How To Choose The Right Legal Document Management Software

Spending too much time managing and creating documents?

Need more control over user access and security?

Constantly find yourself searching endlessly through folders and subfolders—only to find out the file you’re looking for got deleted by mistake last month?

head nodding gif

If your current document management system is built around saving Word documents on your desktop, then emailing a copy to whoever on your staff needs it—there’s a better way.

Maybe you’ve moved past the siloed desktop folders system and set up an account on one of the big name document storage tools to keep your files in the cloud.

Is that a step in the right direction? Absolutely.

But those storage tools specialize in one thing in particular—storage.

So what do you do when you need to create a template for a specific document? What about when you realize three months down the road that you need to update something in that template?

If you’re not set up with the right systems, the answer to that question is you (or someone on your team) needing to manually edit every single document created from that template.

Not ideal.

To put it simply—if you’re looking for a better way to manage your entire document system, you’ve come to the right place. Finding a document management system that works for your company starts with one thing:

A great document management software tool built for legal teams that takes work off your plate instead of adding even more admin tasks to it.

And that’s what we’ll be digging into today.

In this guide, we’re going to break down exactly what this great legal document management software can help you accomplish, what you should look for in a document solution, and what tool is right for your organization.

Let’s jump in!

In a rush? Download a PDF version of this guide.

We’ll send you a PDF version of this document management guide to come back to later on or share with your team.

DOWNLOAD GUIDE

SECTION 1

What Legal Document Management Software Helps You Achieve

Navigate this section:

Before we talk about any specific features or software options, let’s start from the top.

In this section, we’re going to sink our teeth into the specific problems document management software can help you solve—with some specific examples and use cases that’ll directly relate to your current day-to-day work.

Onward!

Secure your most important documents & files

A document management solution with end-to-end file encryption can protect your documents and information from security threats and ransomware—where hackers steal your documents, encrypt them, and demand a ransom to restore your access.

Without proper document encryption and safety, ransomware could cost your organization in a big way. In fact, downtime due to ransomware can cost organizations more than $64,000 on average.

Instead of risking every document stored on your servers or individual desktop folders, top-level document management software will help you keep everything safe.

But protecting your documents from digital hackers is only one piece of the puzzle—you also need a way to securely share documents with clients, other attorneys, paralegals and anyone else who may need access.

Keeping all of your documents in legal boxes is difficult and risky—even more so with companies around the world working from home and managing remote teams.

If you only have physical copies of your documents, sharing them with your team becomes a challenge. Unless you’re working from the same location, your only option is to scan or fax them. The same issues exist when trying to share documents outside of your organization with clients as well.

On top of the added hassle this process adds, you’ll also have no control over how that document is protected moving forward. If the employee leaves the firm, they’ll still have access to these critical documents.

Instead, cloud-hosted document management software will let you grant and revoke access to any document or folder with a few clicks.

document link sharing

This means you can instantly share access to documents or folders with whomever you need. And, with a great document management tool, you’ll be able to choose what actions each user can take as well—edit, upload, view only—you’ll have complete control.

Simplify your entire legal team’s document workflows inside Salesforce

If your company is using Salesforce today to manage client relationships, great legal document software should be able to seamlessly fit into your existing workflows.

Before we talk about any specific software tools in particular, let’s first breakdown what some of those common workflows actually are and the role documents play:

1. Move potential clients through your pipeline faster with automated document generation.

When a new potential case comes through in Salesforce, what documents need to be generated to keep them moving through the process of reviewing and approving that case?

No matter the steps themselves, the right document solution can free up precious hours in your intake teams’ weeks by automating document generation and triggering workflows based on the stage, size, type or any custom aspect of the case.

2. Save hours of effort by creating quotes in a fraction of the time.

Instead of sitting around waiting for someone to pull together a quote when a prospect requests one, your entire sales team should be able to quickly and accurately generate a quote document themselves.

3. Skip the process of manually filling personalized fields in new documents.

If your intake team or paralegals are working from templates often, one of the most time-consuming activities can be updating placeholder text to match up with the prospect or customer you’re sending the documents to.

And what’s worse, manually updating these placeholders can open the door to missed edits where a quote you share still includes the dreaded “… thanks for reaching out {first name}…”.

4. Trigger workflows and update case statuses automatically based on E-signatures and other custom triggers

After a contract or official document is sent, the next step is often capturing a signature. This applies to non-disclosure agreements (NDA’s), official contracts, retainers, and any other legal document where you need written approval from a new client.

Without document software that integrates with (a) Salesforce, and (b) your E-signature tool, this process can easily become a multi-step headache where your team can’t find the latest or signed versions.

Of course, these are only a few common examples of document workflows in Salesforce.

The truth is, every legal team is going to have some differences in how they use documents in their day-to-day work. The role of great document management software is to seamlessly connect into those workflows without pulling your attention away from the matter itself.

Prepare intake packet templates in just a few clicks

One of the most common stages in the process of signing on a new client for plaintiff firms in particular is the intake packet.

Since the contents of these packets can vary from state-to-state or change based on co-counsel and referral agreements, you also need to be able to create multiple versions of your intake packet templates and have the flexibility to update each document before sending.

On top of the intake packet itself, you’ll need to have templated versions of the accompanying documents like HIPAA, HITECH and more.

That’s where legal document software comes into play.

You can create templated versions of every document you need, combine them into a complete templated folder, and easily prepare an entire intake packet for every new client your firm signs on.

document packets

Free your team up to be more productive

The more time your team spends searching for, moving, duplicating, creating—just managing—the documents attached to a prospect, project, case or client, the less time they’ll be able to spend actually working on the project.

Instead of wasting hours of your day tracking down that file you swear you saved to your downloads folder last week, a document management solution can do the heavy lifting for you.

For example:

1. Create new documents (and entire folders) directly from templates.

Instead of building entire documents from scratch or constantly duplicating and editing old documents, create templates for every file your company uses often.

Proposals, estimates, NDA’s, presentation decks, contracts—if you find yourself clicking “make a copy” on a regular basis, templates can quickly become your best friend.

document template builder

2. No more chasing down the “latest” version of a document.

If you’ve ever had to chase down the most up-to-date version of an Excel spreadsheet using only the “last edited” date on your team’s desktop folders, this one will hit close to home.

With document management software, you’ll be able to see when documents were last edited, what the edits were, who made them, and more.

3. Skip the wild goose chase of searching for important documents when you need them.

Without a cloud-based tool, your document management process will still be littered with roadblocks, where the file you need was only saved in one person’s desktop folder. And, when you need it, they always seem to be on vacation!

Instead, a shared document management tool will give you access to the documents you need, when you need them—with advanced search features to find exactly what you’re looking for even faster.

documents in salesforce

The time (and headaches) your entire company will be able to save can easily repay any setup and recurring costs for the simplicity great document software brings.

Which perfectly leads us into section 2:

What features and functionality should you be looking for in a legal document management solution before making the switch?

SECTION 2

What To Look For In Legal Document Software

Navigate this section:

From a high-level, the users inside your document management tool can be split up into two distinct groups:

1. Administrators.

The account owners and managers who oversee setup, user permissions, integrations, and how the software is used.

2. Individual users.

All members of the organization who use the product but aren’t responsible for managing the tool itself. This group will include the bulk of your staff, any partners you share documents with, clients you communicate with—essentially anyone who’s not an admin.

In this section, we’re going to break down the most important features you should be looking for in a solution at the administrator and individual user levels. Let’s go.

Must-have document management software features for administrators

First, let’s dig into the administrators.

Before making a final decision on what document software to go with, do your due diligence to make sure the winning tool will offer the following functionality:

1. Connect your document system directly into your Salesforce workspace

If your company is using Salesforce, being able to seamlessly connect your document systems into your existing Salesforce workspace and workflows is an absolute must.

docrio matters

The more tools you can manage in one place, the less time your leadership team and IT staff will spend every day jumping between different tabs and tools, downloading documents from private folders only to re-upload them inside Salesforce manually each time.

On top of avoiding the slow process of moving documents around, a direct connection with Salesforce also means your entire firm can:

  • Sync documents and E-signature actions
  • Trigger Salesforce workflows based on when documents are edited or updated
  • Notify clients automatically when the status of their case changes

… and more.

Beyond simply having the functionality to connect your documents to Salesforce, the processes required to set up and maintain that connection are also important.

The last position you want to find yourself in is relying on dozens of workarounds and patch-job API connections to connect your document and file data to Salesforce. If that’s the case, you’ll always be one broken connection or simple user mistake away from the entire system crashing.

Instead, find a solution that’s intentionally built as document management software for Salesforce.

2. Quickly create & edit document templates

Consistency is key when it comes to important company documents.

Whether it’s a medical records request, NDA, employment contract or anything in between, the structure, language and look of your documents should feel consistent.

Here’s the thing:

Plenty of tools will let you create templates—the best tools (and the tools you should be looking for) take it a step further and allow you to build master templates, then quickly edit and universally apply changes across all document templates with a few clicks.

Without that functionality, you’ll be left having to manually update dozens (maybe even hundreds or thousands) of document templates every time you need to tweak or merge an image or boilerplate section.

global document edits

3. Security across the entire platform

As we mentioned at the beginning of section 1, encrypting all of your files and having full control over who can access each document in your system and what level of access they have are both absolute musts.

Let’s break this down a bit:

End-to-end document encryption.

Without a doubt, protecting your documents from hackers and ransomware attacks is going to be a top priority for any document management administrator or IT department. If the tool you’re using today doesn’t offer complete encryption while your documents are uploaded, shared and resting, it’s time to switch tools.

Controlling who can access documents and folders.

The first stage of managing user access is fairly common. Most tools offer individual document owners the ability to keep a document listed as private or share it with their organization. Unfortunately, the larger the organization, the more flawed this approach becomes.

You may have multiple departments with multiple levels of “informational” clearance to manage. If that’s the case, private and not private as the only two options simply won’t cut it.

Administrators need to be able to grant access to specific users within an organization so sensitive documents aren’t made publicly available.

Controlling what level of access they have & what actions they can take.

In addition to controlling who can access specific documents and folders in general, administrators also need to be able to control how much access each user is given.

  • Should they be able to edit the document?
  • Do they only need view access?
  • Can they upload new documents to a shared folder?

document user permissions

Revoking access manually or automatically.

Finally, once access is granted to specific users, administrators must be able to revoke that access if needed. This could be when an employee leaves the company, switches to a different department, a project is completed—any reason the admin has, the functionality needs to exist.

Secure external link sharing.

To streamline the process for sharing and revoking access links externally outside of the organization, look for a solution that can automatically expire access to a shared link or document based on a specific date, or protect shared documents with passwords.

4. Integration capabilities with your go-to tools

In addition to connecting your documents to Salesforce, you also need to be able to sync your files with any other essential tool in your firm’s toolbox. Lead generation tools, practice management software, and advertising tools—whatever your company is relying on every day.

There are two ways these integration functions can apply:

1. Native integrations.

Some document tools will come with pre-built integrations to some of the common tools your team may already be using. These integrations are often easy to set up and manage.

2. Advanced APIs.

If a native integration doesn’t exist yet, or you’re looking to create a more customized and advanced connection between your document software and other tools, you’ll need a solution with API functionality.

With an advanced API, you can connect any software tool in your stack directly to your central document storage and management software, and build custom workflows around specific actions inside either tool.

For example, if your company uses an E-signature tool like DocuSign, you’ll want to make sure your document management tool can integrate with it. That way, you can directly connect the forms and documents being signed with your document storage system.

You can even automatically create follow-up documents, fill in existing documents, or trigger new workflows inside of Salesforce when the signature comes through.

Must-have document management software features for users

Second, the individual user-level functionality.

This group will include every single person who uploads, edits or views a document that is not an administrator—your staff, clients, partners. So the easier and more secure you can make the access process, the better.

1. Access documents directly inside Salesforce

Similar to the functionality we’re looking for at the admin level—your document management software must be able to directly connect to your staff’s existing Salesforce workflows.

If a new client is ready for an official contract, the sooner you can prepare and send that document, the better. And with document generation software directly connected to Salesforce, your team can find the contract template, automatically fill in personalized fields using the client’s details, add any custom elements to the document and send—without ever leaving Salesforce.

There’s nothing worse than knowing you created or sent a specific document to someone, but having no sweet clue where it ended up.

It could be lost in a desktop folder, buried inside one of your shared DropBox folders, or hidden as nothing more than an Outlook attachment in an archived email thread.

Instead, the software you use to generate, store and share documents should also offer advanced search functions for your users. This means more than a basic search bar that requires you remember the exact name of the file or you’re out of luck.

Advanced search should include:

  • The file name, if your memory is sharp
  • Date created
  • Date last edited
  • Document author
  • Which client or matter it’s attached to
  • Smart search to recognize related search terms

… and any other custom field or data point you connect to the documents themselves.

docrio advanced search

3. Generate new documents from templates

We’ve talked about how important creating and editing the templates themselves are at the administrator level. What’s just as important (if not more) is how easy it is for users to actually use these templates.

Do they need to navigate to a brand new section of the tool just to be met with every template under the sun, then filter down those results to hopefully find what they need, only to realize all of the contact’s details in the “template” still need to be manually filled in?

Or can they create a new document in just a few clicks?

When you’re sinking your teeth into the template functions of a document generation tool, think behind how the templates are created—make sure they’re painless to work with for your end users as well.

4. Upload & merge existing documents

How a document management tool handles the process of uploading, moving, and merging documents can (and should) be a dealbreaker for you.

This is one of the areas where the best software stands out.

No matter how tight your document management system is across your organization, there’s still going to be plenty of times where documents need to be uploaded—sometimes in bulk. Whether it’s spreadsheet data related to a new project, documents shared with you by a client, or anything in between, uploading new documents will happen—often.

The common functionality you’ll find in most document software for handling this process is to open the folder you want the documents to live in, then upload.

The problem?

You may not know where each document is going to be stored when you’re uploading.

Instead, look for a tool that lets you upload first, then assign documents to specific folders, accounts or Salesforce records after the fact. This will help your users get past that first hurdle of trying to decide where a document needs to end up, which can often lead to that document never getting uploaded at all.

docassign settings

5. Clean & simple user interface & experience

A clunky, difficult to navigate user interface can turn powerful software into a complete nightmare for your staff who need to actually use it.

Beyond the overall concept of a clean and simple user interface (UI), a great user experience (UX) is also key. On top of everything we’ve already mentioned above playing a role in creating a great UX for your team, make sure any document software you choose will also let you:

  • Easily sort by any field available
  • Apply filters to see only the documents you need at that moment
  • Offer one-click or few-click functions to create new documents
  • Move files and folders quickly with simple drag & drop
  • Edit documents and templates with one click
  • Automate tasks and processes that can easily be automated (updating case statuses, trigger new workflows in Salesforce, generate follow-up documents, etc.)

SECTION 3

What’s The Best Legal Document Software For You?

Navigate this section:

So far in this guide we’ve covered:

  1. What document management software can help you and your company achieve, and
  2. What functionality great document software includes

Before we talk about which document management software is best for your situation—we need to answer one big question:

Is document management software right for you?

If you need to…

  • Control who has access to certain documents and files (and for how long)
  • Centralize document storage in your organization
  • Ensure your documents are secure and encrypted to avoid security breaches
  • Integrate your document generation and management directly into your current workflows and processes

… then document management software is a must.

The time you’ll save and security functions you’ll have access to alone are worth making the move to cloud-based document software. Which leads us to question two:

What document software should you use?

When it comes to deciding which complete solution for generating, storing, editing and securely sharing your documents in Salesforce, one tool stands out above the rest:

Docrio for Litify.

What makes us so confident Docrio is the best legal document management software for your team on Salesforce?

Let’s break it down:

Document management software for Salesforce users

With Docrio, you can generate, upload, edit, find, share and merge any document across your entire organization—all without leaving Salesforce.

This means you’ll no longer need to have multiple tabs open for all of your individual, single-use document tools for creating, storing and sharing the documents that you know you’ll need to upload to Salesforce anyway.

No more creating a proposal in one tool, sharing it internally through another, getting an E-signature through another, uploading that signed file to your document storage tool, then finally uploading a copy to Salesforce—it can all happen in a single browser tab.

quick upload documents

If you’ve ever felt the pain that comes with sitting around waiting for a large file to download from one tool, only to wait just as long for that same file to upload to Salesforce, Docrio will help you cut that wasted time out of your day.

No matter the industry you’re working in, if Salesforce is a central piece of software for your organization—Docrio is for you, and available on the Salesforce AppExchange now.

You’ll spend less time creating & navigating documents

The document management tools available today tend to fall into one of two groups:

1. Simple UX, but not powerful enough. The tool looks good and is mostly easy for users to navigate, but it lacks the power and functionality you need from your document software.

2. Powerful enough, but very complex and confusing UX. Most of the power and functionality you need exists, but it’s all been squeezed together inside a difficult and confusing user interface where users have no clue where to start.

Instead, Docrio is able to check both boxes by building directly for Salesforce.

You still get all of the powerful functionality you need, but you’ll also have the clean and comfortable user interface you’re used to working with daily in Salesforce.

On top of the clean user interface and direct connection to Salesforce with Docrio, you’ll also get advanced search functions to help you find what you’re looking for faster.

These advanced search functions let you filter by any field, document detail or record you can think of. And with Docrio V3, we’ve also introduced OCR search (optical character recognition) to allow you to search directly for content written on scanned PDF files, documents, contracts and more.

And to help ease the time requirements that typically go along with document generation (finding the latest version, updating the personalized details, sharing the document, etc), we’ve also made the template creation and document generation much faster.

Docrio lets you build powerful templates that connect with your Salesforce data, so you can integrate standard or complex Salesforce objects directly into document templates to streamline workflows.

Your most important documents will be secure

As we talked about in section 2 earlier, one of the most important aspects to look for in a document management solution is its security and access functions.

  • Are your documents and important files protected?
  • Are they only shared with the people who need to see them?

Here’s how Docrio addresses each question:

1. End-to-end file encryption.

You no longer have to worry about whether or not confidential information inside your files is encrypted 100% of the time. Docrio’s end-to-end encryption means all of your documents are protected while in transit and at rest.

2. Complete control over user access for administrators.

With Docrio’s record-based security, if a user can see a Salesforce record, they can see the documents associated with it. Administrators can also control all file actions and grant individual users access to upload, share, delete or edit files. This way you can be sure the right people have the right amount of access, and you don’t have to worry about documents getting deleted or updated accidentally.

You’ll have an advanced API at your fingertips for integrating other tools

Have a collection of tools in your tech stack that don’t always integrate nicely with others?

Just because a native integration doesn’t yet exist to connect your document system to these tools does not mean you’re out of luck. Docrio also offers a REST API you can use to connect any cloud platform you’re already using today to your new document software.

In fact, several Docrio users have already built their own custom integrations to take their systems to the next level.

You’ll have the functionality you rely on multiple different tools for today—in one location

With Docrio, you’ll get the functionality you currently use a handful of tools for, all in one place.

  • Document generation features you get from Conga Composer or Spring CM
  • Proposal creation you get from PandaDoc
  • Document storage you get from DropBox or Google Drive

… All in one location, directly connected to your Salesforce workspace.

See Docrio in action today.

Request a demo today to find out how Docrio can revolutionize your team’s workflows and document management systems.

REQUEST A DEMO

Wrapping Up

So there you have it—our breakdown of what document management software can help you and your organization achieve, what features are must-haves, and what software we believe is best for you if you’re using Salesforce.

If you’re interested in streamlining your entire document management workflows, request a demo of Docrio today. Our team would love to show you Docrio in action and help get you set up with your own document management system.

P.S. Want to jump back to a specific section in this guide? Feel free:

  1. What document management software helps you achieve.
  2. What to look for in document management software.
  3. What’s the best document management software for you?