Legal Document Management Overview
Whether you're looking to keep your law firm up to date with the times, or simply get your documents more organized and easily searchable, document management software for law firms may just be what you need.
To make your search easier, we cover our top 5 picks for the best document management software for law firms in 2023. We'll discuss the essential details of each option and go over some of the burning questions that you might have to help you pick out the best solution for your law firm.
From cloud-driven solutions to granular on-premise products, today we're going to cover the document management software that will help you update your systems and processes to improve efficiency and accuracy when dealing with critical documents.
Good Legal Document Management Requirements:
- Legal document management starts with scanning & PDF support
- With legal file organization, a good layout is key
- Don't store legal files in a database
- With legal document management, compatibility matters
- Don't forget about WordPerfect
- Legal document sharing software
FileCenter: The Best for Attorneys
While building and improving FileCenter over the years we've taken feedback from hundreds of lawyers and partners to understand their problems and what they are looking for in a document system. We've also evaluated all alternatives to our software in order to produce the best software for law firms. Our software is fully featured, easy to use, and secure.
During one of our evaluations with a partner law firm who was testing FileCenter in parallel with other solutions, the alternative solution was hacked within hours and the firm had the wire transfer for a large real estate deal intercepted and nearly lost hundreds of thousands of dollars. We knew that security is of utmost importance to lawyers and at that very moment we understood exactly why.
We've made sure that our software is an asset to your firm's process and not software with a steep learning curve. What attorney has time to learn overly-complicated software?
Additionally, our software integrates with your workflow and doesn't require paralegals to re-learn new processes in order to digitize their documents.
Why We Recommend FileCenter
FileCenter understands law firms. FileCenter's founders and designers are attorneys themselves and have spent countless hours working directly with law firms to structure FileCenter around the unique requirements of a legal practice. FileCenter strives for compatibility with your other legal software, while giving you an intuitive file cabinet interface. Along with integrated scanning and PDF management, search capabilities, and a layout that's easy and comfortable, even for beginners, FileCenter legal document management will simplify the way you work and help your firm achieve peak efficiency.
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Frequently Asked Questions
1. What software do law firms use?
In today's modern world there are countless software solutions helping revolutionize the way law firms are handling every aspect of their operations, including going paperless.
Most commonly, you will find these types of software being employed in the legal field:
- Timekeeping, Invoicing & Billing
- Document Management (DMS)
- Online Payment Processing
- Productivity Tools
- Case Management
- Password Management
However, while there's nothing wrong with procuring several standalone software solutions that have in-depth functionality surrounding one given aspect, such as a – many practices opt into an all-in-one style practice management software that can do a little bit of everything.
2. Are case management and document management software the same thing?
Despite some popular misconceptions, legal case management software is in no way a full-fledged legal document management system. Though, in many cases, it does contain some degree of document management capabilities.
What sets a legal document management software apart from the various other solutions your law firm might be using is the fact that it has the capacity to both store and manage your documents. This includes managing things like the content of a document, its accessibility, and other relevant functions.
3. What is the best legal case management software?
Researching various software options when it comes to managing your clients' cases more effectively and efficiently can definitely be a bit overwhelming.
After all, you didn't go to law school just to have to figure out the intricacies of the modern tech-driven world as your second full-time job. This is why, even though we're here to cover the best document management software – we're happy to suggest some of the top-rated legal case management software and practice management software to go alongside it.
In 2023, many law firms across the United States opt into using the following legal case and practice management software solutions:
4. What is iManage software?
Whether you're looking to organize your firm's emails, secure your documents and other files or simply digitalize vital data in an effort to improve your firm's efficiency and reduce delays and case-lag due to excessive dated manual processing, getting a proper document management system is one of the most important steps that you can take.
Among all of the various options available on the market in today's day and age – iManage Work is one of the oldest players in the space. And with a 20-year history, it's no surprise that iManage is one of the first options many law firms consider to secure, organize and manage their documents and communication.
But what is the iManage software and what does it do?
At its heart, iManage is a document management software that allows you to organize vital emails and important documents into projects. Here, your data can be further organized into separate subdirectories, allowing for easy searchability and access, with a solid layer of security overtop.
Here are the core features that iManage boasts:
- Version management for documents
- Document check-in and check-out to prevent overlapping changes
- Scan your documents directly into iManage
- Easy integration with vital productivity suites like Microsoft Office
- Seamless searchability of documents and data
- Alerts and notifications on document changes
- Granular security and access settings for both individual users and groups
5. Is iManage the same as FileSite?
Despite some confusion, it's important to understand that iManage and FileSite are not one and the same. In fact, FileSite is a feature that was (in the past) a part of iManage. It was the Microsoft Outlook integration that allowed users to easily file and process their emails within the iManage environment.
However, as of the release of iManage 10.1, FileSite is no longer a part of the platform. This move away from the well-known component was made with performance improvement in mind.
From preventing card scanning crashes to providing a more light-weight experience with using Outlook together with iManage, the removal of FileSite certainly forced some firms to adapt to the more modern version of iManage. However, according to majority sentiment – the change was definitely one that was appreciated after the learning curve had passed.
Our Top 5 Legal Document Management Solutions This Year
First, we've got a reputable, reliable, and trusted document management solution that has been used by law firms across a large spectrum of operations for over a decade.
From the document management basics to in-depth functionality such as integrations with practice management solutions and data processing suites, Worldox has got it all.
Here are some of it's most notable feature offerings:
- Robust organization system & powerful searchability for files and documents
- Advanced version management allowing you to make updates on the fly, without the risk of ever losing important information as all previous versions are retained
- Powerful integrations with Tabs3 and ShareFile
- On-Premise solution with the option for a remotely-connected private cloud hosted variant
But, as with all things, there is a drawback to Worldox. This comes in the fact that it's primarily an on-premise solution. Though, if you don't want to purchase and maintain expensive servers on your own – they do offer a private cloud that your firm can remotely connect to.
However, this is still a far stretch from true-cloud solutions. This is less of a con rather than an important consideration as not all law firms can rely on a cloud-based solution, while others want the seamless functionality and range of ultra-modern features that the cloud typically offers.
Undeniably, it's hard to make a list of the top solutions in today's day and age without mentioning iManage. They are one of the longest-running providers with over 20 years of top-market experience behind their belts.
iManage is a powerful and incredibly robust solution and it's easily on par with some of the most modern solutions while retaining the solidity and flexibility their software is known for across many industries, not just law.
This solution primarily revolves around managing and organizing documents and emails and features very powerful organizational and search components that make document management an absolute breeze.
However, while it's certainly a fantastic choice for larger firms that have the extensive technological resources to install, integrate and maintain iManage – most smaller and up-and-coming firms may not find this to be the most intuitive or best-fitting option. This is due to the fact that akin to Worldox, it's primarily an on-premise solution. However, it requires far more additional resources to upkeep and has some hefty technical requirements to run in the first place.
If you're willing to sacrifice a little bit of the in-depth document-related functionality that specialized solutions offer in favor of a more all-in-one type of solution, ProLaw might just be the one for you.
While it definitely lacks a little bit of the document-centric features when compared to other solutions, it allows you to handle your firm's practice management, accounting, and the general breadth of document management needs in one place. This well-rounded practice management software is also excellent for law firms trying to modernize their practice as it's an excellent step up from a more dated approach, without the immense technological learning curve that comes with having several standalone solutions.
With a powerful range of feature offerings and a near-360 coverage for your core software needs, the ProLaw practice management software should definitely be on your radar. However, just like iManage and Worldox, ProLaw offers either an on-premise solution, with the alternative of a robust private cloud. Despite this, it's incredibly intuitive and does not require as much technological investment as either of the two aforementioned options, making it one of the best ways to ease into the world of on-premise solutions.
If your legal professionals use a mix of Windows and Mac devices to carry out their daily work, LexWorkspace is one of the only solutions that offer an incredibly powerful and intuitive matter-centric compatible with either operating system.
From version management and powerful matter-driven search and tag system to refined OCR and robust Outlook integration, they offer a wealth of powerful features that will help you manage your documents, without any of the technological complexities involved with many other solutions.
In addition to this, LexWorkspace is a fully cloud-based solution, which eliminates the need for any sort of technological investment towards the installation, integration, and upkeep of the solution. They employ the latest encryption technology for data in-transit and at-rest, alongside robust two-factor authentication to ensure the privacy of their clients' sensitive data.
So, if you need a solution that has all of the latest best-in-class capabilities, without the hassle of installing and maintaining an on-premise solution, LexWorkspace might just be what you're looking for.
Last, but certainly not least, we've got another one of the longest-running solutions on the market. NetDocuments was one of the first fully cloud-based solutions to serve a large variety of industries, law included.
It features a powerful Microsoft Office integration, helping you enhance the already robust productivity suite with secure document management capabilities. However, due to the fact that it's not a standalone solution but a simple software installation, they do not perform any form of data migrations. So, if you choose to opt for NetDocuments, you may need to contract a consultant to help you move your existing data into the platform.
With that said, the other potential drawback for some law firms is the fact that NetDocuments is not a matter-centric legal document management system and is not tailored specifically around law, given that the solution serves a wide range of industries.
However, the learning curve and technological complexity are relatively minimal in comparison to other top solutions, which makes it a fantastic starting option for law firms looking to make gradual changes to digitalize their operations over a longer period of time.
Whether you're looking to modernize your law firm or simply alleviate the burden of manual record-keeping to help your legal professionals focus more of their time on your clients' cases to improve efficiency and effectiveness – a software is one of the essential solutions that just about every law firm can greatly benefit from.
However, not all legal document management solutions are built equal. This is why today we've covered our top 5 picks for the best document management systems on the market in 2023. We've also answered some of the most popular questions that many law firms have when looking for the perfect legal document management solution for their firm and provided our personal insights into each of the top options.
We hope that after reading our overview, you now have a better idea of what the top providers have to offer, and potentially are even able to pen out an option onto your firm's software short-list.
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