Working from home is a huge organizational shift that many traditional law firms and legal professionals have had to adjust to on the fly because of the coronavirus pandemic. And if you’re one of the 87% of law offices who’s currently working remotely, you may have begun to recognize gaps in the technology tools you’ve been using to stay productive.
It’s no surprise that legal professionals, and not just those in law firms, are looking for ways to increase productivity, efficiency and profitability while working from home. For many, this means adopting a centralized platform for all their legal matters, allowing colleagues to collaborate seamlessly—no matter where they are. But it’s important to find a technology solution that’s right for you. Let’s take a look at what features are most beneficial when selecting a legal matter management system.
Questions to Ask When Selecting a Legal Matter Management System
If you’re like most legal professionals, your average day is flooded with documents, emails and contacts that need to be created, reviewed and/or approved. In the past, you could simply print a document and review it with a colleague down the hall—but that may no longer be an option with employees dispersed in home offices. That’s why a centralized platform for all matter-related information is more essential than ever for your department’s successful operation.
The following are some questions you’ll want to think about and ask before you commit to a legal matter management system for your office:
Can I customize the system?
Each legal team is unique with its area of expertise and specific needs. Your organization will likely grow and change over time, and you’ll want a platform that can adapt with you. It’s important to find a solution that allows YOU to customize the system for your organization. Look for solutions that offer the ability to tailor things like:
- Drop down boxes
- Reporting dashboards
- Workflow operations
How many of my day-to-day activities can be automated or alleviated?
Make a list of the most frequent activities you complete on a daily basis, and see if the system you’re evaluating can automate or alleviate some of these burdens. For example, if you spend most of your time looking at reports and customizing them, you’ll want to select a legal matter management system with robust reporting features. If you spend many hours creating and managing tasks, you’ll need a platform that has effective workflow capabilities and law case management dashboards. Plus, consider industry- and job-specific solutions that can offer particular features and use cases to make your daily work easier.
How secure is the application?
Working with sensitive legal files requires the utmost security and compliance—so you can in turn gain your clients’ trust. Your organization cannot operate effectively without a secure solution that allows you to know without a doubt that your confidential documents are safe. Assemble a list of security requirements and ensure that the provider you select can pass the test with flying colors.
Can I restrict certain user access to specific documents or files?
If you frequently work with and share information with third parties or outside counsel, the ability to restrict user access may be a very important feature on your requirements list. Or, you may need to restrict users from changing the same document at the same time so duplicate or outdated copies aren’t created. Look for a legal matter management system that enables you to set different permission and access levels per user, ensuring confidential documents are protected at all times.
How long does the system allow me to store records?
With the variety and vast number of documents your organization manages daily, it’s highly likely that you’ll need to keep some of these records for many years. If so, you’ll want to have a legal matter management system that allows for easy and accurate archival and management of these important docs.
Four Ways to Vet Technology Providers While Working Remotely
Now that you have a start on your requirements list for your legal matter management provider, the next step is to begin the due diligence process. Luckily, you can start this process remotely:
- Check out the providers’ websites to get a feel for the types of benefits their legal matter management system offers.
With a list of requirements in hand, take a look at each technology providers’ website and examine how they measure up. This may leave you with a list of follow-up questions to ask in order to further evaluate each provider. Take the time to read blogs and review case studies so you can see firsthand how they have helped solve similar problems for organizations like yours.
- Request an online demo.
One of the best ways to determine how a legal matter management system will benefit your organization is to see it firsthand. Through a live demo with an account manager, you can see the platform in action and discuss each of your requirements and how the solution meets (or fails to meet) each one. Through online demos, you can have as many of your internal decision makers present as necessary to get your critical questions answered.
- Compile a list of requirements in a request for information (RFI) and distribute it to prospective providers.
If your organization has never distributed an RFI before, now is a great time to start. With a list of requirements already started, you can add to this and distribute a more detailed list of requirements and questions to prospective organizations in order to gain a better view of the current marketplace and most advanced solutions. This gives your organization the ability to review the details with a broader internal team and determine which solution best fits your needs. RFIs reduce the time and costs involved in evaluating potential suppliers and help determine who to send a request for proposal (RFP)to later.
- Request a list of customer references.
Discover organizations the provider typically works with and determine if your size and specialty fit their portfolio. Or, request to speak with current customers directly so you can hear firsthand what it’s like to work with them. This is a great way to have candid conversations with individuals outside the prospective companies so you can make a real, educated decision on what is best for you.
Legal Files is the Perfect Solution for Remote Work Challenges
We know you’re looking for a comprehensive technology solution that will help you stay profitable, productive and efficient in the midst of a changing work environment. With 30+ years of experience supporting organizations across a number of industries, Legal Files can be trusted to meet all your legal technology needs both now and in the future. We specialize in tailoring our solution to your organization’s unique needs.
There are definite advantages to being remote—and we’re here to help you discover them, while enhancing your security, visibility, communication and collaboration through superior technology.
We’re here and ready to support you however you need. Drop us a line to request a demo today and learn more about how we help organizations like yours manage what matters most.