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Probable Cause: The Biggest Barriers to Legal Document Software Adoption

Legal Document Software


ALM recently conducted a research study on behalf of Accusoft to gauge how technology professionals in the legal space are using document management software, managing productivity, and planning for future initiatives related to document management. The survey found that while 54% leverage a digital document solution developed by a third party to view and collaborate on documents, 28% largely rely on emailed files and manual, paper-based processes.

This creates a problem. Not only do legal firms lag behind companies in other industries when it comes to digital transformation, they’re suddenly faced with the reality of remote-first work environments that fundamentally change key processes —  especially as they relate to the sharing, editing, and security of legal documents. 

With legal companies now compelled to deliver on digital change initiatives — whether they’re ready to or not — it’s critical to find software that solves key pain points and addresses the probable causes of their top concerns.

Some Assembly Required

Manual processes are frustrating and prohibit firms from ramping up productivity. In the ALM survey, 67 percent of respondents said they still use manual processes to both generate and assemble key documents. While this offers the benefit of immediate control, it introduces the issue of human error. Generating and managing hundreds or thousands of documents for a single case virtually guarantees the existence of errors. 

Best case scenario? Incorrect documents require time and effort to correct. Worst case? These errors negatively impact client outcomes. It’s no surprise that 59 percent of respondents now say their organization is focused on document generation and assembly.  The ALM survey also uncovered some interesting statistics when it comes to legal document editing. A resounding 66 percent of respondents said the ability to edit digital documents in Microsoft Word was “extremely important” in their company’s document management system. 

The message is clear. Law firms and legal departments need document assembly and editing solutions — such as Accusoft’s PrizmDoc Editor — that streamline these critical functions to remain competitive. 

The (Not so) Final Word

The survey also found two top priorities for legal teams include streamlining key collaboration tasks that historically were handled by hand and making document discovery easier. More than one third of respondents pointed to annotation and redaction as critical features, and close to half saw multi-file type conversion and advanced search as keys to improved productivity. At the end of the day, what lawyers want is the ability to find what they’re looking for, when they’re looking for it.

Adding an integrable HTML5 document viewing solution to legal professionals’ tech stacks can help solve these key pain points and address top concerns. With the ability to convert over 100+ file types into SVG for fast, accurate viewing in a browser to it’s comprehensive collection of collaboration APIs including annotation, redaction, and document compare PrizmDoc Viewer is purpose-built to build a more productive operation.

Keeping the Secret Secure

As law firms shift to digital-first document management processes, client expectations are on the rise. While speed and accuracy remain paramount, there’s also an emerging priority, ensuring sensitive document security. From delivering exactly what’s required for eDiscovery demands to destroying key documents when they’re no longer needed, strong data security is now critical to earn, and keep, client trust.

According to Help Net Security, this client concern isn’t misplaced. 96 percent of legal IT leaders say they’re worried about an insider breach, whether malicious or accidental, that could put critical data at risk. In fact, almost half of legal organizations say they’re concerned about their current legal software security. 

It makes no sense to rush solution adoption if it can’t offer the granular access and permission controls needed to track document usage and transmission while also ensuring auditable records are always available to meet evolving compliance demands. When it comes to legal software challenges, the realities of remote work mean security isn’t just one consideration — it’s now front-and-center for any new adoption.

Cause and Effect

Document management software is now a must-have for legal firms as remote work fuels the speed and scope of digital transformation. While advanced functions and features can help streamline complex eDiscovery directives, the ALM survey data makes it clear. Firms want enhanced collaboration, easy document assembly, and security-first solutions for their documents. While addressing legal software challenges starts with identifying probable cause, you can break down the adoption barriers by finding solutions capable of delivering improved usability, reduced human error, and enhanced document defense.