Data management and utilisation are key areas of focus for the legal industry. Not just because of the confidentiality of matters, but also because of the shelf life of data. The very nature of trial/cases requires information to be available for longer periods should there be a retrial or appeal.
So what is the best legal data utilisation model given that optimising costs is also a growing consideration for law firms? Information management and utilisation is not cheap and firms may be spending more on storing their data year on year than on maximising data utilisation.
Law firms typically have many boxes of paper-based data. Information custodians may not be aware of the content in these boxes since they were not categorised according to a data management model. With resource crunch and shorter turnaround times, law firms may not have the time to examine this data in detail. However they have data retention obligations. Over a period of time physical documents can stack up to occupy considerable space in an office, and there is a cost to this space.
So let’s put the spotlight back on solutions for legal data management and utilisation. While digitisation and e-archiving has been available for some time now, there has been a lack of adoption in the industry. This could be because:
- The sheer volume of data we are dealing with daily is too huge to comprehend. With resources focussed on core matters, data management often takes a back seat
- Success of a data utilisation strategy depends entirely on understanding the information and processing it in such a manner that it can be easily retrieved, analysed and acted on. With the volume of data and lack of mature information management models, the task of analysing data is seen as too time-consuming.
Several law firms today choose an alternate option which is to process data the way it is. Scan, digitise and store. In such cases the true value of the data diminishes as it continues to be only as valuable as the hard copy. Data’s value is when it can be analysed to provide key actionable insights to lawyers.
Subjecting all data to digitisation and archiving can only increase the cost of data storage year on year as it is more expensive to process everything compared to just selecting high-value documents. This is especially true when combined with the additional cost of data retrieval as when needed plus the additional processing that will be required.
This is where a legal document management partner with a records management life-cycle model can add considerable value. A strategic legal document management partner can help law firms reduce their year on year records management cost while optimising the value of data. They do this by identifying the contents in boxes, categorising and analysing what needs to be processed. This helps segregate content into what can be archived as is and what needs to be processed before archiving so that the content is retrievable and readily available for use.
To understand data management as a fully managed service, connect with Law Image at firstname.lastname@example.org.