Surprise! It’s M-Files!
This October, Inc. Magazine selected M-Files as the best document management solution for law firms. In the corresponding article, Inc. cites a number of reasons why M-Files was given the nod, which we’ll cover in just a bit more detail below.
Overall, when you think of industries that are document-intensive, law firms would be near the top of anyone’s list. In part, law practices live and die by how efficiently they manage documents related to case files or matters.
Indeed, a document management system is especially useful for small- to large-sized law firms that manage massive amounts of documents that may currently be scattered in several disconnected document repositories — like an existing practice management solution, ERP, accounting solutions, network or personal file folders and Heaven-forbid endless email strings.
Inc. touted a few specific benefits that M-Files presents to law firms as criteria for naming the solution best for legal practices.
Law firms deal almost exclusively with sensitive and confidential information. So much so, that the American Bar Association issued Formal Opinion 477 in 2017, where the they “concluded that particularly sensitive client information should no longer be shared using unencrypted email.”
M-Files provides a secure, encrypted document repository with tight permission controls to ensure authorized access to documents. In the Inc. article, author Kaylee Kolditz says of M-Files’ solution:
“Their security features include automatic access control settings for content, audit trails, multi-factor authentication, encryption, key management, data-loss prevention, and more. They are also aware of the role their system can play in meeting industry compliance and claim that they help reduce the risk of non-compliance in the way their system organizes, records and automates everything in your business.”
Contract Lifecycle Management
What a huge feature for law practices that deal in contracts on a daily, if not hourly basis. You would expect that the best document management software for law firms would feature contract management heavily and we do. Traditionally, managing contracts manually has been time- and resource-intensive. With M-Files, the iterative process becomes a breeze with dynamic contract templates and version tracking. With workflows that route contracts securely, review and approval are faster than ever, saving tons of valuable time.
Support for all phases of eDiscovery
Electronically-stored information (ESI) is worthless if it’s not managed effectively. M-Files helps legal firms tackle all five eDiscovery task categories: Plan, Preserve, Prepare, Review and Share.
Case and Matter Management
Too many times, documents related to cases can get scattered in email strings, practice management software and network folders. M-Files makes it easy to manage cases and matters since all related documentation is in once place and given context relating documents to specific cases or matters. And it’s not just case documents. From a back-office standpoint, contacts and billing information related to matters can all be managed directly in M-Files also.
Integration with a variety of software (including some legal practice management and accounting software)
One feature of M-Files that really delivers the “wow-factor” is the flexibility to integrate with several other document repositories. It’s an integration that doesn’t require law firms to migrate all their documents to a new system. Those documents can live wherever they are while the integrations simply contextualize documents with metadata and present them from a singular user interface — no more navigating between Clio, Outlook and folders on your laptop to find what you need.
6 Other Ways Document Management is Tremendously Impactful for Law Firms
While those were the high points of the M-Files solution mentioned by Inc. Magazine, there are other key feature and benefits that can have a huge impact on law firms:
Always pinpoint the correct document instantly when needed. Once stored in M-Files, all documents are indexed and searchable for instant retrieval. M-Files features a flexible method of classifying and organizing documents by applicable properties — like client name, matter, case or date. It makes information super-easy to find.
Collaboration and Sharing
Law firms and corporate legal departments often consult with external counsel. They also share information, contracts and other documents with clients and external entities. This collaboration often includes accessing and sharing large files. With M-Files, firms can share case files with public links, accessible on any device. In addition, multiple contributors can annotate and red-line right from the platform.
Scan and Optical Character Recognition (OCR)
A document management software makes it easy to digitize documents by scanning them. M-Files OCR is a document scanning solution that works with any scanner type and is compatible with multiple file formats. From invoices to contracts to case files. with fully searchable PDF files, you can search and retrieve documents based on their content and not their location.
Law firms of old had entire rooms and wings of the building dedicated to storing paper documents meticulously in filing cabinets. Not anymore. With M-Files, the digital workplace is a reality. Mentioned above, attorneys and staff can scan important documents into the system — making them easy to find, edit and track.
M-Files’ integrated version history always provides the most up-to-date version, while tracking version history. Check in and check out functions allow users to keep track of when a file is being edited and by whom.
Cloud-Enabled Mobile Document Management
Lawyers and staff spend a lot of time away from the office in courtrooms, with clients and offsite. With cloud technology, M-Files allows them to access any document they need, anytime, anywhere in the world, from any device.
Inherently, M-Files (and document management, in general) has the propensity to positively impact certain industries in a truly transformational way. One of those industries is legal practices and we have a long history of serving this sector. But don’t take my word for it. We’ll close with this from the Inc. Magazine article:
“Motivation to consider this solution may be found by reading what others have to say about it. On Capterra, M-Files got an average rating of 4.5/5 from 113 users. TechRadar listed M-Files second in their “Best Document Management Software of 2018″ article and FinancesOnline.com ranked M-Files #7 in their DMS category and honored them this year with their Expert Choice Award, Great User Experience Award, and Supreme Software Award.”