Legal Professionals Struggle With Poor Document Management

New research from Workshare claims the legal industry is plagued by a greater than average share of document mismanagement and chaos.

The survey, based on responses from 220 legal professionals, shows that 78 percent are struggling to meet targets in spite of document and content management strategies to improve efficiencies.

Improving Productivity

About 68 percent of those surveyed rate greater efficiencies as one of the main work drivers this year, although they complain they also need better technology. While 48 percent of respondents said their organizations has adopted technology to make them more efficient, 65 percent think more of their processes could be automated.

The report also identified a number of technologies that legal professionals could use, including document collaboration and a central workplace to share, review and collaborate on documents.

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Finally, legal workers want the ability to access workplace tools from mobile devices — and have those tools deliver functionality above and beyond their document management system (DMS).

Some of the other findings are worth noting:

  • 59 percent clam slow document turnaround impedes finalizing documents
  • 49 percent want better ways to consolidate feedback
  • 29 percent want better ways of comparing documents
  • 86 percent want a way to view previous versions, including what changes have been made, by whom and when
  • 44 percent want a solution to deal with version control

Need for Better Technology

Legal professionals claim they don’t have access to enough technologies — a symptom, perhaps, of the reluctance of managers to deploy, use or engage with available tools.

One of the biggest problems with SharePoint, for example, is the fact that the C-Suite is not actively backing its use. With document management, AIIM research has pointed to the fact that the C-Suite is responsible for the failure to develop document management strategies.

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The fact is that there are many technologies that are suitable and effective for managing sensitive data. There is even a legal technology conference every year, with last year’s conference featuring releases from OpenText and Microsoft specifically designed for the legal profession. And then there’s the entire e-discovery and compliance space with vendors that are also providing offerings for the legal profession.

The bottom line is that there is more than enough technology for legal professionals. One can argue that management is simply not keeping up with technology or developing strategies on how to use it.