In today’s busy world, document management is a hassle for even the most organized small law firm. With digital copies, hard copies and duplicate copies of documents from every matter floating around, it can be tough to find the documents you need, when you need them. Despite that, your work is part and parcel of working in the legal industry, and to stay on top of every detail in order to keep your clients happy.
Does your law firm need to get organized and gain control of the never-ending stream of documents that flows through your office?
These six steps will help you organize your documents and streamline all of your work into one place that’s completely free of stress, hassel and mistakes.
STEP 1. Identify Key Documents that your Firm uses Regularly
This first step is critical. Chances are your law firm has key documents that are used daily, and probably even multiple times each day. Better document management begins with identifying those highly-trafficked forms and paperwork, and getting those documents organized. Make a list how often they’re used and what steps are required to complete them.
STEP 2. Make Digital Templates for Key Documents
The next step is to take those essential documents you identified and create updated templates for each one. This is a good time to clean up and improve your templates. Is all the contact information correct? Be sure to update any necessary design, fonts, and wording. When finalized, put your new digital templates in one folder so they are ready to use at a moment’s notice. Be sure to communicate to all appropriate staff where to use the most up-to-date template to maintain consistency across the entire firm.
STEP 3. Let your Clients Provide Signatures Digitally
Digital signatures are used by businesses everywhere. They are secure and confidential. Real estate agents, lawyers and countless other professionals ask clients to provide digital signatures to speed up the process and require less face time. After receiving an email with a signature request, completed paperwork is just a few easy steps away with tools Smokeball’s integration with DocuSign.
STEP 4. Create Centralized Digital Files for Each and Every Client
Once you’ve got your digital template folder in place, organize every existing client file you can find. Although this may sound like a big task, it’s worth the effort for the time you’ll save in the long run. Imagine having a client on the phone and knowing exactly where to look to answer all their questions and provide exactly what they need. To get organized, just create a folder for each client that records everything from contact and case information to contracts and paperwork. Organize your emails and documents in the clients folder and be sure it’s accessible for anyone who is working on that matter.
STEP 5. Use Smokeball to Keep Everything in One Place
If Step 4 has you feeling a little overwhelmed, consider using Smokeball to do the work for you. Smokeball is a case management software designed specifically for small law firms up to 15 people. It integrates with Microsoft Word so you can preload templates, providing a cloud based server so your entire team has access to work from anywhere, as well as streamline client communications. Not only does Smokeball put your new document templates in one place. It also organizes all client records and emails for you. With Smokeball, you’ll never have to search for an email, document or phone number again. Every detail about every matter will be in one organized, easy-to-access place.
STEP 6. Develop a Standardized Process that the Entire Firm will use for Document Management
Whether you’re tackling digital document organization yourself or allowing Smokeball to do the work for you, develop a plan to get your entire law firm on the same page. Everyone from the office manager to your senior partners should be using the same system in the same way. Be sure to communicate your document management process to maintain consistency across your entire team.