At DocMoto, we specialize in document management solutions for law firms and others working in the legal, risk, finance, or compliance fields. That’s why we wanted to take a moment in today’s blog post to talk a little bit about what makes a good document management system (DMS). What are the key characteristics of a legal DMS and what makes them stand out from each other? Let’s take a closer look.
Key Characteristics of a Legal Document Management Solution
Legal DMS solutions should share key characteristics. There are standard features that every legal DMS should have, and then some others that you might not expect.
- Unique ID: A unique identification number should be assigned to each document. This is normally an 8-12 digit unique tag that is auto-assigned to each document. Typically, this is printed on a document footer.
- Matter Centric: It should be “matter centric”, which means everything revolves around the matter. All documents, emails, contracts, etc. are filed into a matter folder. A matter is always a subfolder of the Client. These are both validated fields/folders created by an auto import from the billing system or added by an admin.
- Save Dialog: One of the most important features is a Save dialog. The Save dialog will pop up and prompt the user to save into DMS from certain applications. Normally, there will be a pop-up on any windows app save prompt. Users should be able to expect integrations with Office, Outlook, and Adobe/Nuance PDF apps. This is the minimum level of integration. Also, from these apps, an open command will pop open the DMS to choose a document.
- Version Control: Another critical feature is version control. Version control for legal is unique because the client does not always want an automatically incremented version on save, but instead wants the choice of whether to overwrite or add the additions as a new version.
- Auto Check In and Out: Auto check out and in allows users to open through Office, or double click from the DMS on a document, and it auto checks out and opens in the intended app. A save and close of Word would auto check-in, or a save as, would allow the user to choose to increment the version.
- Security and an Audit Trail: Security and a proper audit trail should provide peace of mind. Document and folder level security around users and groups, as well as a detailed audit trail of document history.
- Interoperability: Third-party integration should come standard and interoperability with other key applications at the firm should be expected.
Are you shopping around for a legal DMS that provides you with the features you need to keep your firm humming? Contact us today for your free trial.