What to do With So Many Documents?
Storing Documents Offsite
If you are a law firm that handles many documents, which you need to maintain for several years for us, in Tennessee State Courts, you should consider a secure location where these documents can be stored. The facility will allow you to store inactive paper documents while freeing up space for current documents. When moving documents to such a facility, be sure to stay organized. The documents that you are most likely to refer to should be kept at the front for easy access. Ensure the facility you choose adheres to the laws and regulations of the state and to the norms of your business.
Proper Paper Document Storage
You do not need an advanced diploma in legal project management to understand some of the simple rules governing paper storage. If you are storing paper documents, you will need to make some preparations.
- Firstly, the environment needs to be acid-free. That means you will need to choose protective storage components such as plastic containers and sleeves made without pvc.
- Additionally, any documents destined for storage need to be printed on acid-free paper. The humidity in any storage facility also has to be regulated. The sources of light and heat must also be regulated.
- Additionally, never place boxes containing records on the ground. Instead, use storage shelves to store boxes. The boxes themselves need to be labeled in the right manner to make identification easy.
- The storage also needs to have some contingencies. Despite you best efforts, disasters could occur, and you need to be prepared for that.
Digitized Files Save Space, Time, and Money
The advances in technology and the lowered cost of storage media have made it possible for law firms to keep thousands of documents in the office without using up space. Digital documents can be organized using law firm case management software. It is among the best legal case management software out there. This legal case management software allows for easy file access, comparison, and referencing.
The Paperless Work Environment
When you use digital record, you will have a paperless work environment. This can lead to better organization and better management practices. In fact, some studies have shown that digitizing documents can help an organization save money. It can also help to protect profits. The reason for this is that employees waste less time as they attempt to maintain a physical filing system. The digital files need to be stored in a secure environment that is protected by passwords. The physical devices containing the law firm case management software and digital documents should be placed in a room with temperature below 73 degrees fahrenheit. The relative humidity needs to be kept at below 50%. The devices also need to be kept from damaging factors such as dust, and magnetized objects.
The Legal Hurdles around Digital Records
Two laws at the federal level have settled the legality of digital documents. However, laws still vary at the state level. If a law firm stored digital records, it needs to be sure that the document is admissible in court. Otherwise, there is no point in using law firm case management software. The laws on digital files can be traced back to the advent of microfilm. The first law on this issue says digital records are admissible as the records themselves. A curious twist to this rule is one by the securities exchange commission. It makes the use of digital records for sec documents quite problematic.
Most courts today have a Differentiated Case Tracking Program. By feeding the data of such a program into a digital file management system, you are able to know when you may require certain documents for a certain court hearing. Digitizing files means you do not have to waste time trying to find records. Courts will accept digital files unless they are needed by the SEC. If you are a law firm, invest in a digital file management today and begin to see some real benefits.