Why SharePoint Is the Most Underutilized Legal Tool That Microsoft Has To Offer

If you’ve ever worked for a large law firm, then you are probably familiar with what a document management system is. At their worst, they are a clunky system of software that lets you categorize all of the documents for the firm using preset categories. While this type of system can be helpful if you’re looking up all of the documents for a specific case, problems can arise when people across the firm do not use the same file name system.

Using SharePoint can solve this problem. SharePoint will allow the workers in your firm upload documents into SharePoint, which creates columns and tags for them.

Below is one suggestion on how to set up your firm’s SharePoint folders.

For example, your firm is working on a medical malpractice case. You can download and save any number of documents that could pertain to the case to your desktop using the party’s names. Chances are you’ll have more than one case about the same subject; therefore, you’ll want to have future access to these files. Either you can save your research in the case’s folder, or you could save it in a general research folder.

With either method, there is no real organization, thus making it hard to go back and find the research you’ve already completed. By using SharePoint, it doesn’t matter where you save your documents because you’re given the option to add metadata to your files. Then SharePoint works just like Windows Explorer and allows you to search for all documents created on a certain date or containing specific text in the title.

Intranet Sites

In addition to helping you save and search for your documents, SharePoint can also allow you to create intranet sites for your projects. Using this method, each project can get its own mailbox and a Facebook-like newsfeed. The mailbox makes it easy for the project members to receive communications through the team inbox. This also means that everyone with access to the project will have access to the linked emails. This eliminates having to send “FYI” emails to team members.

The Facebook-like newsfeed is still in its infancy. However, the basic concept allows you to free up space in your inbox that would otherwise be filled with a record of project updates. Instead, you can create a project newsfeed that everyone on the project has access to. This will allow real-time communication to take place in an organic setting, as well as making it easier to be away from the office for a few days without having to sort dozens of emails that will require no response.

Downsides of SharePoint

There are bound to be downsides to any kind of software that may make it difficult for any business trying to utilize it. Some of the downsides to using SharePoint include:

Space Constraints

  • It will only hold files up to 2 GB; thus, it can create problems for cases that have large video files—meaning that you’ll need to set up other storage solutions.

    • This should not scare you away from using SharePoint. First off, they are constantly updating the software to make it more user-friendly. In addition, there are services like Dropbox that can allow you to store larger files.

    • There are also ways to use SharePoint to work with high-volume videos. For more information, please visit the SharePoint section of Microsoft’s website

  • It will not sync files that use special characters. This is simply something that you’ll need to be aware of if your firm uses special characters. Chances are it will not create enough of a problem not to utilize SharePoint.

Syncing

  • Syncing files can be a nuisance because it can take time to move them. In order to sync files to your computer, you have to select each document library you’ll need from your computer. While you could put all of your files in one library, SharePoint will only allow you to save 2,000 files per library.

    • Most attorneys will create one library per case. Be aware that it will take time to sync all of your libraries at one time. Since you will spend some time transferring, you should plan ahead and sync your libraries as you create them.

The knowledgeable SharePoint experts assist all types of firms harness the utility’s powerful document collaboration features by providing tailored solutions to that firm’s individual needs.

We invite you to continue browsing our site for more information about SharePoint software and services. And continue browsing our blog and knowledge center for more general information. Or, contact SharePoint experts at Innovative Architects to discuss your company’s needs today.