With the right tools, your team can develop a plan for records retention
Last month, we talked about FOIA requests and other requests for information. You learned how Legal Files Software can streamline the process of responding to these requests. From receiving and logging the request, to finding and producing the relevant document, the software has tools to help every step of the way.
However, Legal Files Software can do more than just simplify and speed the process of responding to records requests. It can also help with another related area that affects so many parts of the legal profession – records retention. So many people in this industry find that records management is overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be.
Our user-friendly and all-inclusive software offers a wealth of tools that can help improve and streamline records management for your team. You can find a built-in, comprehensive document management system that allows you to keep everything in one convenient location. Your team can also set rules for when certain documents should be deleted. Not only that, you can benefit from the experience of the Legal Files Software team as you establish and perfect records management in your organization.
Why is records retention and management so important?
All professionals in the legal industry must keep records for specific lengths of time. However, there can be a great deal of variety in what types of records need to be kept and for how long. This can vary based on the content, purpose and function of a record.
As if this didn’t make it complicated enough, there can be even more variations. For example, a state government agency might be required to keep one type of record for a specific period. A local government agency within that same state may have entirely different requirements for how long it needs to keep a similar record. These requirements are set by records retention schedules that have been approved by the appropriate agencies and committees, or even mandated by statutes.
It’s important that you know what rules your office or department is subject to, especially when it comes to FOIA requests and requests for information.
When a person or agency makes such a request, you have a duty to provide them with all records that correspond to it. While there are certain exceptions, such as attorney-client privilege, your team must generally produce the requested information. If you do not or cannot produce it because you destroyed a record before you should have, you could face certain penalties. In cases where you intentionally destroy a public record, you could face criminal penalties that include fines and prison time.
Clearly, it is critical that your team has a solid records retention policy to avoid any problems in the future. Legal Files can help by providing software to keep you organized and offering guidance to develop a sustainable records management system.
How Legal Files helps with records management and retention
The thought of implementing a records retention policy from scratch can be overwhelming. However, you don’t have to do it alone. Legal Files offers software with comprehensive tools to help your team stay in compliance with all regulations regarding records management. Our team also offers a wealth of experience and knowledge to help you and your coworkers develop a plan.
Legal Files includes a comprehensive document management and contract management system. It’s easy to store every document, email and contract in a convenient location. Having your documents saved and easily accessible is the first step in establishing a strong records retention policy.
The software also saves a copy of each document in the system. This is unique because many legal case and matter management systems only maintain a link to the file or email. The Legal Files method ensures that you still have a copy of each saved document in the software, even if it gets deleted somewhere else, such as from an email program or the Cloud.
Once you know that your documents and emails are safely saved in Legal Files, it’s time to think about how long you need to keep certain types of files. This requires you and your team to find out what types of rules and regulations you are subject to for records retention. Again, keep in mind that the guidelines you must follow will vary based on the type of organization you serve and the types of records you are handling and storing.
As soon as you’re armed with this vital information, you can begin to determine timeframes for when Legal Files should notify you to purge certain types of documents. This process keeps you organized and in compliance with regulations and laws regarding records retention.
As your team uses Legal Files, you may start to discover that you need to refine your records management and retention process. That’s no problem because the software is flexible and user-friendly. This means that it’s easy to make changes whenever you need to. In fact, it’s so user-friendly that there’s no need to involve anyone from the IT department when you want to change something. Legal Files users love how empowering it is to make changes on their own.
Getting started with records management and retention
You and your team might think that this sounds great. However, you still might find yourself at the starting gate when it comes to setting up a records management program. The idea of getting started might seem too overwhelming, especially if you have a wealth of records. If you find yourself in this situation, the Legal Files Software team can help you.
Whether you’re starting from square one or you’re just looking for ways to fine-tune your policies and procedures, we are here to help. When you become our customer, you not only receive world-class legal case and matter management software, you also benefit from our team’s decades of experience. It’s like hiring a consultant to answer all your questions as you design records management programs – without the hefty price tag.