for law firms, legal departments, and courts to meet accessibility, security, and document retention requirements.

However, despite the need for access to numerous records, transcripts, and files, self-managed legal document management can quickly present a host of unique challenges. The challenges range from limited space struggles and security risks to unnecessary labor and costs.

As a result, many law practices can be caught in the conundrum of needing regular access to relevant case files and information, but without having an efficient way to manage the space needed to store their paper documents in-house.

Dealing with legal document management issues, such as document security and long-term storage, can be challenging for a law firm as they assess the efficiency of their internal systems and practices amid increasing storage needs.

A New Solution: How Legal Document Management Services Can Improve Practice Productivity

lawyers law firm how legal document management services boost practice efficiencyThe legal industry retains documents longer than most. Besides the numerous, everyday administrative documents and financial files all businesses need to store, a legal practice’s single case file can reach upwards of 1,000 pages or more. This causes the number of legal documents needing storage to quickly spiral out of control.

Practices of all kinds have a critical need for ensuring their firm has proper document management processes and systems in place to more efficiently handle the previous headaches that come with self-managed on-site legal document storage and organization. Regardless of the type of law your practice specializes in, all firms and legal departments must have a legal document management system that’s well thought out to truly optimize the efficiency of their legal practice.

Providing a perfect solution, off-site legal records storage services allow practices to export entire legal libraries to secure off-site locations. Records can still be quickly referenced but without the need to dedicate finances and floor space to filing cabinets instead of other more productive uses.

Another option for dealing with legal document management issues is legal document scanning and digital storage software. This can help streamline the usability of litigation.

For firms and practices with storage space issues, legal document management systems help to cut down on storage space and its costs like off-site storage. They also provide maximum accessibility benefits for case files, records, and litigation documents needing frequent reference.

By taking the documents occupying valuable office space and converting them to digital legal documents with the help of a local scanning provider, legal practices enjoy advantages ranging from eDiscovery tools to full-text document imaging OCR recognition. Both maximize the efficiency of their own work, as well as provide improved client service with fewer delays.

Legal document management software and systems offer remote instant access to editable case files and documents for authorized attorneys and employees. Practices can easily code, encrypt, and secure every piece of evidence, courtroom transcript, and case document in the system to provide easy accessibility without sacrificing document security.

Streamlining Litigation Using Legal Records Storage, Scanning, and Digital Management Services

the benefits of a legal document management system

Our network of local contractors works to provide law firms, legal departments, and courts with helpful and customizable solutions to improve the efficiency of their legal document management processes. We have options ranging from legal document scanning and conversion to paper and digital document management and storage.

Here are just a few of the comprehensive legal document management services available to law firms and practices across the nation:

Off-Site Records Storage and Management

Besides the standard personnel files, administrative documents, and other confidential information all businesses must retain, law practices often need to archive and store records from past cases for later reference.

However, despite the need to hang on to old legal documents, record inventories can quickly add up. In turn, this forces the issue of limited real estate and poses serious roadblocks to storing and managing large legal libraries.

As a result, off-site records storage options can often provide ideal solutions to such quandaries. They not only come with advantages like newly available office space but also offer benefits, including:

Improved Organization

Off-site legal records storage facilities take document management and storage to the fullest extent of their meaning. They provide document organization and indexing to streamline document retrieval and re-filing processes.

Heightened Legal Document Security

Off-site legal records storage service providers manage documents in secure facilities geared to protect records from risks like break-ins, natural disasters, and other hazards. The facilities are fireproof, temperature and climate-controlled, and protected from floods. They offer 24/7 surveillance and live patrol. Furthermore, access controls ensure that only individuals able to access stored records have prior approval.

Document Retention and Destruction Management

Once legal documents reach their required retention times or no longer need to be kept, off-site storage services can help firms safely complete the document life cycle with coordination from a secure document shredding service.

24/7 Document Retrieval

Many off-site record storage providers additionally offer law practices the option to access any document or case file at any time. Typically, legal documents can be retrieved by the same or the next business day. However, most companies will offer emergency retrieval services for unusual situations as well.

Greater Efficiency While Saving Space

As before, filing cabinets and office storage rooms take up valuable floor space. By storing legal documents off-site, however, you can now use the space for more productive purposes instead.

Legal Document Scanning, Conversion, and Indexing

legal document management with scanningSince the legal industry depends on documents that often need to be retained for long periods, the industry has continued using paper documents longer than most.

To better manage the storage for large legal libraries, many turn to off-site storage facilities. 

However, with newer technologies now beginning to emerge alongside off-site storage, legal document scanning services are working to provide courts, law firms, and legal departments additional options for streamlining their document management processes.

Here are a few benefits legal document scanning and conversion services offer:

Full Inventory Conversions and Day-Forward Scanning

From entire legal libraries to individual legal documents being scanned in and added to legal document management systems as needed, scanning service providers eliminate the time and cost of self-managed record filing. Instead, they help to more efficiently label, index, and store documents in a paperless format.

Greater Accessibility

Digital legal documents can be instantly and simultaneously shared with attorneys, employees, or other necessary parties. Paperless documents remove the need and costs for printing multiple copies, on top of helping to minimize or eliminate duplicate and outdated files in the system. In addition, employees will be able to access the files remotely with an internet connection.

Improved Usability and Version Control

Legal document scanning services also come with benefits like full-text document imaging and Optical Character Recognition (OCR). This allows you to actively edit and update your documents in a digital format. Your legal department will be able to work more efficiently and collaboratively.

A Greener Way to Manage Paperless Legal Documents

Scanning also helps to make paper use more efficient and environmentally friendly by cutting down on paper consumption. In turn, it reduces the carbon footprints of courts, law firms, and legal departments.

Legal Document Management Systems and Software

legal document management software increases accessibility and efficiencyStorage needs for paper documents growing at nearly 25% each year. Document storage and management is an increasingly pressing concern for even the average office to address.

Legal document management software is an ideal solution for legal practices which often have especially large document inventories and archives. These systems can take the thousands, if not millions of documents kept in a legal office and instead store them in accessible and space-saving digital document libraries.

Here are just a few of the benefits a legal document management systems and software can offer:

Improved Organization

Legal document management software takes document management and storage to the fullest extent of its meaning. Indexing, labeling, and organizing all legal records as you scan them helps to reduce spending time previously on locating, copying, and re-filing paper documents after use.

Saved Space

While off-site records storage can open up precious office space, legal document management services and software take saving space to the next level. For a frame of reference, a single, $100 hard drive can hold up to 2.7 million documents. On the other hand, storing 2.7 million paper documents requires 68 four-drawer filing cabinets. These usually cost around $100 for one cabinet alone.

Maximum Accessibility, Retrieval, and Discovery Speed

Multiple attorneys or remote employees can access their digital legal documents using document management systems. Access levels can be assigned to determine who can view and edit each document. Additionally, early case assessment tools like eDiscovery, allow legal practices to streamline time previously spent sifting through documents.

Increased Document Security

When legal documents use legal document management software, records can be encrypted and password-protected. It’s like placing a digital padlock around highly sensitive information that is customizable with specific access controls to limit chances for misuse.

Efficient Document Version Control

Legal document management software and systems provide meticulous tracking for any changes to files to help with managing version control. Additionally, because documents actively update to reflect changes, the DMS ensures no one will be working on older document versions and eliminates duplicate files.

Considerations to Keep in Mind

how legal document management services boost practice efficiencyThe difficulties and concerns associated with managing legal documents can drag down the overall efficiency of legal practices. They also can make it difficult for law firms, legal departments, and courts to determine the best strategy for addressing their needs.

To help ensure the options you may now be considering for your own firm will be a suitable solution, here are a few final guidelines to keep in mind when the time comes to make your decision:

Consider Your Document Retention Needs to Find a Fitting Solution

While some legal documents may be active and need regular use, other files including personnel or financial records and old case files needing long-term storage for later reference may not be relevant to store in a legal document management system. They may even need extra secure storage because of confidential information.

If so, legal practices can customize hybrid document storage and digital management solutions to get the best of both worlds.

Ensure Legal Documents are Safely and Securely Shredded After Scanning

Once a legal document has been converted to a digital file, practices do not need to keep these paper records.

Keeping these around or casually disposing of them in the trash after scanning can pose significant security threats. Your chances for leaks, breaches, and theft of sensitive legal documents can increase. Instead, be sure you have a clear data destruction and document shredding program in place to ensure confidential information remains confidential.

Looking for Legal Document Management Services? Get Free and Competitive Quotes from Nearby Providers Today!

At Record Nations, we partner with a nationwide network of the top providers in legal document management solutions. With options ranging from secure off-site records storage to legal document scanning services and even legal document management software and system solutions, we can connect your practice with the services you need.

For more information on any of our legal document management scanning or software solutions or a free estimate, simply fill out the form, use the live chat, or just give us a call today at (866) 385-3706. Within minutes, you’ll get free and competitive quotes on legal document management services from a local provider in your area.

Additional Legal Document Management Resources

Why Use Scanning Services for Legal Documents?

Law firms and legal practices can operate under mountains of paperwork. Without a well-thought-out strategy for managing their legal libraries, workflow can seemingly grind to a halt with just the time it takes to locate files. Here, we take a closer look at legal document scanning as an alternative option to such issues. We break down the pros and cons to help determine if a paperless law practice is the right fit.

Laws and Regulations Affecting Legal Document Storage and Scanning

It’s important firms and practitioners have a clear-cut understanding of the document management, destruction, and protection laws that impact their work. This is a handy guide highlighting the primary laws affecting legal document management. Additionally, get tips on how to ensure you remain in compliance.

Is Off-Site Records Storage the Right Solution for Legal Document Management?

Storing extensive paperwork and sensitive legal documents poses storage challenges due to their volume and retention requirements. Here, we weigh the decision to opt for an off-site legal records storage facility against potential reasons to pursue a different strategy to help firms find a solution that suits their storage needs.

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