How to setup Document Management Software Part 3/3: Other Considerations

In Part 1 of how to Setup Document Management Software, we discussed Required Profile Attributes, Part 2 covered the Non Required ones.  In Part 3, we will cover labeling email, using keys versus descriptions, and give you some sample document types.

Doc Type labeled Email

When saving a Word Document in a Document Management Software, you don’t label its document type as “Word.” It would be a Memo, Correspondence, Pleading, etc. The DMS will denote what type of file it is, so it’s unnecessary to indicate that its a word file.

As you can see from above, in a DMS you can easily pick out the Emails, PDFs, and Excel Files.

When saving an email into a DMS, it will be clearly labeled an email, so why choose the doctype “Email”?

The other thing to keep in consideration is that Document Management Software lets you create Filters that can sort by File Type. Let’s say you decide to have a Correspondence Doc Type and no Email Doc Type. 90% of the files in Correspondence are emails, and you are worried that they will drown out the word and pdf files.

In the example above, I can filter my view by emails, documents, or both emails and documents. So I don’t need to worry about losing the documents in a sea of emails.

Use of Keys

Keys are abbreviations of clients, matters, document types, and authors.  If I were saving a document into the Bluth Company LLC Formation Case, that was labeled pleading and was authored by Craig Bayer,  I would hit save and then type, BL <tab> 1501 <tab> pl <tab> cab <ENTER>.

  • BL is the key for the Bluth Company
  • 1501 is the key for the file LLC Formation
  • pl is the key for document type pleadings
  • cab is the key for the author Craig Bayer

If I don’t know that 1501 is the key for LLC Formation, I can start typing in LLC formation, and the correct selection will appear.

Here are some other considerations:

  • You can change the Description, but you cannot change a key.
  • If most of your clients are people, keys are useful for separating common names like Michael Smith
  • Most DMS Software will not generate keys, so you have to come up with you own numbering system.
  • Most legal billing systems like PCLaw, Soluno, Coyote, and Juris, use keys and descriptions which will transfer over to NetDocuments.

Sample Document Types

I setup Document Management Software for 70% Law Firms, 20% Financial Service Firms, and 10% General Businesses.  I have attached some sample document types that I recommend when we start the implementation process. There is no cap on document types, but you should shoot for 15-25.  If you have 200 document types to choose from, you will create decision paralysis and people will saving things incorrectly.

Examples of Document Types in a Law Firm

  • Agreements
  • Contracts
  • Corporate Document
  • Correspondence
  • Discovery
  • Form
  • Invoices
  • Memos
  • Miscellaneous
  • Motion
  • Notes
  • Pleadings
  • Presentations
  • Tax Documents

Examples of Document Types in a Financial Service Firm

  • Agreement
  • Client Correspondence
  • Client Portal
  • Client Provided Documents
  • Correspondence
  • Custodian Interim Stmts
  • Custodian Signed Forms
  • Custodian Stmts
  • Custodian Trade Confirms
  • Custodian Trade Orders
  • Custodian Unsigned Forms
  • Estate Planning
  • Financial Plans
  • Insurance & Bank Quotes
  • Insurance Planning
  • Internal Audit & FP Billing Data
  • Internal Notes & Client Forms
  • Investment Analysis
  • Lease Agreement
  • Personal & Family
  • Signed Documents & Agreements
  • Statements
  • Works-in-Progress

Examples of Document Types for a General Business

  • Agreement
  • Contracts
  • Correspondence
  • Form
  • Invoices
  • Memos
  • Miscellaneous
  • Notes
  • Presentations


In this 3 part series, we have covered most of the important questions to ask when setting up your Client Cabinet. We concentrated on that because that’s where 80% of your documents and emails will be saved.  Therefore put most of your effort into getting this correct, and that will help ensure a successful document management rollout.

Before you roll out this system to the entire firm, you should have a couple of users test this and make tweaks to it.