Documents are essential to all businesses. Whether it is bills from vendors, communications from clients, email attachments or Intra-office memos; you create them, store them and need to easily find them. Key aspects of working with documents are document assembly, search and document management.
For many firms, practice management software can help with all of this, but some firms need more. When you begin evaluating practice management software, whether cloud based or desktop based, you want to understand your needs and the capabilities of the program you are considering. While I could go into depth on each of these areas, today we are going to talk about document management.
There are two basic types of traditional document management – open systems and closed systems. An open system will manage the documents you add to the system, but use is optional. A closed system requires the use of the document management system any time you create or save a document.
Closed systems can be considered more effective but also more demanding. Each document needs to be profiled, having its core information filled in. It is usually also difficult to find the documents outside of the system.
Practice management systems like Amicus Attorney, PracticeMaster and TimeMatters all offer open document management systems and the ability to link with Worldox for a tighter system. But to use any of these effectively, you not only need to use them for new documents but you also need to find all the documents on your computers and bring them in. Unless you are a new firm, this is generally not trivial and often requires expensive data conversion.
An easy solution is MetaJure1, an automated document management system2. MetaJure automatically captures and indexes all the documents and emails on your network whether they are on a shared drive or on someone’s workstation.
You don't need to do any uploading, profiling or data conversions, and you can setup security to control what can be accessed by whom. As new documents are saved, MetaJure collects them and smartly records folder structures and other native ‘metadata’ that helps inform the search. For image-only PDF’s, it will automatically detect and OCR the documents so that they can be text searchable. When you need to find a document, MetaJure offers powerful capabilities for helping you find what you need, through a simple, Google-like search that is available 24/7 through a web browser on your PC or mobile device.
MetaJure is currently a premised-based solution with an annual license fee for a minimum of five users, but they are working on a cloud-based version to make the offering available to solos and smaller firms.
1- MetaJure Smart Document Management System is a registered trade name and product of MetaJure, Inc. 2701 First Avenue, Suite 320 Seattle, WA 98121
2 - Behind-the-scenes for those who are ‘techy’: MetaJure DMS automatically crawls, indexes, and tags all of the documents, folders, and email within a law firm or corporate legal department, whether on personal computers, network drives, or other storage sites such as Microsoft® SharePoint®, Worldox®, and NetDocuments®. Documents and email stored on vulnerable locations such as individual PCs are copied and centrally stored for secure retrieval. All of this knowledge is then made accessible to your users through a simple, Google-like search that honors any and all underlying permission structures.