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 common 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 clearly denote what type of file it is, so it’s unnecessary to denote that its a word file.

As you can see from above, 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 doc type “Email”?

I don’t have a cut and dry answer for this. I am inclined not to create a document type for emails, but most of my clients want it. The question to ask yourself is if an email is related to a pleading are you going to label it pleading or email? If you want to label it pleading, don’t have an email doc type. If you want to label it email, have an email doc type.

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The other thing to keep in consideration is that Worldox and NetDocuments let you create Filters that can sort by File Type. Let’s say you make the decision to just 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.

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

Use of Keys or IDs

Keys are less important than they have ever been.  Five years ago they were a much bigger deal.  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 you did not know the key, you would need to open up each profile attribute’s table and scroll to the appropriate selection.  While that’s faster than browsing folders, it’s still time-consuming.  In recent versions of both Worldox and NetDocuments, both DMS’s have added an automatic search in the profile attributes field.

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

Therefore Keys are not as important.  In NetDocuments, they are not required, in Worldox they are, but most users will not remember them.  If you have a Client Number or Matter Number from your billing system, I would probably still use that as the client and matter key just to keep everything the same.  I am finding that more and more firms have no client number but some sort of case or matter number.

Document Type is where I would still put a little thought into this.  Once you come up with a list of documents,  (20-30) come up with a list of universal agreed upon keys, print it out and put it on everyone’s desk.  Something like this:

  • PL – Pleadings
  • COR – Correspondence
  • DIS – Discovery
  • ME -Memos
  • NT – Notes

If users know the doc type keys, they will shave a couple of seconds off each save and search.

Sample Document Types

I setup Document Management Software for 50% Law Firms, 30% Financial Service Firms, and 20% General Businesses.  I have attached some sample document types that I recommend when we start the implementation process. There is no cap on documents types, but you should shoot for 20-30.  If you have 200 doc 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
  • E-Mail
  • 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
  • E-Mail
  • Form
  • Invoices
  • Memos
  • Miscellaneous
  • Notes
  • Presentations

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

Conclusion

In this 3 part series, we have covered most of the necessary 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.