As a legal professional, you deal with mounds of documents daily. Whether it is contracts, board minutes, emails or reports, quickly accessing and organizing your information is key to being successful and maximizing productivity. There are numerous ways you can choose to manage your valuable documents, but the most popular choice among legal teams today is legal matter management software.
With built-in document management features, legal matter management software helps you more efficiently and effectively manage all your documents, cases, files (and more)—all from a single location, within a single system. It allows you to collaborate with other offices through virtual sharing and a central location to store everything. Here’s a look at how one organization transformed their operations and productivity just by choosing a new software system to help them better manage their legal documents.
How Legal Software Can Foster Better Collaboration Among Offices
The Illinois Education Association (IEA), a group of more than 130,000 teachers, higher education faculty and staff, retired educators and college students, saw the need for legal case management software after they were having trouble collaborating and sharing files among their multiple office locations.
“We were struggling to find ways to enhance our processes and make our jobs more efficient,” said IEA Administrative Assistant Ann Holmes. “It was time-consuming just trying to share a document with a colleague. You could copy and mail the document, or scan and email it. It was overwhelming for everyone. We needed a tool that could better track all of our matters, including documents, phone logs, voicemails and email.”
One of the biggest challenges for the IEA legal staff was they had a system that could only store basic case information, but couldn’t store documents, phone logs or email. As a result, each person had their own system for storing documents and files on their computers. This led to inconsistency in naming, tracking and filing legal documents.
The organization decided a change was needed and after thoroughly researching options online and forming an internal software search committee, the organization selected Legal Files as their legal software provider.
How Document Management Tools Led to Increased Productivity Fast
The IEA legal team is regularly searching for documents to share among offices or team members in order to avoid duplicate work. A legal case management platform with built-in document management tools was just what team members needed to help them better conduct document searches as well as improve document organization. Some of the main features they utilized to improve efficiency and productivity included:
Document Routing, part of Legal Files’ built-in Document Management System, allowed IEA team members to electronically route documents to a single user or to multiple users at the same time with a note attached. This was very beneficial for sharing documents among team members in various office locations.
With Legal Files, documents are stored and cataloged in the file they reference, and thus easy to search, retrieve and route. Prior to implementing Legal Files, team members would have to copy and mail or scan every page of a document and then email accordingly. “Now, we just route it. This saves postage and can get to others immediately,” Holmes said. “Not only can you route a document, but you can see when it was routed and who has read it.”
With a built-in Document Assembly component, IEA can automate the generation of standard forms, letters, contracts and other case or matter-related correspondence. Virtually any data stored in a case or matter in the software can be used as a merge field for document assembly.
Fully integrated with Microsoft Word, the system allows you to create and edit documents in your word processor without ever having to leave the software. Plus, users have at their fingertips all the features of Microsoft Word for creating and formatting document templates.
With Document Assembly, you can also create a single template for any type of document, and then, from within a matter or case, automatically merge documents based on that template using data from the matter or case. The Document Assembly tool has thousands of data fields (tokens) available to create master templates. Custom window data can also be merged into a document. Users can create their own tokens that prompt for data insertion when a document is generated.
Holmes said, “No one has to store or maintain their own set of Word templates anymore. And if the data is in the file, it takes Legal Files just seconds to generate a document.”
Another feature that IEA takes advantage of to save time in their daily responsibilities is built-in workflow functionality. A workflow can be associated with the creation of a document, so if a letter requesting information is sent out, a reminder is automatically created to make sure the information being requested actually was received. This functionality saves the team a lot of extra time that would be spent doing this manually.
Centralized Document Management
IEA was able to use Document Management to centralize everything to provide a single knowledge base of past documents. Users have at their fingertips every document or file anyone has ever created or copied into the software (based on their security settings) stored at the appropriate case and creator. The Document Management System is flexible to store and index any file type, such as Microsoft Office, Outlook messages, .pdf, WordPerfect and .tiff image files.
Through extensive document searching capabilities, users can easily find the documents they are looking for. The information on the document profile becomes searching parameters to find the document or like documents to view, edit or use in a different case.
Better Software Leads to Better Results for Illinois Education Team
Since choosing Legal Files, the IEA legal team has dramatically improved its operations which helps them get one step closer to achieving their ultimate goal: accomplishing its mission.
“Legal Files is a great way to share our files,” Holmes said, “and it helps keep us organized, but it does so much more than that. A primary part of our mission is to be the advocacy organization for all public education employees. Legal Files helps us do just that and more.”
Manage Your Legal Documents With Ease Through Legal Software
You want a document management system that can not only help you organize and classify your documents, but also easily access, share and retrieve them. Legal Files helps you do this and more through easy-to-use tools that save you valuable time and money so you no longer have to waste time searching for the file you need or re-creating a document that already exists.
Through an easily customizable interface, you can create a legal software system that works for you. The ability to keep all your important documents in one place and integrate with the systems you are already using like Microsoft, Adobe and more, ensures that you can begin seeing a return on your investment from day one.
If you are like The Illinois Education Association and are looking for a better way to manage your valuable documents, and become more organized and efficient, then Legal Files is the tool for you.
As a partner in the implementation process, Legal Files offers 30+ years of experience supporting organizations across numerous types of industries. Expertise is offered by full-time, professional team members who are committed to your success. Based on our years of experience helping other organizations improve and thrive through legal software, we can help you configure a system that meets your unique needs.
“Legal Files helps us be the best advocate for our members. It allows our attorneys to deal with member issues—not the administrative stuff. It saves time, so they can do the work they need to do.”
Ann Holmes, Administrative Assistant
Request a demo to learn more about how we help organizations like yours manage what matters to you.