The value of matter-centric document lifecycle management


The challenge with document lifecycle management in today’s digital world is that there are many homes for a document – it could reside in a physical file folder at the bottom of a cupboard in an office, on an employee’s personal desktop, in an Outlook inbox, in a voicemail on a mobile device and so on. Of course the individual working on a document knows exactly where it’s saved (most of the time); but it’s not accessible to others.

Recent IDC research shows that searching, but not finding documents/information costs a business $5,250 per worker per year and the figure for filing and organising documents is as high as $10,000. Potentially, these costs are indicative of the situation in law firms too, especially given the nature of the business.

 with ever stringent and growing complexity of compliance, it’s imperative that client matter information is safely stored in data repositories that are located in the right locations and jurisdictions

Aside from cost of inefficiency and diminished productivity, there are other repercussions too. For instance, with ever stringent and growing complexity of compliance, it’s imperative that client matter information is safely stored in data repositories that are located in the right locations and jurisdictions. These documents must also be easily accessible to authorised users – so there has to be an intuitive logic behind the process followed.

Matter/project-centric document storage is a good option – within a firm-wide document management system. It requires creating a matter-related workspace where all information and documents related to that particular, unique matter are stored from across data sources – everything from correspondence, images, data, presentations, pleadings, voicemails, emails, contracts and more. It’s worth highlighting that individuals can even capture dialogues and discussions that take place via email pertaining to matters that don’t necessarily form part of more formalised documents.

teams have the flexibility to use terminology relevant to their cases and matters and so ‘Google-like’ searching becomes possible

Such an approach offers numerous benefits. Documents and information are easy to locate as their storage is designed around a matter. This therefore eliminates the need for standard naming conventions across the firm, which can become tedious to implement. Teams have the flexibility to use terminology relevant to their cases and matters and so ‘Google-like’ searching becomes possible. Version control (a bane of our lives often!) can be built into the storage and retrieval processes and large documents can be shared via email links between teams instead of enormous file attachments. Critically, security can be built into the workflow.

Furthermore, by taking such a structured approach, firms can ensure that all regulatory, legislative and their own policies pertaining to document collection, retention and destruction are rigourously followed.

We have extensive experience in developing bespoke matter-centric document lifecycle solutions for many organisations. If this is an area you are exploring, we’d be very happy to talk to you, please get in touch with us.

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