Law firms and corporate legal departments receive and produce thousands of documents every day. Research indicates that operational efficiency remains a top challenge for legal professionals. For this reason, law firms and legal departments are increasingly looking to catch up with other professions by leveraging content intelligence solutions to improve realization rates while focusing on client engagements.
In the Thomson Reuters 2019 Law Firm Business Leaders Report, 91% of law firm leaders listed “greater use of technology” as one of their top two priorities. Leveraging the latest software tools can help better manage documents while making them more secure. Here are five ways you can re-take control of your documents.
1. Make Every Document Searchable to Make All Your Information Actionable
When you implement a streamlined process for converting paper and digital documents into searchable, useable text, you are able to retrieve client, industry, and internal information more efficiently while ensuring that you never miss an opportunity to gain value from your data. PDF/OCR software allows you to convert images of text, such as scans of paper documents, into actual text that is searchable so you can find and retrieve the information you need faster.
You can also use your smartphone to photograph documents when you don’t have access to an office scanner. Scanning products can automatically correct even low-quality images and convert them into text with accuracy. This is ideal for taking snapshots of documents in opposing counsel’s offices or in a deposition and run text recognition on them later.
2. Extract and Use Content Faster
Speed up and simplify the process of pulling content from business documents to share it with others or re-purpose it in other places, like presentation slides and reports. OCR solutions today use machine learning technology that can recognize text with up to 99.8% accuracy, so you can easily copy select elements such as tables, charts, pictures or text from documents. No need to process the whole document, just grab the relevant section from any document in a snap.
This enables staff to quickly extract content from scanned legal documents. Line numbers are automatically identified and treated separately from the text, so it‘s easy to remove them from converted documents and/or avoid copying them into new documents. Likewise, accounting personnel can grab tables and charts from a variety of financial documents and paste them into reports and presentations.
3. Easily Edit and Update Documents
By using an advanced PDF and OCR tool, your team can easily make changes and additions to draft versions of contracts and other legal documents and compare documents with confidence. Additionally, any member of your team can get a quick view of how the document they are collaborating on has changed over time.
4. Collaborate with Clients and Share with Others More Securely
As a lawyer, your documents contain confidential and secure information and you want to be able to redact information before submitting them to third parties. Skip the black marker and use software to permanently and irreversibly redact privileged, confidential, and sensitive text from your digital documents within seconds. You can share documents with clients, co-counsel and even opposing counsel with confidence.
You can further protect documents by applying password protection and encryption to documents to safeguard their contents. Manage access to PDF content with different levels of password protection to control who can open the document, print, edit or copy and paste from it. You can also add an extra layer of security to documents that contain confidential client information such as product specifications, road maps and intellectual property of all types.
5. Enable an End-to-End E-Discovery Process
Avoid mistakes in e-discovery when you make hand-offs and trade-offs by integrating document process automation to improve accuracy. You can do this by leveraging best-in-class image recognition to mitigate the risk of missing relevant documents from the sheer volume and diversity of printouts, paper, receipts, and images. You can secure your documents by removing hidden objects and data in one click—including text layers added by OCR, comments and annotations, attachments, bookmarks, metadata, links, media, actions, scripts, and form data.
Legal professionals are continuously required to do more with less. By using the latest PDF/OCR software and high-volume document conversion software, they can not only improve efficiency but also increase effectiveness.
Andrew Pery is a marketing executive at ABBYY, a Digital Intelligence company, with over 25 years of experience in the high technology sector focusing on content management and business process automation. Andrew holds a Master of Law degree with Distinction from Northwestern University is a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/C) and a Certified Information Professional (CIP/AIIM).