Skip to Main Content UMKC University Libraries

Information Resources for Solo Practitioners & Small Law Firms

Guide prepared in conjunction with law school Solo and Small Firm Practice Course

Document Management

See chapter 17 of Sharon D. Nelson, John W., Simek & Michael C. Maschke, The 2014 Solo and Small Firm Legal Technology Guide (ABA Law Practice Division).  "The main purpose of a document management system is to organize information into a usable and searchable form.  How many times have you looked for a file or document but couldn't remember the name or location?  A document management system allows for fast and easy access to the data, whether in paper or electronic form.  It also provides access control and enforceability of rules."  p. 141

"Case management systems are also used to provide a certain level of document management. . . . A key point to remember about true document management applications is their stringent enforcement of the classification rules.  The user must use the system within the configured rules . . . . In contrast, applications that are not specifically document management software aren't restrictive or mandatory.  The danger is that data may be lost or misfiled when rules are not stringently enforced."  p. 144

Issues with SaaS (cloud) systems include making sure transmittal is encrypted and that you retain a local host copy so your data isn't held hostage.


  • integrates with MS Office, Outlook and case management
  • hosted and SaaS versions
  • mobile edition
  • legal hold feature
  • can create restricted-access security groups
  • audit trail of file changes
  • Mac version
  • link to video


  • matter-centric workspaces
  • email management
  • collaboration
  • mobile access
  • link to video


  • DocuShare Express for small to mid-sized firms
  • integrates with Xerox copier


  • An HP company
  • Expensive but highly regarded


  • MS solution for collboration and document management
  • Guide believe it is too expensive for solo and small firms (see p. 162)

Knowledge Management


  • Good for retaining the documents and forms used over and over again in the practice of law
  • Targeting the indvidual attorney-ransferable between law firms
  • Capacity to share with other attorneys
  • Not a client document management tool


Document Preservation and the Paperless Office

An attorney may destroy most, but not necessarily all, of the paper file, if the file is stored electronically. Items of intrinsic value may not be destroyed. Originals that may have legal significance, as originals, during the representation may not be destroyed. We encourage firms to offer the paper file to the client prior to destruction.

Going paperless - capture - process - edit - share

Digital Signatures and Electronic Signing

File and Folder Management

Plain Folders and Directories

  • inexpensive
  • use as small firm
  • naming convetions are critical
  • basic structure: client name, matter description, document versions, creation date
  • use silmilar structure with email
  • Video: Naming Client Directories

screenshot of computer directory file structure

Click image to enlarge and see additional information.

Alternative scheme using metadata

file directory with title and tags metadata showing

Click image to enlarge

Video: Metadata, Directories and MS Office

components of file name (Date, type, descrip., sent, initials)

Click image to enlarge

How a File Name Changes by Reviewer

First draft created by law clerk 2009 08 26 Will H ds.docx
Draft reviewed by lawyer 2009 08 26 Will H ds-rn.dox
Draft further revised by law clerk 2009 08 26 Will H ds2-rn.dox
Draft further revised and finalized by lawyer 2009 08 26 Will H ds2-rn2.dox

Source: Sheila M. Blackford & Donna S.M. Neff, Paperless in One Hour for Lawyers (ABA Practice Division 2014) Appendix Table A.2

chat loading...