Electronic Filing has become a need rather a luxury in speaking for law firms and other organizations. Managing letters, emails, contracts, briefs , videos all these documents can be overwhelming if there is not a standardized system for organizations today more ever than before. The question is can there be ways of storing documents in a manner that security is not compromised while keeping workflow and productivity running smoothly? The answer is YES!
Here are top 5 E-Filing practices that will ensure security
- When matter is created, start with a simple folder structure, and allow users the permission to add folders.
- Preliminary folder for a possible future document, a work in progress document
- A folder for any written or digital communication, letters, text messages, voicemails, notes
- A folder for firm content, bills, lawyers and notes.
- Root Folder- This folder is the highest folder in the hierarchy. It should contain all other folders in the drive. This is like the starting point where all branches originate from. There should be subfolders and sub-subfolders, allowing lawyers to tailor the file structure to fit the requirement of the matter. The limit of these folders should be only to 3 levels to ensure control.
- Use standardized naming standards- This is very important to have for a firm to collaborate when multiple users are working on a client matter. For example. “Smith photos May-15-2015.doc” instead of “Smith.doc” will be easier to locate when you’re searching as opposed to “Smith” correspondence. Meaningful names and topics can also be useful when managing documents hence increasing productivity.
- Matter-Centricity- Law firms should have tools to make email management easy, this can be done by automating the filing of email platforms to their document management system. Most lawyers are choosing to file their emails in client-centric rather than matter-centric. A client/matter centric approach however allows a user to easily retrieve a document that have been stored for a particular client or for a particular matter for a client.
- Close information barriers and allow users easy access-Sharing content is part of any business. Process have to be in place to make sure that security is taken into consideration from regulatory and client point of view. This can become challenging when multiple users are working on a matter. Softwares can be put into place for this reason that can allow document check-in and check-out. Approval and routing rules can be defined who should see the document and in what order. This will allow the minimal interference of other users or departments while allowing users to adhere to policies, hence increasing security and improving productivity.