A well-maintained records environment is essential to any law office or legal firm. Improper records management could lead to challenges with maintaining critical evidence, presenting factual arguments in court, and adhering to ethical standards. Not to mention that not having a proper recordkeeping system creates a lot of inefficiencies!
That’s why we recommend that records management in the legal environment include a system to ensure that documents are filed, archived, indexed, searchable, and secure in the best possible way. Here’s why this is important.
Why Comply with Recordkeeping Standards?
Records management is covered under ISO 15489-1:2016, the industry standard for maintaining information and documentation. Complying with this standard gives you a defensible position about your organization’s compliance and conduct. Moreover, failure to maintain records can result in penalties and fines.
Recordkeeping standards are a vital part of any organization’s management system. They set the benchmark for an effective records program and are universally applicable. These principles can serve as a guide for organizations of all sizes and types.
There are several principles to abide by when implementing a recordkeeping program, including preserving information, security, and accessibility. If you manage or own a law firm, consider implementing a records management compliance program to ensure that everyone in your firm abides by the principles. This effort will help in the following ways:
- Increases productivity and security.
- Mitigates risk.
- Ensures everyone is operating under the same standard.
- Helps your firm serve clients better.
A records classification system will also help you track individual documents and determine the appropriate handling based on their activity level. This step will also allow you to adjust your record retention schedule to comply with regulatory requirements and legal holds.
Moreover, you can create a chain of custody that outlines when and by whom information is accessed, which is often necessary for documents used in legal proceedings.
Compliance with State and Local Laws
Compliance with state and local laws is another important aspect of records management. Clients expect lawyers to protect sensitive client data. As such, law firms must meet the requirements of privacy laws in their jurisdictions.
These laws vary from state to state and determine how long law firms must retain certain documents. By adopting an effective records management program, your firm can achieve these benefits:
- Save millions of dollars maintaining paper records.
- Eliminate the need for physical records storage.
- Decrease the number of electronic documents that need to be kept for litigation.
The system must also have a backup plan. Digital records are much more secure than paper-based records. However, if something goes wrong with your digital records, you should always keep original hard copies of digital files.
A clear understanding of records management laws is an important step toward compliance. This knowledge can help firms make better decisions and ensure that their activities meet archival standards.
Federal Regulations Affecting Legal Records Management
There are numerous federal regulations that affect legal records management. These laws apply to a wide variety of records that a law firm must maintain:
- Bank statements
- Legal correspondence
- Customer or vendor invoices
- Additional legal records
While many records of this type are handled in the same way as normal business records, some are subject to special considerations and rules. Understanding these distinctions is essential for your law firm. Additionally, you will be better prepared to satisfy an audit or inspection.
Cybersecurity in Records Management
In the legal environment, cybersecurity is an integral part of records management. No firm wants to experience a data breach, as the consequences could be severe for both your firm and your clients.
Cybersecurity should be a joint effort between legal records management and information technology professionals. The explosion of data poses significant challenges to records management programs, and both should collaborate to overcome them.
One of the most significant risks facing records management today is cybercrime, which could come in many forms:
- Data theft
- Data destruction
- Data corruption
- Data held for ransom
Recent high-profile data breaches have made headlines. You want to avoid the same situation affecting your law firm because firms that are lax with data security face serious repercussions. Here is how we can help you mitigate risk.
Your Solution for Navigating Records Management in the Legal Environment
Document records management software for records management helps law firms keep sensitive client files accessible and secure. By converting paper documents to digital images, lawyers can index the content based on case reference numbers, surnames, and court dates.
Then, digital documents can be easily searched using keywords in the document’s title. Further, cloud storage helps legal teams to access documents on the go and in real time.
When looking for document records management services, legal firms should consider the following characteristics of a service provider:
- Satisfies data storage requirements.
- Meets your security requirements.
- Allows for both ease of implementation and use.
- Provides up-to-date and accurate metadata for digital images.
- Supports compliance with all federal and local record storage requirements.
Go Find It checks these boxes. We provide efficient storage of information via the cloud through our cost-effective and invaluable tools. We allow law firms to digitize, save, manage, and share information in a secure environment.
Our software is perfect for working remotely, especially when you need to support a remote workforce or pull time-sensitive data while on the go preparing for court. Your users will have complete confidence in the reliability and accessibility of files and documents.
Interested in a free demo? Contact us today to schedule a demonstration of our software!