The legal services sector deals with a lot of documents. That’s no revelation and is, for the most part, the nature of the beast. Yet, as the sector evolves and auditors demand clear and instantaneous visibility over documents – and as firms recognise the shortcomings associated with storing documents in a fragmented fashion – the need for change becomes apparent.
Inbox-centric document management describes the process of an individual filing, accessing and amending documents in a way that inadvertently makes it difficult for colleagues or auditors to scramble together the bigger picture of a case. This approach is commonplace and typically involves the use of email inboxes and/or disjointed files, supported by basic technology infrastructure. It can make locating specific documentation quickly and efficiently an impossible task. It compromises data integrity and can have a direct impact on both productivity and profitability.
In contrast, a matter-centric approach creates holistic visibility; it provides a bird’s eye view of documents, events, tasks, contacts and corresponding discussions. Facilitated by Microsoft SharePoint-based technology, matter-centric document management systems provide a structured and intuitive interface that, combined with automated metadata assignment to content, empowers users to locate relevant content with speed and precision.
“A matter-centric approach creates holistic visibility; it provides a bird’s eye view of documents, events, tasks, contacts and corresponding discussions.”
Matter-centric document management also takes the pain out of the auditing process, as one of Manitoba’s largest law firms, Taylor McCaffrey LLP, recently discovered. Keen to match The Manitoba Law Society’s preference for matter-centric document management, the Canadian firm replaced its basic, albeit functional, inbox-centric electronic file system with Contentworker by Formpipe.
The firm’s lawyers are now able to quickly and easily navigate their favourite and/or recent matters, as well as matters they don’t own but are involved in. The matter-centric nature of the Contentworker system provides an instant tree view of all relevant documents and data. It allows users to drag-and-drop, as well as personalise their interface with tabs containing current works that are instantly accessible. The firm’s lawyers can also use the system’s quick search functionality to locate matters through a variety of search criteria, including name, number or by one of several metadata fields.
Switching to matter-centric document management means the firm can accommodate auditors’ demands, remove the admin-based limitations associated with its previous method, retrieve the right documents quickly, and have 100% confidence in the integrity of the data contained within them.
To find out more about Taylor McCaffrey LLP’s journey from inbox managers to highly productive case managers, click here.