Legal Document Management Software: Key Features, Benefits, and Platforms
In IT since 1989 and having ample experience with document management solutions, ScienceSoft offers consultancy and implementation of document management software for legal services.
Legal Document Management System (DMS): the Gist
A legal document management software helps law firms go paperless via the digitalization of document flow, matter-centric document storage, processing e-signature integration, and more. Legal DMS integrates with OCR, billing, accounting, and other software, which accelerates document creation and streamlines the work of legal professionals. Legal DMS costs start from $15,000 – $50,000. The upper costs range for the solution is highly individual and can reach $80,000 – $100,000.
Based on ScienceSoft's vast experience in document management projects, we can outline the key features of legal DMS.
- Customizable legal document templates (e.g., summons, complaints, contracts).
- Built-in OCR to capture and validate paper documents and convert multi-format scanned documents into a unified format like PDF.
- Real-time collaboration on legal documents.
- Annotation tools (e.g., highlighting, sticky notes, comment boxes, watermarks, message stamps like Approved or Confidential).
Document storage and categorization
- Support of multiple types of documents (e.g., court minutes and orders, affidavits, copyright papers) in various formats (e.g., .docx, .pdf, .pptx, .zip, .odt, .xlsb).
- Document tagging based on a document type, a client’s name, a judge’s name, etc.
- Matter-centric storing of all related legal documents, emails, and conversations.
- Batch document processing (e.g., routing multiple documents for approval).
- Document approval and e-signature workflows.
- Alerts and notifications (e.g., a contract’s milestones, court deadlines).
- Email management (e.g., storing and archiving emails and attachments by cases.).
Document retrieval and output
- Unique document IDs for quick search.
- Full-text search with search filters and refiners.
- Enterprise search (document search across a legal DMS and integrated systems).
- Offline access to documents.
- Legal DMS mobile application.
Analytics and reporting
- Automated generation of reports (the number of open and closed cases, cases by due date, cases by person, etc.).
- Customizable dashboards, for example, contracts by status (draft, approval, signature, etc.), transactions completed per week/month/year.
Document security and compliance
- Data encryption.
- Role-based access control.
- Check-in/out to track users who access and work on a document.
- Document versioning and audit trail.
- Compliance management (e.g., American Bar Association (ABA), NIST standards and regulations, GDPR, HIPAA, PCI DSS, and SOX).
- Document backup and recovery.
To accelerate the drafting of legal documentation due to using intelligent templates with fillable dynamic fields and route these documents for approval, e-signing, and distribution via the DMS automated workflows.
+ time tracking software
To record a lawyer’s billable time spent on working on legal documentation due to setting up timers.
+ accounting software
To enable structured, matter-centric storage of invoices and accelerate invoice finalization due to real-time collaboration on documents and workflow automation offered by DMS.
+ eDiscovery software
To enable legal professionals to effectively identify, preserve, process, review, and produce large volumes of documents stored in a legal DMS as evidence in lawsuits or investigations due to such eDiscovery features as ML-powered search, transcription of audio and video documents, email threading, and more.
High level of automation
To provide fast document creation and finalization and save time on reviewing typical documents (e.g., complaints, invoices, NDA contracts) to boost the efficiency of legal workers.
Advanced search capabilities
To help legal professionals quickly find matter-related documents, emails, conversations.
Mobile and offline access
To allow legal workers to access a legal DMS and generate documents at any time, at any place, using any device and without dependence on the Internet connection.
To provide high-level protection of legal documentation from unauthorized access, modification or deletion and ensure 100% compliance with governmental and industry-specific regulations (e.g., NIST, GDPR, SOX).
Success Story by ScienceSoft
Document Approval Workflow for a Law Firm
- A custom SharePoint approval workflow consisting of two parts: the primary workflow and the additional workflow for documents with the amount bigger than established.
- The workflow integration with a financial management system.
legal data security and regulatory compliance due to advanced security features
overall business productivity due to streamlined legal document creation, finalization, and search
operational costs of legal firms due to a built-in e-signature tool
labor costs in legal orgs due to automated document generation
It’s not advisable to use open source document management solutions for legal organizations, as they may lack important features like OCR, e-signature and advanced security. So, we’ve prepared a comparison of popular commercial platfroms and products that are suitable for legal document management.
4.2/5, featured in Top 20 Document Management Software (2020) by Capterra, used by 250,000 orgs.
Robust security features (e.g., data encryption, access control, audit trail), customizability, OOTB integration with Microsoft 365.
No built-in e-signature and OCR capabilities, complex non-linear workflows are not available OOTB.
- Built-in document templates for invoices, summons, orders, etc.
- Document co-authoring.
- Document indexing and metadata.
- Full-text, keyword, and metadata search.
- Built-in workflows for document approval, collecting signatures, and more.
- Versioning and audit trail.
- Document retention and deletion policies.
Midsize and large legal organizations, corporate legal departments.
$12.50 - $57 user/month (including Office apps).
4.6/5 by Capterra, used by 1,500 orgs in 30 countries
Unlimited users, eDiscovery, integrated OCR, billable time/fee/expense trackers.
Limited capabilities of batch document management (e.g., marking a batch complete, assigning a batch to someone), file compatibility limited to Microsoft Office, PDF, PST, and image formats, the document previewer is slow to load large files (e.g., 100-page PDFs).
- Access control.
- Customizable document templates.
- Invoice generator.
- Document generation, classification (by matter, client, etc.), and storage.
- Full-text and keyword search.
- Document version control.
- Document archiving and retention.
- Deduplication (automated removal of excessive copies of documents).
- Document collaboration and annotation tools (e.g., commenting, notes).
- Document compliance management.
Law firms, legal departments, and government organizations of all sizes that focus on eDiscovery.
Starts at $395 matter/month*, a free trial is available.
* Fixed pricing for a legal project, without monthly hosting fees.
4.1(5) by Capterra, 2,750 enterprise customers worldwide.
Built-in OCR, unlimited document versioning, records management.
No built-in capability to compare different document versions, non-intuitive search for documents and emails.
- Secure file sharing (e.g., via password-protected links).
- Enterprise document search.
- Document auto-deletion scheduling.
- Records management.
- Employee collaboration on legal cases (project-centered workspaces).
- Document check-in/out and audit trail.
- Regulatory compliance (e.g., GDPR, HIPAA, FINRA regulations).
Financial, real estate, healthcare, insurance, and government institutions.
Available upon request to the vendor.
When Custom Legal Document Management is the Best Fit
ScienceSoft recommends implementing a custom legal document management solution or relevant custom features in your document management solution if you:
Need to cover specific legal document workflows. For example, in our project for a US legal firm, we developed a custom approval workflow that enabled routing invoicing documents to different approvers depending on the amount specified in an invoice.
Want to leverage AI technology for improved document search. AI can enable user-targeted search based on a lawyer’s profile and search history.
Need complex integrations, for example with legacy software.
Legal DMS Implementation by ScienceSoft
Experienced in developing document management software, ScienceSoft can provide consultancy and implement a specialized DMS to streamline document flow in your law firm.
Legal DMS consulting
- Analyzing your firm’s document types and document flow.
- Prioritizing features for your legal DMS.
- Deciding on a suitable implementation option: platform-based or custom legal DMS development.
- Defining necessary integrations for your legal DMS (e.g., document automation, billing, accounting software).
Legal DMS implementation
- Eliciting technical and business requirements to a legal document management solution.
- Implementation of a platform-based legal DMS or a custom solution.
- Integration with third-party software (e.g., enterprise systems) or advanced technology (e.g., AI, ML, NLP).
- Quality assurance and post-implementation support.
ScienceSoft is a global IT consulting and software development company headquartered in McKinney, Texas. We provide law firms with consultancy, implementation, customization, support, and evolution of specialized document management solutions to improve the productivity of legal professionals. Being ISO 9001 and ISO 27001-certified, we rely on a mature quality management system and guarantee cooperation with us does not pose any risks to our customers' data security. If you’re interested in legal document management software, you’re welcome to request legal DMS consulting or implementation by ScienceSoft.