How can we – as lawyers – stay in business during the coronavirus pandemic, and beyond? 

I’m sure a lot of lawyers and law firms are struggling to cope with the lockdown. Many aren’t set up for home-working, social distancing or self-isolation. And it’s all happened so quickly there has been very little time to prepare. Yet this is when your clients’ minds are really focused on what’s important to them, and they’ll be looking to you for advice and to set contingencies in place.

In this blog series, I’ll try to set out some suggestions – from my own experience and the experience of others close to me – on how you might manage things in the short-term, the medium-term and in the longer term. This is our first post in the series.

For those with Document and Case Management Systems – where do you store all the documents you create?

If you have a document or case management system, you should store them all in document management. Not everyone does this, some people continue to store in Word folders outside of document or case management. This makes it difficult for everyone else to know what documents exist that relate to a case and/or to find those that are outside the system.

Even if you are diligent about saving case documents to document or case management, what about documents that are not client-related, such as admin or management documents? These might be on your firm’s network in protected folders, or you might save them to commercially available products such as OneDrive or Google Drive, which may or may not have the security features that you need.

There are excellent commercially available web-based document management systems on the market that take document filing to another level, with all documents of any kind instantly available online, from any location on any device. These products can in many instances be integrated with case management systems, or standalone if you prefer. They can store client-related and non-client documents, so everything is in one place, with appropriate permissions and access rights. The best examples have world-class encryption that makes it virtually impossible for anyone other than permitted persons to view the documents.

Additionally, some have features that enable secure sharing of files with clients and third parties, avoiding GDPR breaches and security risks associated with emails. Firms should be moving away from email when communicating sensitive information, it’s just not safe and it isn’t good enough to simply attach a PDF, as these can be hacked too.

If you have a Document Management System, you might also like to read Blog 2 in the series.

What do you do? If you’d like to join the discussion, feel free to Follow Martin Langan on LinkedIn.

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