The COVID-19 pandemic is leaving a more digitized world in its wake. To live up to client expectations, many personal injury law firms are implementing electronic document management solutions and leaving metal filing cabinets in the (literal) dust. Is yours?
Using cloud-based document storage applications to convey important case information to clients and colleagues is no longer considered exceptional. Instead, it’s the rule for all modern PI firms.
Taking critical case documents to the cloud improves workflow efficiency, saves time for your attorneys and staff, allows for easier and faster sharing of documents, and increases convenience for clients.
If you’re ready to make the switch to digital documents, stay tuned! In the post below, we’ll outline six helpful features that your personal injury firm should look for when adopting a secure electronic document management system.
Tip #1: Opt for top-tier security
Personal injury law firms—and the attorneys that work for them—are under a legal obligation to keep clients’ private information private. Clients offer up social security numbers, addresses, and medical records with the reasonable expectation that this personal data will be stored securely.
In the past, this often meant that office administrators kept clients’ personal documents under lock and key in manilla folders. But today, protecting clients’ private data is a bit more complicated.
The best cloud-based document storage applications are supported by entire IT teams whose sole mission is to keep medical records, driver’s licenses, and other case documents safe from hackers and identity thieves.
When attorneys fail to protect clients’ private information, the PI firm’s reputation and bottom line fall prey to poor reviews, lawsuits, and Bar compliance violations. Protect your PI firm from potential liability over compromised personal information.
Look for document management solutions that:
- Store documents on a secure server
- Encrypt files both in transit and at rest
- Are password protected
In addition, attorneys at your firm should only access the specific files necessary to complete their work on a private internet connection within a secure environment.
Tip #2: Stay organized with customizable tags, directories, and folders
Every personal injury law firm must develop its own methodology for organizing client files. The best document management software for personal injury law firms will allow you to digitize your preferred naming conventions, rather than organizing files only within restrictive preset folders.
Look for a software that provides these customizable document management features:
- Project/matter directory
- Unlimited hierarchy
- Custom tags
A Project/Matter directory is a must-have for PI firms. Imagine the time you’ll save by accessing a menu of all of the documents associated with a particular client’s legal matter at once. Along with this type of directory, consider adopting a cloud-based storage solution that allows you to create your own folders and subfolders without a quantity cap.
This combination will result in an intuitive, navigable system that saves time and allows you to focus on practicing law instead of fighting your way through multiple folders just to find one document.
Another great feature to look for is the option to create custom tags for documents. Custom tags make it possible to organize and filter through legal documents in a way that makes the most sense to you.
Consider using these custom tag options in your document management system:
- Client name
- Matter type
- Court date
- Document type
Tip #3: Leverage document automation
At personal injury law firms, attorneys are tasked with constantly drawing up custom documents that feature recurring information that’s unique to a specific client or matter. Typing in names, addresses, dates, and other repetitive information time and time again adds up to hours of unnecessary work—unless you have document automation and customizable templates on your side.
Document automation features make it possible to create personalized documents for legal clients with the click of a mouse by populating pre-made templates with information pulled from your firm’s knowledge bases. No more copying and pasting until your fingers are ready to fall off!
Tip #4: Use quick view when possible
Some document storage applications require that the user download a document in order to view it. This is a dangerous game for personal injury law firms. Downloading documents creates an opportunity for clients’ sensitive information to end up on one or more unsecured hard drives. From there, sensitive client information, such as social security numbers, payment information, or HIPAA-protected medical information involving your clients’ cases could potentially be accessed by unauthorized individuals or even identity thieves.
In many cases, there’s no real need to remove a document from the secure server. Why take the unnecessary risk if you don’t have to?
To avoid this scenario, you should choose a cloud-based document storage application for your personal injury law firm that offers a “quick view” window. “Quick view” windows allow attorneys, clients, and other credentialed individuals to securely view documents online without downloading them.
This may come in handy when you simply need a colleague to proofread your work or a client wants to quickly view the latest updates on their legal matter from their mobile phone.
Tip #5: Write custom document descriptions
If you want to make your communication with clients, colleagues, and other attorneys more straightforward, consider selecting a cloud-based document management application that allows you to create custom document descriptions.
Although explaining the purpose of a document over the phone or an email is possible, these options aren’t necessarily secure. A feature that implements custom document descriptions gives attorneys the opportunity to communicate the purpose and provide a synopsis of the contents of a particular document to clients and colleagues in a secure environment.
Tip #6: Save multiple versions of documents when possible
Attorneys make countless adjustments to documents as matters evolve. Being able to look back over these adjustments encourages a culture of accountability within your PI firm.
Securely storing multiple versions of a document makes this possible, so that each change is trackable and accessible in the event that it’s necessary to retroactively access a prior version of a legal document.
Less time spent on document management = More time spent practicing law
The right document management system for your personal injury law firm will include features specifically designed to lessen your workload and uphold your clients’ trust that you’ll keep their personal information secure. It will also be fast and easy to use! Your time is better spent practicing law than chasing down documents that have been misplaced or mismanaged.
TimeSolv allows personal injury law firms worldwide to host a wide variety of document types while also keeping client data secure—in fact, TimeSolv’s high level of data security has ensured that TimeSolv users have never experienced a data breach of information stored in our cloud. Thanks to NetDocuments and Dropbox integrations, our cloud-based document management solution includes all of the features listed above and more within an intuitive, easy-to-use interface.
Whether you serve 5 clients a month or 5,000, our unlimited, customizable storage solution will improve security, save time, and simplify communications with your clients. To see for yourself how TimeSolv can help your firm with better document management, schedule a free trial today.